Safety

Tedious it may be to prepare our building for worship these days, we have a pandemic, and safety is of paramount concern. Thankfully, for seven months now, God has used our stringent safety protocols as a means to protect our worshipers. We are covid-free thus far.

Our auditorium is subjected to full-blown fumigation on Saturdays prior to worship and on Sundays after the worship. It is sprayed manually by a mild organic disinfectant after our second Sunday session. Thus, there is sanitation, prior to, after and even in-between Lord’s day services.

Being an enclosed air-conditioned facility, we open all doors, left and right, front and back, to cross-ventilate (stale air out; fresh air in) our auditorium after our first service. All attenders are required to wear face masks and face shields at all times and to physically distance while fellowshipping during breaks.

There is a one-meter distance between seats on all sides, although the place is never full as we presently take in only a fourth of our usual attendance on rotation basis (as we are still under General Community Quarantine). Further, those who attend have to fill out a stringent covid19-disclosure form before they are allowed to come.

We who preach do not wear masks while preaching nor have plexiglass barriers on the pulpit because we believe that preaching is a communicative activity where the facial expression of the preacher is indispensable to his preaching. A congregation wearing masks is bad enough; we cannot see the facial expressions of people as they react to our preaching; more barriers will not help. As much as we can help it, the preaching of God’s word must be free of barriers, even that which is psychological.

To counteract potential infection from the pulpit (assuming the preacher is asymptomatically sick) an empty no-seat zone ten-feet by ten-feet in front of the pulpit acts as an invisible barrier for droplets. Further, after the preaching a disinfectant is sprayed all over the pulpit area to neutralize the build up of aerosol clouds that may form from the preacher’s breath. The pulpit itself is also disinfected after every sermon and each preacher has his own wireless microphone.

Our worship service is hymnal-free and pew-Bible free. The hymns are projected on-screen and people are encouraged to bring their own Bibles. Eating inside the auditorium is prohibited.

Church doors are either entrance-only or exit-only and before you can enter any door, you have to step on a disinfectant foot-bath and have your temperature checked by the ushers. Alcohol and extra masks are available for those who may need it. To speed things up, our disclosure form is available online and notifications for permission or prohibition to attend are done the day prior to worship.

All of our air-conditioning systems have been recently cleaned and maintained and soon air-purifiers will be installed in our building.

It is our prayer that the Lord would be pleased to let things improve soon. But while the struggle with covid19 is not yet over, we want to remove any distracting fear that somehow one might get the virus by attending worship with us. With the strict safety measures we have in place, if everyone cooperates (as they have so far), it is possible that one may get the virus, but definitely, not here at MCBC. It is a safe place to worship.

Fumigating After the Sunday Services
Foggy View from the Pulpit
Spraying the Pulpit and Its Vicinity after Preaching
No-seat Zone in Front of the Pulpit
Physically-Distanced Seating During Breaks
Physically-Distanced Seating During Worship
Couples Are Exempted from Distancing
Physically-Distanced Posing
Physically-Distanced Posing
Group B’s Turn to Attend (10/18/20). A Quick Pose After Worship.
Cross Ventilation
Cross Ventilation
Cross Ventilation
Thermal Scanning
Foot Bath
Alcohol Dispenser

Quick Poses

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Pas Mike gets to visit Bro Johnny (08/28/20)

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Off to the Frontlines for Sis Dani

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Our Frontliner on Duty

 

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First Sunday Service in Dolores, Eastern Samar; fortunately no covid cases in the area.

We prayed for the Sovereign Grace Christian Church of Morong, Rizal (08/27/20)(Taken Before Quarantine)

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We prayed for the Sta Cruz Baptist Church, Sto Tomas Batangas (08/06/20)

Sept 17 wedding Lord willing for Viljohn and Flordeliza

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Alijis, Bacolod City Missions worships with social distancing (08/23/20).

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Prayed for the Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Calauag, Quezon (08/13/20)

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Praying continually for the health of Sis Edna of Iligan Church.

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Pas Mike is invited to preach online at SGC worship service (08/23/20).

Quarantine Scenes Day 128

Group 2 gets a chance to attend live worship (7/19/20).

Good to See Dairo Family after Four Months of Quarantine (7/19/20)

Group 1 got first shot at live attendance (7/12/20).

Group 1 and Physical Distancing (7/12/20).

Ruth gives a stirring testimony of her Christian life at our 33rd anniversary service (6/21/20).

So does Krizzia (6/21/20).

Celebration of 33rd Anniversary – June 21, 2020

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No mask no entry (7/5/20).

Bro Jonard gives a report at our online prayer meeting (7/16/20).

 

Pas Jepson gives a report on the flooding in Digos City (7/2/20).

Pas Thomson of our sister-church in HKG gives a report on the situation in China (6/25/20).

Online fellowship after Pas Steve’s guesting in our prayer meeting (6/11/20).

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Good to know that Tina is attending church in Tarlac (7/19/20).

Social Distancing at Ana’s Birthday (6/28/20)

Cyber Distancing. Greeting Sharon on her birthday (6/28/20).

United Colors of MCBC Eldership (6/14/20)

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Quick Pose Before Returning to Social Distancing (6/20/20)

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Another Quick Pose (6/28/20)

Check Flight after Long Vacation (6/16/20)

Pas Clyde gives a half-year report of the state of the church (7/5/20).

