Not One Left Upon Another

 

The designated driver suggested we leave for Marilao, Bulacan yesterday for Sunday service at 7:15 am to avoid the anticipated gridlock at the northbound route of the NLEX.

The reason?

The centennial celebration of a religious group at their newly inaugurated 50,000-seater Philippine Arena, part of a massive complex that already garnered Guinness World Record recognition.  (The group teaches the humanity of Christ BUT DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE His divinity.)

In Mark 13:1-2 we read that “As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

The real Church is commissioned to and is totally committed to BUILDING PEOPLE UP (spiritually), not putting up impressive structures. So i’m not really impressed, Guiness record or not, rather I am saddened. Because most people have come to believe that a church’s success can be measured by how much money and property they have.

Christ’s words are a warning to the religious who’d rather go after the trappings of wealth and power. John MacArthur says it a lot better than I can: “Any system of religion that misrepresents God and abuses widows is coming down.”

On the other hand, they encourage the truly faithful who depend on Him and His power, and continue in the Word.

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A Taste of Humble Pie

Manny’s defeat devastated us. After eight world titles, millions of dollars in prize money, years of fame and political influence, Manny Pacquiao kisses the floor following a vicious shot from Juan Manuel Marquez. Yesterday, the best fighter left the ring a winner while the other suffered a humiliating defeat.

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His courage and dedication to the sport has been tested and his world titles prove it. But now is the time for his much publicized faith in God to undergo testing. If it is real, it will pass the test. And the first part of that test is to become NOTHING.

Nobody. In the world’s eyes, a loser or a has-been. From someone of influence to anonimity. Because in God’s scheme of things, a person full of himself and his achievements is useless in Kingdom work.

Many believe that a person’s power & influence would get you into the highest places where the Word can be preached. That people will listen to your message because of who you are. If that’s the case, then they’re saying that God’s Word and God’s Spirit are insufficient to reach out to the lost and God needs the help of millionaires and politicians.

But the Message is sufficient because “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (1 Timothy 3:16)”. 

God’s concern is the condition of the vessel by which His message is sent. God uses empty vessels. And, yes, even cracked pots.

John the Baptist could’ve made himself a brand name but willingly stepped aside in favor of the coming Christ, who in John’s words, “… is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.”  The religious leaders of their day considered Peter & John unschooled and yet these two ministered in power because the religious noted that these men spent time with Christ. The apostle Paul considered all his accomplishments and pedigree pure rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. And there are other relevant models we can learn from.

As for many boxers, answering the bell was easy for Manny. He trained long and hard for that. But the call he must answer now is God’s, and if Manny is the Christian he says he is, he will have to train long and hard in God’s camp, according to God’s program, before God can effectively use him for service.

Yes, service. Because there is a higher calling than being world champion – and that is being God’s Servant.

"for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. (1 Peter 5:5b)" 

There’s A Point In Here Somewhere…

I love pointed shoes. I don’t know why, but pointed shoes appeal to me.

When shopping for shoes I’d get very frustrated if pointed shoes for men were not the fashion trend.

I always appreciate a woman who knows how to walk elegantly in stilettos. When asked to draw anything as part of a psychological exam, i’d draw a woman with long hair, long pants, and with pointed high-heeled boots or shoes.

I never did get the meaning of my drawing. Maybe I was told what it meant for me to have drawn that but I wasn’t listening. Maybe if I listened carefully I would’ve learned that I’m such and such or some other thing. But at my age, I don’t really care to know their interpretation of my drawing a long-haired woman wearing pointed shoes. I just know that I love pointed shoes.

I also know this – that God made each of us uniquely, with different tastes and traits. Therefore, my tastes do not actually define who I am, rather, it is God’s will and design for my life that defines me.

As pointed shoes were designed for a purpose, God designed me for a purpose – far greater than anything that I have to spend the rest of my life living it out, otherwise I miss the whole point of my existence.


I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)

The House of Mourning

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.   (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

God’s Word never prohibits rejoicing nor attending festivals and feasts.  Jesus’ first recorded miracle was in a wedding, a week-long celebration in their culture.  But God’s Word teaches us that we learn life lessons better in funerals.

Funerals remind us that death is the great equalizer.  Regardless of one’s status in life, each is destined to die.  Knowing that truth and taking it to heart (understanding it, responding to it) makes one wise – wise enough to change one’s perspective, focus and direction.  Upon learning of his disease, Steve Jobs chose to focus his remaining days in the pursuit of excellence.  Consequently, millions have benefitted from Jobs’ ingenious devices – the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

I used to hang out with some very colorful characters in Pandacan, Manila.  One of them died last week. I learned that he got sick from drinking too much and so died from its complications.  Ironically, our other friends would go to the wake and have a drinking session – the very root of our friend’s untimely demise.

Some people learn their lessons well.  Others learn the hard way.  Still, others learn too late or not at all.  God uses life’s tragedies to teach us.  It is our heart’s response that determines if we learn anything from Him at all.

– joey reyes

new kid in town

ptr. jesse dedel, senior pastor, makati hope christian church

i didn’t want to miss the opening of this chapter in my friend’s life.

i’ve known jesse from the late nineties, when i came across his bible study among araneta center’s employees.  a few years later, i end up pastoring the afternoon church service he once handled.  soon, the Lord opened different doors for each of us – jesse into further ministry while i step into the business side of photography.

we still manage to get together with close buddies – over coffee, food, and therapy.

all his years serving God, jesse has not become senior pastor of any church – until now.  today, september 6, 2009, the board of elders of makati hope christian church inducted him as their senior pastor.

_IGP2825 new2jesse made it clear – makati hope is to go about God’s business.

he challenged the congregation to recognize who they are (a chosen people, a holy nation) and to look beyond where they are now and push on to make God known.  that’s a lot of work ahead.  but with rolled-up sleeves and steeled determination, jesse and congregation, under God’s strength and grace, will surely move forward.

may the LORD let His face shine upon you, bro.  Carpe diem!