August 20, 2017

Brethren from Calvary Reformed Evangelical Church (CREC) came after our morning worship service to borrow our baptistry. Four young lady believers from their Maricaban, Pasay City outreach were baptized by Bro. Arnel, one of their leaders. After the baptisms, they stayed awhile for coffee and snacks and chatted with the MCBC members who were present. We had a good time of fellowship with them.

Atty Amor leads the baptismal service

Bro Arnel is the baptizer.

The baptismal candidates

Meanwhile, we had ten first-time visitors most of whom stayed for a whole day of worship.

Three First Timers from our Parlor ni Gina Bible Study (Des, Cita, and Luchie)

Walk-in OFWs from Cooper St and One OFW (Heidi) from our Cooper Bible Study

A Familiar Visitor: Welcome to Tetch and Jotham from Dubai, UAE!

With the Lapid Family

 

RB-INC Debate

Here is the video of the Reformed Baptist–Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Debate featuring Dr James White, pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Phoenix, Arizona and director of Alpha and Omega ministries (an apologetics organization) and INC Minister and trained debater Joe Ventilacion. This took place last April 2017 in South Dakota, USA.

Ozamiz Tragedy

After hearing so many things in the news about what happened in Ozamiz City recently, here is one reaction from a Christian perspective, that of Pastor Van Dominic’s, a fellow servant in Christ who pastors a Reformed work in the city. I have been to his church, been invited to speak there and Pas Dominic and I have had many opportunities of fellowship. We pray regularly for God’s work in that place and hope that with the recent developments a more lasting peace conducive to the gospel would be realized. Here it is in full:

“UNLESS WE REPENT, WE TOO WOULD LIKEWISE PERISH”

In the light of the recent events here in Ozamiz City, I would like to share with everyone this very important message from the Word of God.

I will not talk about whether the Parojinogs are guilty or not. Neither would I talk about the CIDG / PNP’s operation, whether or not how they conducted the bloody raid was right or wrong. My opinion about these matters would be irrelevant as I am not in a position to make any judgement. In a free and democratic society every citizen is entitled to their own opinion, but dinha ra ta kutob – “opinion”. At the end of the day, our opinions would not determine the outcome of any case. In God’s providential care for society, He has instituted government (Romans 13) and particularly the judiciary to decide legal matters such as these.

But what I want to share is about what the Lord Jesus Himself has to say particularly when tragic deaths such as this would happen.

In the Gospel of Luke, in chapter 13 and verses 1 to 5 we read,

1″There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (ESV)

Here the Lord Jesus rebukes and sternly warns those who think of themselves to be righteous and less guilty than those who were murdered by governor Pilate, or those who died because of the building that collapsed in Siloam. These people thought they were much better than those who died and that they were confident in themselves that everything would go well for them unlike those who died in both tragic events.

The Lord Jesus reminds them that they were no better than those who died. He tells them that those who died did not suffer a tragic death because they were more guilty than the rest. The Lord told them that they too were as sinful and as guilty as those who died and that they themselves needed to repent of their sins. For unless they do, they too would likewise end their lives in a tragic death.

Therefore, tragic events like what has just happened to our Mayor and the rest of those who died, should also remind us of our own guiltiness (maybe not against the laws of the land, but more seriously, against the holy Laws of God) and of our need for repentance.

We are all sinners because we have all inherited Adam’s original sin. We all have fallen short of the perfect standard of God and have broken His righteous Law. We may not sin in exactly the same way or degree, but all of us are as guilty as the rest. We have not loved, obeyed and glorified the Lord as we should. And the wages of our sins is death. Therefore we will not only each face physical death, but we also deserve to be tragically destroyed forever in the place called Hell.

It is in the light of this, that the Lord Jesus warned those people who thought themselves to be more righteous than those who died and telling them, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

This serious warning that the Lord gave to them would also be appropriate for us today here in Ozamiz and the rest of the Philippines…”UNLESS WE REPENT, WE TOO WOULD LIKEWISE PERISH”

 

Singles and Youth

Pastors send off singles for evangelistic ministry in Bagumbong, Caloocan missions.

This was on July 22, 2017.

Heavy-duty driver.

Arriving in Bagumbong.

27 children attended the children’s ministry.

Time for street snacks.

Youth Fellowship July 21, 2017. The Afterlife: What Happens When We Die?

Pas. Mike led the discussion.

 

13 young people attended.

Cooper Bible Study July 22, 2017. Most are new-comers.

 

 

30th Anniversary Challenge

It was a day of rejoicing and a day of challenge. Pictures of happy faces on Facebook the next day testify to the joyful mood that Sunday as we celebrated 30 years of the Lord’s goodness to us as a church. Yet there was challenge as well–challenge that came from God’s word. If MCBC is to continue thriving for another 30 years or more then the word that we heard ought to be taken to heart.