Doing Grandpa Duties

 

Seriously Studying Bible Notes

Earnest Prayer

Who Cares? Enjoying Chicharon During the Pandemic

Bakery? Delivery Room? Chinese Factory? Pas. Mike goes for tooth repair.

Quarantine Scenes Day 84

Gatekeepers of the Church Building

Cheap Alcohol Dispenser Fabricated by Pas Clyde

Covid Terminator at Work

Tagum Mission Preparing for Lifting of Restrictions on Worship

Bacolod Missions Resumes Worship Service June 7, 2020

Pas Mike Preaches at the Funeral of Dad Joven

Moonwalk Homeowners (ROMVI) Administrator Receives Our Donation of Rice

Baranggay Staff Receives Our 2nd Batch of Rice Donations (in White Sacks)

Through Donations We Were Also Able to Help this Church in Morong, Rizal

Our Gensan Missions Prepares for Relief Distribution

Our Tagum Missions Prepares for Relief Distribution

Our Digos City Missions Prepares for Relief Operations

Bro Jake on Sweeper Flight to Cagayan de Oro: Flying OFWs Home

First Taste of Office for Deacon Jerry after 80 days of work-from-home.

Gas Station Fellowship at Shell Service Road Paranaque

Keeping in Touch with the Situation of our Missionaries

Serious Talk at our Elders-Deacons Meeting

Young People Enjoying their Youth Bible Study on Sundays

Same with the Level 2 Sunday School Students

Happy Faces of OFWs at Armstrong St Accommodations

This Time at Cooper House: We gave them a few sacks of rice.

OFWs for a long time now awaiting departure for abroad at McDivitt House

After 2nd Service May 31, 2020

Nice Lunch!

Cellphone, Cellphone

Cellphone, Cellphone

Pas Boy D gives a report during our Prayer Meeting, June 4, 2020

Day 57 of Lockdown

It is close to two months now of lockdown. Just this noon it was announced that a modified form of community quarantine would be in force starting tomorrow until the end of the month. Many regions have lifted quarantine. I trust the day will come (hopefully soon) when the lockdown would be downgraded and restrictions would be eased and things would go back to normal even if this would mean a new normal. Meanwhile…

Mothers Day 2020…Or is it Valentine’s?

Crew Break after Sunday School: Ham Sandwich, Duck Eggs, Baked Bread and Coffee.

Krizzia Treated Us to Lunch on Her Birthday

Happy Birthday to Krizzia and Annie!

Birthday Lunch: Kare-Kare, Baked Mac, Spaghetti, Cake and Two Kinds of Fruit Salad

Guardian of the Pizza on Pas. Alex’s Birthday Lunch

It can get lonely at the church building on Sundays. Thankfully, we have another birthday celebration. This time, Pas. Alex.

Yummy Dessert!

The MCBC elders give a report on the church and the nation at the Trinity Montville USA Prayer Meeting

A new contact in the community, Judith, receives aid from MCBC which includes a Tagalog tract and church brochure.

We also gave a love gift to Janeth, a former member of MCBC and who is a frontliner at a Paranaque Hospital. She has been staying in the hospital since lockdown.

These are some of the families that were helped by donations that we received. They are from a poor community in Morong, Rizal and part of the constituency of Pas. Erwin of our sister church in Morong.

Children’s Sunday School classes have resumed online! Here is level 2.

My grandson attends level 1 of the Children’s Sunday School.

Jed prefers to take a snack than attend Sunday School online.

Bro. Simon teaches Youth Bible Study online.

Three Generations: My son, Buk, visits us for his quarantine birthday celebration.

An MCBC member treats Buk (and Jam) to a grand Mcdonald’s birthday!

Misha, my granddaughter: “Is this for me?”

Meanwhile after a long Mcdonald’s famine, Deacon Jerry is treated to burger and fries by an MCBC member.

Misha listens attentively to Lolo’s preaching online.

Happy dad Jake to baby girl Keira Isobel, born during lockdown!

Deniece greets her baby amidst plastic sheets all around.

Pas. Mike suffers a painful sprain and does sermon prep the old fashioned way. Nice study table.

DREAM

REALITY

Day 34 of Lockdown

It is now one month and four days into quarantine and there is still much uncertainty as to whether the lockdown will be extended or lifted. It is certain though that even if lifted, there will be a “new normal” in church life, at least for a while. Nevertheless, although there have been times of testing positive for laziness tsk tsk, having more time in our hands these days, there have been opportunities to help those who are in need, thanks to the kindheartedness of those whom God has moved to share their resources with others.

From church funds and donations of members, we were able to help a 40-driver tricycle association in Moonwalk (ROMVITODA) giving each driver cash and a church brochure containing the gospel.

We also distributed face masks to the OFWs that we teach in our weekly Bible studies (which have been put on hold at this time). Here are the ladies of Cooper St OFW House.

Mcdivitt OFW House also receive colored cloth masks.

Happy to receive masks, Bacolod OFW house, forget about social distancing.

These packs of rice are destined for needy church members and even attenders.

Rice and cash was distributed to a few underprivileged families who attend one of our Bible studies in Sucat.

From donations of kindhearted brethren from China, we were able to purchase N95 masks for Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and Paranaque Doctors Hospital (PDH). Unfortunately this batch did not pass the bar. We are awaiting the next shipment on 18 Apr.

