Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Walking on waters

Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

This is part of the devotional message given during the my bible school sportsfest. Peter, unlike his fellow disciples who were contented with the safety and comfort in the boat, dared for a new experience with Jesus. He climbed out of the boat he was in and experienced an extraordinary miracle of walking on waters.

I am not there yet. I am not Peter. I don't know, but I may be just like the disciples, unwilling to leave their comfort . It is not that I am not willing to get intimate with my Lord, but i still don't have that kind of faith that Peter had. The thought of resigning from my job to be a full-time pastor excites me, just like "walking on waters" did to Peter. What an experienced that would be to fully put my whole life to the mercy and grace of my Master!

And Peter, "walked on the water and came toward Jesus." The ultimate experience!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Violence in Mindanao: How should a Christian response?

I have since avoided tuning in to news radio because I don't want to hear "negative" things. As much as possible I don't watch primetime news programs because out of the many news items seen on TV, most of the time there is no positive news. All we get are news about the latest corruption in the government, the most brutal crimes, accidents and every imaginable bad news.

However, I find it irresistible to tune in to some news program today because of what is happening in our place. Muslim extremist are burning houses and killing people in others parts of the island. As much as I want to ignore it, I couldn't. I must admit I am feeling a little fear that such violence might reach our place, though we have always thought that it's next to impossible because of the geographical location of our city. Recent reports have it that there are sightings of strangers in our city. I think that's a cause for alarm.

How then should we handle this situation as Christians? Fear? Ignore? I don't know. What I know is I have to give to the Lord all my fears. And He is in control.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jesus feeds the multitude

In our time today, we see a lot of people who are hurting and hungry. I see them everyday around me and they don’t seem to realize their true condition. I think they feel alright. They don’t feel the pain anymore. Sometimes it’s easy for us to just ignore them and go on with our life. We already have enough trouble in our own lives to be bothered by other people’s problems.

But Jesus when He saw the crowd, He had compassion on them. The disciples wanted to disperse them but Jesus insisted that they give them something to eat. Jesus still continues to give orders to us to feed the hungry, comfort the hurting, clothe the naked, and give water to the thirsty as He would when He was still here.

But we are just like the disciples. “Lord, it would take eight months of a man’s wages to buy bread for them!’’ If I were there, that would have been my response to the Lord’s orders. And trust me that would still be my response today.

In the Philippines, people are literally hungry. Prices of basic commodities are beyond reach of an ordinary employee. Even our church members are struggling to make both ends meet. As a pastor I would love to give something to them for a little relief but I don’t have anything. Honestly, preaching and Bible study don’t matter to them anymore when their stomachs are empty.

Then there was a little boy who brought five loaves of bread and two fish. The Lord blessed them and the people were satisfied.

I wish I could tell you about something like that in our church.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

That big cinema house

About that "almost impossible" vision again, I passed by this old cinema house right at the middle of the city. It has not been used for five years I think. It's just one of several movie houses that had closed shop in the last several years. However, a few of them have been converted to worship center by some churches. Of course, the rent is not really cheap. However, those churches have many members to help cover the rent.

In relation to the vision of our church, I was wondering if we could use that old movie house in the future. Will we ever come to that point that we can have an auditorium that big?

I don't know. But I will continue dreaming. They say I can't make it happen; God-given dream are impossible to achieve through human means. If my dreams are that impossible, maybe it's God's dream.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Vision for our Church

Ours is just a small church in a baranggay (district) of 30 thousand residents. It's already 12 years old when we came early this year and it had suffered a lot because the original members and previous pastors left the church. And when we came, the attendance was around 20 and nobody was playing the instruments. The congregation would sing the praises without even a guitar accompaniment. I thought that was a dying church fighting for dear life.

When God called my family to pastor the church, it was with reluctance that we accepted it (I said “family” because my father had been a pastor for 12 years until he left active ministry 10 years ago and my sisters are in the seminary). But when we did accept it, we never bargained for anything and we saw it as redemption for my father and the family. It was a “second chance” to serve God in manner that He had originally called us. We just put ourselves in God’s disposal and committed to obey Him no matter what. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Humanly speaking, ministry is the last thing we would give our lives to. But we just love our Saviour Jesus so much.

Now here we are 5 months after. Balulang Christian Alliance Fellowship has now 35 adult in worship attendance and around 25 children. God has brought in 3 new families and we have started discipling them, especially the Men. We are so blessed that our men is almost as many as the women, unlike other churches that the men are widely outnumbered by the women three to one. We believe that once the father is a disciple, greater is the chance that the whole family will follow.

The five months have never been easy. The problems in the past are still haunting us, and there are still unresolved issues, though most of the current members are not part of them. We are praying that God will sustain us through this ordeal and He will give us wisdom.

Another problem is the financial aspect of the church. However, we believe in our Almighty God as the supplier of all things.

Personally, I want to see our church having 1000 members in 5 years. That may look unbelievable, but with God nothing is impossible.

I am going to put in my thoughts about that vision in my next post.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My first post

This is my first post. I still don't know what to put here but I'll try my very best to put something here that may benefit other people. Perhaps at times I will be writing some things just to express myself. Sometimes it might be words from my heart. Whatever they may be, I hope you will enjoy reading them.

Till my next post.