We wrapped up a mini-series entitled, “The 9 Marks of an MCBC Member,” a series of lectures which took us the whole month of June in our Sunday School and which dwelt on our functions as church members. The challenge for MCBC members is to grow more in faithful attendance, healthy devotions, cheerful giving, a holy life, godliness in family, church involvement, zealous evangelism, prudence in liberty and submission to oversight. May we all pray to this end.

We also had the privilege of listening to Pas. Brian T. Ellis as our guest speaker. Pastor Ellis was involved in many ways in the pre-history of MCBC having taught in a Bible study which marked the crude beginnings of the church. He was also the pastor of the core group which was sent to Moonwalk to begin afternoon services in 1985. Pas Ellis has been laboring in the Philippines for the past 50 years and is the pioneer of the Reformed Baptist movement in our land.

He preached to us from 1 Tim 3:14-15. He had three main points: (1) The church belongs to God, (2) It is the household of God, and, (3) It is the pillar and ground of the truth. Because the church belongs to the living God, we must worship and serve Him and not vain idols. Having been called out from darkness to light and formed into a local assembly by grace alone, the challenge is that the living God must always be the focus of our worship and our service.

Because the church is the household of God, we are to live for God and love the brethren. We belong to one spiritual family and God is our heavenly Father. We must show the world that we belong to His house by living lives worthy of our calling. We must show that we belong to one house by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. The challenge is to remember that we belong to God and thus live holy lives and that we belong to each other and thus love each other fervently.

Because the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, the challenge is that MCBC members must be real and truthful and not be hypocrites. They must seek to know the truth and live the truth by reading their Bibles daily. MCBC preachers must preach only the truth and nothing else. Its members must zealously proclaim the gospel, continue praying for the unsaved, and persevere in inviting people to attend gospel preaching.

The challenge continued in the evening as Pas. Steve admonished us from Phil 2:16-18 to hold fast the word of life. This word of life is nothing but the gospel of salvation. This message has been faithfully preached in MCBC for 30 years. The summons for MCBC is to persevere in this word and not to fall away from the faith in spite of temptations, distractions, worldly and fleshly pleasures and even conflict.

The encouraging result is that there is a shared joy between the leaders and the members when everyone remains faithful to the end. There is a sense of accomplishment on the part of the leaders and the joy that arises from that is imparted to the members of the church. We want MCBC to have happy leaders and happy members.

May these challenges be taken to heart. If so, then we can expect greater growth for the coming years!

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Sister Melba, representing the older batch of members, gives her testimony.

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Brother Simon, representing the newer batch of members, gives his testimony.

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Pas. Ellis preaches from 1 Tim 3:14-15

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We had a good crowd.

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It was Brenda’s birthday too that Sunday.

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Even seniors queue for lunch.

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Two pigs met their sad fate that Sunday.

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Pas. Ellis with Ate Necy talk about Lubang memories with Mely who is from Lubang.

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Old Picture #1: This was taken during a prayer meeting which I led at the Asis residence in Novaliches during the mid 90s.

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Old Picture #2: The men had an impromptu overnight in Nasugbu. L to R: Rene, Pas Alex?, Jun?, Dennis, Lex?, Me, Mario and Boyet.

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Old Picture #3: Dinner by the Lake in San Pablo City before returning to Manila. Except for Gerard and my family, all have left MCBC.

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Old Picture #4: Mariella, Martha, Bridget, Melissa, Ingrid were still toddlers. All adults gone except me, Dennis and Acel.

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Old Picture #5: Directing Lingap medical mission in Northern Mindanao. Cora, Tetch and Lalay have moved to other places.

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We had visitors from Cooper too.

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Martha is standing tall!

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Sister Mel now has a wheelchair.

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Here, unlike in the Facebook photo, Rosanna and Me are happy.

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I’m pretending to be a senior but two would rather look away and deny!

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Ice Cream direct from Canada. Thanks to Jonjay!

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Nonoy and Jo were there too.

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This is the 50s Batch.

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This is the 80s batch; still alive and serving!

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Happy 30th Anniversary

 

Two Conferences

I was treated to two pastors conferences these past two weeks which brought refreshment to my own soul with respect to things most especially related to the ministry. The first one was the conference sponsored by the Higher Rock Christian Church which was held at the UP Theatre in Diliman, Quezon City. The place was so cozy with nice, cool air-conditioning and soft, comfortable seats that if not for the fact that the preacher was engaging it would have been easy to drift into dreamland. I have been there before to watch rock concerts when I was still an unbeliever; thank God that I am now listening to preaching.