Dr Chris Endencia of PGH receives the 60 pcs of washable scrub suits we donated to their Anesthesiology Dept.

Immediately, the frontliners use them for their duty.

Our Moonwalk Baranggay Captain receives ten sacks of rice donation from MCBC for their relief distribution efforts.

Bro Arm distributes food packs to attenders of our Alijis Fellowship in Bacolod City.

Meanwhile, services continue to be streamed Sundays via youtube. Here, pastors and sound engineer break for a pose.

Members watch from the comfort of their homes.

Even our deacons watch from home.

This was actually what was taking place at the church.

Alijis Fellowship in Bacolod City joins us in our live stream.

On the home front, this was the food pack we received.

This is what Pas. Alex received.

This was what Pas. Clyde received.

This was what Pas Mike received…..waited till midnight for nothing…although came the next day.

Meanwhile my boy takes his final exams online complete with school uniform.

Then has his haircut

Job wears a DIY mask.

While his dad watches NBA replays on free US TV.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Day 13 of Lockdown

It is day 13 of the lockdown due to the war against covid19. Hopefully statistics on morbidity would taper down soon and the lockdown would be lifted and things return to normal–that is, if they will. Let’s pray it would. May the good things learned, the good habits developed, stay. May the hindrances to church fellowship and worship be removed soon enough. May the vulnerable groups continue to be protected. All in all we know all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.

Sunday, Mar 15, we strictly required all attenders to undergo thermal scanning before entering the auditorium for worship.

Sunday, Mar 15 AM Service, with the community quarantine in place, social distancing was observed for those who attended worship. Many of our people however chose to stay at home and watch online.

Sunday, Mar 15, I met with the team of ladies involved in our OFW evangelism after the AM Service.

Monday, Mar 16, 5pm, walking past the SM Store which closed early that day. That place is usually bustling with people at that hour.

Thursday, March 19, 6am, hordes of people this early at Mercury. Panic buying of medicine.

Thursday, March 19, 7am, at this time of day this road is full of vehicles on standstill due to rush hour. This time, empty and quiet.

Thursday, Mar 19, 7am, usually heavy at this intersection at rush hour. No rush today, only three bikes, most work from home.

Mar 19, Thursday, the Covid19 terminator disinfects our street.

Thurs, Mar 19, 6am, have time these days to watch the baby squirrel scrounge for breakfast.

Sunday, Mar 22, Pas Clyde teaches Sunday School to an empty audience. People stayed home and were watching online.

Sunday, Mar 22, 11:40am, after I preached in the AM Service, a huge crowd of chairs and 4 happy people applying social distancing. Our people watched online.

Thursday, Mar 19, we had a biblically-premised lockdown. Thank God for streaming technology. But not a substitute for live worship attendance.

Sunday, Mar 22, at the deacons’ office, deacon Roland continues to do his task of accounting and writing checks for church ministries.

Mar 27, Friday 8pm, we have had a few elders’ meetings online via Zoom. This one was an elders-deacons meeting to address pressing issues.

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Sunday, Mar 15, fortunately no one was sick that morning.

Panic and Paranoia

[Note: This is a complete transcript of a message preached Sunday morning, March 15, at MCBC painstakingly transcribed by Charlene H for our 120+ strong OFW Chat Group some of whom are already working abroad while the rest remain in three OFW accommodations where we have regular weekly Bible Studies.]

We are beset by both a worldwide and a local challenge, the pandemic of COVID-19. This has resulted to a lockdown of the National Capital Region (NCR) and, possible, community lockdowns. If there are only two cases lang na positive, I think, ila-lockdown mismo yung community. COVID-19 has changed the way people deal with each other. Bawal muna ang PDA ngayon. Social Distancing ang ini-encourage. There is now social distancing and it has changed work habits. Now, there are many who work from home. It has changed health habits. Nagiging maingat na ang mga tao ngayon sa kanilang kalusugan. It has cancelled planned vacations. So, sa bahay na lang muna kayo magbakasyon and it has affected even church activities like us na may suspension ng mga services. May nagtanong nga eh doon sa presscon eh kung tuloy pa rin ba daw kung naka schedule na yung kasal kasi mass gathering yun eh. Eh mahirap namang iatras na ang isang kasal, kaya lang kailangan ng social distancing. Paano daw magki-kiss yung groom at tsaka yung bride, eh social distancing, isang metro ang layo. But anyway, malaki ang mga pagbabago sa ating kalagitnaan. Para tayong nasa gitna ng isang giyera din eh. It’s a world war but there’s one enemy, an invisible enemy, and all countries are united. So, it’s that situation. It’s a crisis situation. There’s a real problem. But, brethren, one change that it has brought to people evidenced by the panic buying spree that we see around us is that people are anxious and paranoid. The evidence is the panic buying which some of you might be guilty of. Ang traffic dito sa Soledad nitong mga nakaraan. Ang haba ng pila sa Mercury, pati gamot. Ang haba ng pila sa Puregold. Sa bilihan ng bigas, ang daming nakaparadang sasakyan dun, kaya ang traffic. Sa mga grocery at supermarket, ubos talaga halos. Dahil Pilipino, may tinitirang isa, pero ubos halos ano. Alam mo naman ang mga Pinoy. But anyway, may nag text sa akin na hindi ko na lang babangitin ang pangalan na Kristiyano na lang. Sabihin ko Kristiyano. Sabi niya sa akin eh, “Pastor, masisira na ulo ko dito sa office kasi may mga PUI dito. Hindi naman kami pwedeng mag work from home. Talagang ang hirap.” Sabi nung isa naman na nag text sa akin, “Pastor, napapraning na ko sa sitwasyon. Ngayon, hindi ko na malaman kung anong gagawin.” In other words, people are marked by panic and anxiety. In fact, how many are infected now? 111 ba ang positive? Tama. If there are 111 people infected by COVID-19 right now, there may be more than one million infected by panic and paranoia. Mas maraming na-infect na ganiyan. Eh alam ba ninyo kung ano ang ugat ng panic at tsaka ng paranoia? Ang ugat niyan, mga kapatid, anxiety. Hindi ako magugulat kung meron sa ating ganiyan din na panic and paranoia. Mga tao lang tayo eh na mahina. Kung seniors ka, iniisip mo, kayo yung weakest category na naapektuhan nito. Kayong mga nagtatrabaho katulad kanina na may mga PUI doon, eh anxious tayong lahat. So, this morning, I just want to give you seven biblical directives to deal with anxious thoughts that create panic and anxiety para manatili pa rin ang patotoo natin bilang mga mananampalataya. So, number 1 po— at hindi pa ako nagpi-pray pala. Eh mag pray muna tayo at hilingin natin ang tulong ng Panginoon.

Let’s pray. Lord, samahan niyo po kami sa pagbulay-bulay namin sa mga practical directives in addressing an anxious heart and an anxious mind. Samahan niyo kami sa oras na ito. Nawa’y maging practical, maging real, mai-apply namin sa gitna ng mga sitwasyon na kinalalagyan namin ngayon. Ito’y aming dalangin sa pangalang ni Hesus, Amen.

No. 1, mga kapatid, in one word, PRAY. Pray. Manalangin. This is the best antidote to combat anxiety and it’s easy because you don’t have to fall in line. You don’t have to line up. You don’t have to wait for your number to be called. You can do it anywhere. You can pray anywhere. Philippians chapter 4 verse 6 to 7. Let’s open there sa Philippians 4:6-7. Basahin ko po. “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Now, brethren, nung sinabi ni Paul, “Be anxious for nothing”, it’s not absolute. It’s not an absolute word. The reason why I say it’s not absolute is because the Greek word is used in other instances to mean a right kind of anxiety which we call concern. Ginamit po yung Greek word sa Philippians chapter 2 verse 20, just two chapters before, na kung saan nakalagay diyan, “I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned” or anxious “for your welfare.” So, si Timothy is being described in a good light. His anxiety is being described in a good light and that kind of anxiety we call a concern, a legitimate concern brought about by love to people; and then, the word is used in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 in verse 28 where we read, “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.” Yung salita pong concern. So, Paul was anxious about the situation of the churches but it was a responsible, a right kind of anxiety. So, pag binalikan natin yung Philippians chapter 4, hindi sinasabi dito be anxious for nothing na magwalang bahala tayo, na hindi na natin intindihin yung dapat nating ipunin pambayad sa kuryente. “Bahala na kung may pera. Eh di bayaran natin, kung walang pera.” “Bahala na yang virus na yan. Hindi na kailangang mag mask o mag alcohol. Bahala na. Kung tatamaan, tamaan. Kung hindi tatamaan, eh di ayos.” Hindi ganun ang ibig sabihin nun. We are to be responsible. We are to be responsible. We are to be concerned. But this kind of anxiety is not concern. It is carnal anxiety or undue worry over things, which in the first place you cannot control. Yan ang ibig sabihin ng anxiety dito. Sinasabi ni Paul have a care and concern as responsible individuals and Christians but don’t be carnally anxious, unduly worrying about things which wala ka namang kontrol sa mga bagay na yun. Huwag kang mag-alala sa ganung paraan because kung mag-alala ka, imperative kasi ito, it makes it a sinful kind of anxiety— sinful anxiety, carnal anxiety, earthly anxiety. It’s very tempting my friends to be anxious during these times eh. Maraming mga what if’s eh. “Paano kung ma lay off ako sa work kasi nagli lay off sa trabaho?” Ngayon, ang daming tinatanggal. Ang daming force leave na walang sweldo. “Papano kung mahawa ako kasi hindi ako maka work from home?” “Papano kung mahawa ako dahil senior na ako? Madaling mahawa sa sakit.” Ang daming mga what if eh. “Paano yun? Hindi ako makakalabas ng Maynila eh may kailangan akong importanteng puntahan.” O kaya, “Ang trabaho ko dun sa labas.” Ang daming what if na pwede tayong mag-alala. We are to be concerned, yes; but we are not to be unduly worried. Be anxious for nothing. Huwag kayong mag-alala ng maling paraan, maling pag-aalala o maling pagkabalisa. Anong dapat nating gawin? Ano ba yung antidote sa anxiety na binanggit ni Paul dito? Sabi niya, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Kaya nga ang sabi ko, ang best antidote sa anxiety, mag pray ka. Yan ang sabi ni Paul, “in everything by prayer and petition.” So, you lay your requests before the Lord and you give thanks to the Lord for all that you have received but let your requests be made known. Now, of course, the Lord knows what you need but still out of dependence on him and as an expression of your faith, let it be known. Sabihin niyo sa kaniya. Oh ngayon, anong mangyayari pag ilatag daw natin sa Diyos yung mga pangangailangan natin sa daan ng panalangin? Ano daw mangyayari? Nakalagay diyan, “And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Now, brethren, walang pangako diyan na kung ano yung pangangailangan mo matutugunan sa paraan na gusto mo. Walang pangako diyan eh. Yung ni lay natin na request sa kaniya, hindi dini-discuss dito. Dito sa verse na ito, it’s not the issue eh. What is being addressed here is not the cause of your anxiety. What’s being addressed here is your anxiety not the cause of the anxiety. Ang sinasabi dito: okay nandiyan yung concern which is making you anxious. Sige, you bring that concern to me. I’ll change your anxiety to peace. Hindi sinabing: I’ll remove the cause of anxiety. Hindi, hindi yan ang sabi eh. Ang sabi dito, you let it be made known and then, the peace of God, which other people do not understand, will guard your hearts and your mind. So, whether the Lord gives you what you asked of him, the thing is that the anxiety is changed to a peaceful disposition. The worrisome posture is changed to peace of mind and heart. The way to peace of mind in anxious times is by letting our requests be made known to God.