The guest speaker was Dr. Steve Lawson of One Passion Ministries (and also of John Macarthur’s Master’s Academy and RC Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries) and the theme was on preaching with precision and power. Although I have listened to many a conference sermon of Mr. Lawson on Ligonier, this is the first time I have listened to him live and also the first time to hear this topic.

Dr. Lawson is an exceptionally gifted preacher. His messages were well-organized and clear. He uses pithy statements that are catchy. His illustrations were lively and at times humorous. His style was one that would prolong the attention span of one who easily loses focus like me.

The conference too was professionally organized, hats off to the organizing team of HRCC.

An added bonus was that a few Reformed Baptist pastors were treated to a luncheon where they could come up close and personal with Dr. Lawson. I appreciate the fact that among 800 or more who attended the conference we were a few of the 50 who were invited to a hefty lunch that Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, the other conference was held at the Quezon City Evangelical Church, an old Chinese congregation established in the 60s. The speaker was Dr. David Van Drunen of Westminster West in Escondido, California whose office, he says, is just a wall apart from the dean of the Reformed Baptist Studies in the same school, Dr. Jim Renihan.

Dr. David Van Drunen is the Robert B. Strimple professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster. He has authored a few books as well.

The topic was on the Solas of the Reformation in recognition of the 500th anniversary of the 16th century Reformation. There were about 200 attenders mostly of the paedobaptist kind. It was open to women.

Although we were not able to attend the second day of the conference, the messages that we heard were enough to prod us to do a series on the Solas of the Reformation probably in October, Lord willing. This will be our own church’s recognition of the 500 years of the Reformation and the rich spiritual heritage that it has endowed on the present-day Christian church, such as ours.

Too Dark to Take Good Photos; All seats taken at UP Theatre.

We got a nice notes manual, free pen and a free CD!

A Chosen Few Were Treated to a Hefty Lunch

Who would not be happy at a buffet in a pastors conference?

 

With Bro Arnel of CREC, Pas. Mon of CRBC and of course Pas Mike of MCBC

It was a good time of fellowship with my fellow REBAP pastors.

Bro Bob of HRCC welcomes those invited to the luncheon.

Dr. Lawson takes some questions at luncheon-interaction.

Van Drunen Conference; this is the huge LED Display at the QC Evangelical Church.

The outlines were projected on the large LED screen in front.

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But this was their screen saver.

REBAP Pastors Chat with Dr. Van Drunen

This time no lunch was served so we hied off to a Chinese Tea House in Banawe for KKB lunch fellowship.

 

Farewell to Becky

MCBC bid farewell to its long-time pianist last Sunday, June 11. Becky would tie the knot Monday June 12 with her fiancé Jeremy who belongs to another church. We would have wanted the couple to stay at MCBC but the groom has responsibilities in his own church. We have to submit to the Lord’s will.

Becky practically grew up in MCBC. She was there right from the start. She became a member at a young age of seventeen and has matured steadily over the years. After studying college in America she returned home and became the regular pianist for the church–first in the afternoons and then in the mornings. After my mom, she is probably the best piano player we ever had. We will sorely miss her playing.

Becky is quiet, reserved and shy–as I know her, a woman of few spoken words. She holds the record for my shortest pastoral oversight meeting ever. While some ladies (and even men) could use some self-control in talking as they answer questions that I ask them, Becky is mainly content with yes, noes and I don’t knows. She scrimps on elaboration. Anyway, I’m not complaining. Doing an oversight meeting at the unholy hour of 1:00 pm after teaching twice on a Sunday morning and having a hearty lunch at noon is not the best time to have long conversations!

But while she may not be loquacious in talk she is prolific in reading and writing. She pours out her heart in kilometric blog posts mainly about school, friends and book reviews. She is a good blogger and being an English teacher I cannot question her grammar. I forget about what it was but there was a time when I did question her about something she wrote and I got clobbered in an interesting debate on words.

I remember a time when we were doing evangelistic work when she corrected me for something which she felt I said wrongly. This is the reason why when I’m at the pulpit I would sometimes turn to her and ask her if my grammar was right. As far as I can remember, she has always nodded and said yes. Well and good! Now, my resource person is leaving. Sad.

Jeremy meanwhile is the librarian of the school where Becky teaches. Talk about compatibility, the bookworm gets hooked to the librarian. Who else?

These are a few of my memories about Becky. As the Lord has used her in MCBC, may He do too in the place where He is bringing her. Our loss is another church’s gain. May the Lord bless her new life together with Jeremy. And may she continue to be useful in the work of the Lord in the new home where God has placed her.

Bye Becky!

During Our Pre-Marital Counseling Session

Here are pictures of the fellowship the Sunday (6/11) before the wedding. Becky’s loved ones and friends came over to worship with us and to spend time with her on her last day as a single person.