Now, by way of practical application, it’s a time of need. Ang question ko sa inyo: How much have you prayed? How much have you prayed? The peace of mind that you will have in troublesome times is directly proportional to how much you pray during those times. Kasi yun daw ang antidote eh, mag pray eh, para magkaroon ng peace. Ngayon, isa pang verse brethren. 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 7. Sabi sa verse 6, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” There are times when the Lord’s hand is heavy and we should humble ourselves. There are times when the providence of God is difficult and we ought to humble ourselves and, in the context of 1 Peter chapter 5, that’s suffering and persecution; but there are other circumstances when it seems that the hand of the Lord is heavy like pestilence, sickness, poverty, lost, failure. What are we to do? We are to cast our anxiety on Him and He won’t complain. He won’t rescind. He will welcome our casting our anxiety on Him because He cares— because He cares. Ano bang nararamdaman niyo pag sinabi ng isang tao sa inyo, “Nagki-care ako sa iyo”? Di ba gumaganda pakiramdam natin? May malasakit pala ito sa akin. May malasakit ang Diyos. He cares. That’s why we are invited noh. Minsan nahihiya tayong i-share yung burden natin sa iba. Di ba yan yung turo ni Pastor Mike? Yung brotherly burden bearing. Minsan nahihiya tayo, “Pahihirapan ko pa yan. Ang dami ngang problema nun. Pahihirapan ko pa. Ishi-share ko pa. Baka mas mabigat pa yung burden niya sa akin.” Okay, maaaring totoo. Maaaring totoo na mas mahirap pa yung sitwasyon niya kaysa sa iyo. Pero pagdating sa Diyos, huwag kayong mag-alaala. Hindi mabibigatan ang Diyos sa burden ninyo. Kaya nga inaanyayahan kayo na i-cast sa Kanya yung burden, yung anxiety ninyo. Ngayon, maraming hindi marunong mag cast. Tingnan niyo po ang paggamit ng word sa Luke 19:35. Ito ang paraan ng pag cast eh. Same word ang ginamit dito, the Lord has need of a colt, a small horse. “They brought it with Jesus”, 35, and the apostles “threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.” Ano ang napi-picture niyo? Okay, ayan yung kabayo. Ayan yung kabayo. Walang saddle. Walang maupuan si Hesus. So, ang ginawa nung mga disipolo, inilagay nila yung mga coat nila para upuan ni Hesus. Ngayon, ang nasa picture ba niyo, paglagay nung mga coat na yun dun sa kabayo: nakahawak sa manggas yung isa, nakahawak sa kuwelyo yung isa, parang ayaw bitawan yung coat nila. Ganun ba napi-picture niyo? O ang larawan na dumarating sa atin na they cast their coats, they threw their coats on the horse, nilagay nila yun, iniwan nila, pinasakay nila si Hesus. Di ba ganun? Eh kung mag cast tayo ng anxiety sa Lord nakahawak pa tayo sa manggas eh. Nakahawak pa sa kuwelyo. “Lord, ibibigay ko sa iyo pero hahawakan ko pa rin baka sakaling malutas ko ng sarili ko to eh. Hindi ko na ibigay lahat.” Kaya tayo nag-aalala. Cast all of your anxieties. I’m not saying that we should not face problems responsibly. We should. We cannot just forget our problems. We have to address them. But yung anxiety natin over them, cast them to the Lord and He’ll take care of us because He cares for us. Mababa kasi ang tingin natin sa malasakit ng Diyos sa atin kaya hindi natin mabuong ibigay sa Kanya eh. Taasan natin ang pag-iisip natin sa pagmamalasakit ng Diyos para ibigay talaga natin yung mga alalahanin natin katulad ng sitwasyon dito sa COVID-19. Alam niyo itong verse na ito galing ito sa Psalms eh, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you for He will not allow the righteous to be shaken.” And then, binasa natin sa Psalm 34 and verse 4 kanina di ba? Ano ang binasa natin sa Psalm 34:4? “I sought the Lord. He answered me.” And what was the answer to prayer? Nawala yung problema? Hindi. Nawala yung takot. “And delivered me from all my fears.” Every one of us is fearful of something or some things but I believe most of us are fearful of the situation that we might get infected. I sought the Lord. He answered me. He delivered me from my fears. So, brethren, the first admonition is for us to pray.

2) FILL YOUR MINDS WITH SCRIPTURE. I’m sure that your minds, at least many of you, are filled with news and information about COVID-19 that if people ask you about COVID-19, you will have a ready answer. Kasi panay ang nood natin ng news, panay ang panood sa online, sa mga press conference. In fact, brethren, that may be the culprit of your worry. You know too much. You know too much eh. Here’s good news. You can also fill your mind with God’s word to lessen or to remove your worries. Why do I say that filling your minds with scripture is an antidote to anxiety? Open to Luke chapter 10. Luke chapter 10 verse 41. Alam niyo naman ang kwento ni Martha tsaka ni Mary eh. Si Martha yung masipag na OC. Si Mary medyo reserved yung personality niya pero sabi sa 41, “The Lord answered and said to Martha. ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things.” Alam niyo, mga kapatid, yung mga iniisip ni Martha dito, hindi naman masama kasi she wants to be the best host or hostess, possible, kasi nandiyan si Hesus, nandiyan yung mga disciples. Gusto niya malinis ang salas, malinis ang dining, naka ready yung mga plato, malinis yung mga bedsheet, mga kama. Hindi naman masama yun dahil may bisita eh. Si Hesus pa eh na kagalang-galang na isang bisita. Kaya nga sabi ni Martha, “Mary, ano ka ba? Iiwananan mo ba ko dito? Anong klase ka namang kapatid? Tulungan mo naman ako.” Hindi nga niya sinabi kay Mary yun eh, kay Hesus niya sinabi eh. Sinabi niya kay Hesus, “Di mo ba ire-rebuke yan. Eh iniwanan na ko dito sa kusina eh. Nandiyan na lang sa katabi mo eh. Nakikinig na lang sa iyo eh. Eh ang dami pa naming gagawin para hindi mahirap pag stay niyo rito.” May mga taong ganun eh. Rebuke ang ibibigay ni Hesus sa inyo pagka ganun. You might be one who is worried about so many things. You’re worried and bothered about so many things. Many things, legitimate, okay. But sabi niya kay Martha, “Only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” What’s the good part? She sat down at the proper time. When Jesus was speaking, instead of working, she sat down at the feet of Jesus to listen to His word. That’s the good part and, “Martha, you cannot take Mary away from what she has chosen to do.” In other words, brethren, may lugar ang balita at may lugar and information tungkol sa COVID-19. Hindi naman pwedeng buong araw kayo na nakikinig sa balita na nasagasaan na yung panahon para sa Salita ng Diyos, na ang dami niyong alam sa COVID-19 pero namumulubi na yung Salita ng Diyos sa ating mga puso. Nakakapagpalakas ang Salita ng Diyos. Yan ang sabi sa Psalm 1 eh, di ba? The one who meditates upon the law day and night will be like a strong prospering tree. That’s what we need during these times of crisis, strong believers. How can you be strengthened? Not by the news. You will be weakened by the news eh. Nakakadismaya eh ang balita. Mapapalakas tayo pag nagbulay-bulay tayo sa Salita ng Diyos. Alam niyo po, tingnan niyo yung Philippians 4:8, na binasa natin yung 6 to 7 kanina eh. Sabi sa verse 8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, if anything worthy of praise”— the word of God fits the description, okay— dwell “let your mind dwell on these things.” It’s not wrong to be informed but let the good things, let the things that strengthened and comfort and encouraged, let those things dwell in our minds. And idle mind is fertile ground for anxiety to grow but a mind that is filled with a garden of scripture— Your word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair”— will more naturally resist the weeds of anxiety.

So, application: Nag skip ka ba ng devotions o time mo ng bible reading dahil sa tingin mo mas importanteng makinig sa news? Buong araw kang nakatunganga sa news. Sasabihin ni Jesus sa iyo, “Juan, Juan, masiyado kang nag-iisip ng maraming bagay. Magbasa ka muna ng Bibliya.” Yun ang sasabihin ni Hesus.

3) MEDITATE ON THE GREATNESS OF GOD. Fear usually stems from viewing something, larger than it is supposed to be seen. Yung maliit na virus na hindi makita, nagiging parang isang malaking bulkan sa ating harapan na kinakatakutan natin. Kaya napa-paranoid tayo, nagpa-panic tayo. Hindi makita yung kaaway. Mas malaki pa sa Mayon Volcano. Hindi makita. But, brethren, when we talk great, who is the greatest? When we talk large, who is the largest? When we talk power, who is the most powerful? When we talk invisible, who is the invisible being that we should fear? Mga kapatid, if we meditate on the greatness of God, His immanent, His largeness, liliit yung mga kinakatakutan natin kasi dakila ang pag-iisip natin sa Diyos. Sample lang, Isaiah chapter 40. Isaiah chapter 40. Sample lang ito ng kadakilaan ng Diyos. Marami po tayong mahuhugot na mga talata ano. But sabi sa Isaiah 40 verse 21, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He”— not COVID-19, “who sits above the circle of the earth and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. It is He who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble. To whom then will you liken Me?” To the covid virus “that I would be its equal? Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.” Mga kapatid, dakila ang Diyos natin. Mas dakila dito sa virus na kinakatakutan. Matakot tayo sa virus. Mas matakot tayo sa Diyos. Alam niyo po, mga kapatid, itong virus na ito, walang sariling isip yan. It’s not moving by chance. It’s ubiquitous, yes. Walang pinipili. May naapektuhan na mga government official. May naapektuhan na artista. May naapektuhang mahirap. May naapektuhang mayaman. Hindi siya namimili pero walang tinutunguhan yan dahil gusto niyang pumunta roon. Lahat yan may pahintulot o paggabay ng makapangyarihang kamay ng Diyos. Hindi po Diyos ang COVID-19 na yung gusto niyang gawin magagawa niya. Hindi po. Lahat ng dinadapuan ng sakit na ito at hindi dinadapuan, kasama yan sa pagtatalaga ng plano ng Diyos. Dapat ganyan ang pag-iisip natin sa Diyos. Hindi Diyos na natatalo ng sakit, natatalo ng virus. God is in control. He is sovereign. I already preached two messages on that. You may want to look back on those two messages but the point is, there is no rogue or rebel virus that exist in this world. Every virus, every storm, every earthquake has a guiding hand and that guiding hand is the powerful hand of God. And so, brethren, kung hindi kayo tamaan, huwag niyong sabihin, “Nag-ingat kasi ako sa kalusugan ko. Biro niyo nag jogging ako ng 40 kilometers 3 times a week tsaka ang dami kong iniinom na vitamins. Nag me-mega dose ako tsaka yung bahay namin punong-puno ng alcohol”huwag naman sana. Hanggang dalawa lang eh. Purihin natin ang Diyos kung wala tayong sakit kasi hindi niya ginayd sa atin eh. At kung tamaan naman kayo ng sakit, huwag niyong sisihin ang mga tao. Kasi kung tinamaan kayo ng sakit, pinahintulutan ng Diyos yun. It’s a COVID-19, brethren. Even Christians die. I think the doctor sa Wuhan na who raised an alarm about this was a professing believer, if I’m not mistaken. So, it can go to believers. But yung second message ko last time, what’s the purpose if it goes to believers? May purpose ang Diyos diyan. Pakinggan niyo na lang. But it doesn’t strike anywhere without God’s permission. So, ano ang implication nito? We meditate not on the virulence of the virus but we mediate on the greatness of God.

Application ko sa inyo: is your response to this crisis showing that God is great or the virus is great? Which of the two yung response mo sa crisis? The virus is great o God is great? Meditate on the greatness of God.

4) CALL TO MIND THAT IN ANY AND EVERY SITUATION, GOD’S EYES ARE FOCUSED ON YOU. If you’re a believer this morning, call to mind that in any and every situation, God’s eyes are focused on you. Binabantayan ka ng Diyos. Sabi sa binasa natin kaninang Psalm 34 verse 15 to 18, “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous. His ears are open to their cry. But the face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry and the LORD hears.” So, ang mata ng Diyos nagbabantay sa Kanyang mga anak. Pero kung hindi ka anak, ikaw ang matakot because the face of the LORD is against evildoers. Psalm 23:4, 6, anong sabi dun? “Even if I walk in the valley of the shadow of death,” namamatay kaliwa’t kanan ang mga tao, “I will fear no evil for You are with me.“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Psalm 139, brethren. Maganda itong Psalm 139. Baka iniisip niyo sa gitna ng pagka busy ng Diyos sa ibang bagay, nakalimutan na kayo. Hindi. Sabi sa verse 2, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there’s a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” My dear brother and sister, God has not forgotten you in the midst of this crisis. His eyes are focused on you. Binabantayan ka ng Diyos. Bakit? Anak ka ng Diyos, di ba? You are God’s children. You are God’s sheep and your Shepherd is good and perfect. You are God’s church purchased with the very blood of His Son. God will never leave us or forsake us. Be comforted by that reality that someone is watching over you. God is watching over you.

5) FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS AND NOT ON THE TROUBLESOME CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE. Sabi po sa Hebrews chapter 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” It’s talking about your life. Your life is being compared to a race. Verse 2, what’s the posture of the Christian life? Ano yung posture? “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” That’s what the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews chapter 11 did. They were under duress. They were under distress and persecution and affliction— Hebrews 11, yung mga men and women of faith. What was their posture? They fixed their eyes on God. We are being called to fix our eyes on Jesus. Don’t fix your eyes on yourself. Don’t even trust in others but look to Jesus in the midst of the many difficulties and challenges that you encounter. Look to Jesus for grace. Look to Jesus for help. Look to Jesus for example. Look to Jesus for comfort. Look to Jesus for guidance. Look to Jesus for protection. Ano ang sinabi ni David noong natatakot siya, yung matapang na sundalo na si David na kinalaban ang mga Philistines at iba pa? May takot din pala sa Psalms 56:3. Ano ang sinabi ni David sa Psalms 56:3? “When I’m afraid”— David, ikaw? Natatakot ka rin? “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Looking to Jesus is trusting in Jesus. That’s what David did. When he was overcome by fear, he did not let fear rule his heart and mind. Sabi niya, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”

Ngayon, ano ang nangyari kay Peter nung pinaglakad siya ni Hesus sa tubig na lake, tapos pinapunta siya ni Hesus dun sa boat? Kung titingnan po ninyo sa Mark chapter 14 and verse 30, notice what happened to Peter. Binigyan siya ng kapangyarihang lumakad sa ibabaw ng tubig pero ano ang nangyari sabi sa verse 30? Anyway, i-describe ko na lang. Inalis ni Peter yung atensiyon niya kay Hesus. Tiningnan niya yung nasa paligid niyang mga naglalakihang alon. The moment na tinanggal ni Peter yung gaze niya kay Hesus at nilipat niya dun sa mga sirkumstansiya sa kanyang paligid, anong nangyari kay Peter? Lumubog siya. The moment we remove our eyes on Jesus and begin trusting in other things and other people and ourselves, we will sink. You will sink in fear and anxiety and despair. That’s why people sink in despair and anxiety because they do not fix their eyes on Jesus. Fix your eyes on Jesus that he would spare you from evil circumstances.

6) THINK ABOUT THE DANGERS OF WORRYING TOO MUCH ABOUT THE WORLD. Matthew chapter 13:22. Ito pong worry ay dinescribe dito na isa sa mga faith killer. Verse 22, “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Now, let me just say, walang tunay na mananampalataya na mamamatayan ng pananampalataya niya. Ipe-preserve ng Diyos lahat ng tunay na mananampalataya pero kung ibabase natin dito sa statement na ito— and this is talking about people with false faith or temporary faith. But the thing is even if you have true faith, genuine faith, sincere faith, eh makikita natin sa talata na ‘to na malaki ang epekto ng worry kasi it’s stifle eh. Kinikitil nito yung false faith ng iba eh, yung worry. Apektado din ang faith ng mga mananampalataya ng worry. It can paralyze you. It can hinder your growth. It can stunt your growth. Without removing faith, it can affect your faith adversely and negatively if you worry too much about the world. So, there’s a danger also. You will not grow by worrying rather you will backslide and deteriorate.

7) FOCUS YOUR THOUGHTS HEAVENWARD, LOOKING FORWARD TO BETTER THINGS. Colossians chapter 3 in verse 2. Sabi diyan “Set your mind on the things above not on the things that are on earth.” Ang orientation ng minds natin, mga kapatid, should not be earthward but heavenward. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 16 to 18, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Meron pong na interview the doctor sa UK regarding the COVID-virus and sinabi niya na ultimately eh ito namang virus na ito’y mawawala din. Hindi lang natin alam kung kailan. Siguro masaya mga tao sa pag anticipate na wala na itong virus na ito katulad nung pagkawala nung SARS at pagkawala nung MERS-CoV, eh mawawala din ito. Pero sabi niya, “Ano pagkatapos? Pagkatapos ba na wala nang COVID-19, wala na bang pandemic na maaaring dumapo ulit dito sa sanlibutan?” Hindi yan imposible kasi may bubonic plague. Ang dami ng mga pandemic na nangyari dito sa mundo eh. Wala namang guarantee na wala ng susunod. Ang point ko lang dito, brethren, sabi sa Job 5:7, “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” There will always be problems dito sa world na ito and if your mind is oriented earthward lang, you will be disappointed. Being believers, let’s cultivate our hope. There are better things to come. We are assured of good things in the future. Let our minds be oriented towards that instead of just being oriented towards life on earth because life on earth will always be troublesome; but there will be a time which God has promised when all of the troubles that we experience will be no more. No more COVID-19, no more suffering, no more tears, no more sickness, no more crisis, no more problems. Righteousness and perfection and glory will reign in the presence of God with fellow believers. Think about that. Don’t just think about the present but cultivate your hope of the future.

So, brethren, in closing, sana po baunin natin itong pitong antidote na ito paglabas natin para iba naman ang testimony natin kumpara sa mga nagpa-panic buying, mga kinakagat na yung kanilang daliri dahil hindi malaman kung anong mangyari. Hawak ng Diyos ang lahat. Sana makita sa atin yung kapayapaan, yung pagtitiwala. Magpatuloy tayong maglingkod kahit na sa gitna nitong krisis na ito. At para sa mga hindi mananampalataya na natatakot sa COVID-19, mas matakot kayo sa Diyos. Mas matakot kayo sa Diyos. Kung ihahambing niyo ang dadalhin sa inyo ng COVID-19, maliit yan kumpara sa dadalhin sa inyo ng Diyos kung patuloy kayong hindi nananampalataya kay Hesus kasi maaaring patayin ka, magkasakit ka o kaya gumaling ka o kaya patayin ka. Hanggang doon lang ang magagawa ng COVID-19. Pero an eternity of suffering?— that’s what God can do if you don’t heed, if you don’t heed His warning, if you don’t accept His invitation. There’s time eh. There’s time. It’s not a day of judgment, brethren. Hindi pa dumarating yung day of judgment. It’s a day of opportunity where you can be saved if you but trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of your sin. Do it now. Do it now. Be prepared for any eventuality.

Let’s pray. Lord, salamat po sa mga exhortation na ito. Sana isulat niyo sa aming puso na sa gitna ng krisis na kinalalagyan namin i-apply po namin, baunin namin paglisan namin. Ingatan niyo po kaming lahat sa pag-alis dito sa pangalan ni Hesus. Amen.