God’s Doing Something Big in Victory Iloilo and Victory Roxas City

I am blessed to have visited our church in Roxas City and Iloilo. Our Victory Roxas church is being pastored by Pastor Richard Escosar. I did a finance seminar and train the church to use God’s money for God’s purposes and that God wants us to be rich and not just get rich.

victory roxas city

I was so excited to see our center in Roxas City. In less than four years, we have seen tremendous growth in our church plant in Roxas. Through the leadership of Pastor Richard and his dedicated full time volunteers – we have seen the church grow exponentially. I did a short talk on team work in their staff meeting over some of the best Talaba I’ve ever tasted.

victory roxas

 

Pastor Richard Escosar and Ms. Joy in the middle

I also had a chance to talk to the youth leaders of our Lifebox Iloilo and challenged them to go back to prayer and intensity when it comes to their relationship with the Lord. As we become more passionate in our private times with the Lord, it will bring our ministries to a whole new level of power and fruitfulness. I am excited to see God move in the campuses of Iloilo.

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Our church in Iloilo has been growing by leaps and bounds and the week after I preached they moved to their expanded facility besides SM Iloilo. The church building can now hold close to 450 people per service and with the newly renovated kids church, our church is also expecting families to start going to church.

victory iloiloWhy the growth? As I visited the church – you could sense the same spirit in every Victory church you go. There was an excitement to worship God, to honor God and to make disciples. It wasn’t church as usual – it was the church expectant to see a move from God. And without exaggeration, I could sense the people just getting out of their comfort zone and wanting to be used of God. Continue to pray that the gospel will spread in the city of Roxas and Iloilo.

 

Joseph Prince and His Teachings on Radical Grace

Today, I asked permission from my good friend and one of the best apologetics guy Pastor Jun Divierte of the Bereans Apologetics Group  to have his research on Joseph Prince’s Radical Grace be posted in this site.

Before I post his research article, let me just say that I have seen so many good churches divide because of the issue of radical grace. What was supposed to be a God given gift – when misused and abused leads to a lot of division within the body of Christ.

Secondly, in the past two years, I have seen more stories of drunkeness, teenage pregnancy, pre-marital sex and sin abound in the church in the name of God’s grace. It is amazing how people can twist what God gave so that we can say no to ungodliness. Instead of tapping into the grace of God to change us and transform us, some has used this radical grace teaching as a license to sin.

So let me post now the article of Pastor Jun Divierte which was originally found here

Joseph PrinceQuestion: What can you say about Joseph Prince’s “radical grace” teachings? Is it safe to listen to his message? Can you endorse his ministry?

Answer: The first time I saw this preacher was when me and my wife were out of the country several years ago in a hotel room. The manner of his clothing caught my attention because it was non-traditional, as if he is preparing for a catwalk. He was mentioning something about grace during that time, which I did not really paid attention. Later did I found out that his teaching about grace is starting to divide the body of Christ. I had conversations with a number of believers who had their personal experiences with Prince’s teaching. There was this young believer who transferred to Victory because I later found out that his local pastor was espousing Prince’s “radical grace” teaching even to the point of tolerating sins. According to him, their local church drummer got drunk the night before a Sunday church service. Their local pastor was not even bothered by the action, but commented, “It’s okay, God has already forgiven him, past, present, and future.” In fairness to Prince, he is against sin. However, his teaching will surely lead to tolerance since he does not teach the proper biblical definition of confession. Allow me to refute some of the major teachings of Joseph Prince below, then let’s check how faithful he is with the teachings of the Scripture.

1. Joseph Prince claims to have received a “corner of the truth” while flying above the Swiss Alps. Is this possible?

In the foreword of his book titled “Destined to Reign,” he narrated how he heard the voice of God telling him, “Son, you are not preaching grace.” He found himself conversing with God saying, “What do you mean, Lord? That’s a low blow. That’s a real low blow!” He also added, “I’m a preacher of grace. I have been a grace preacher for years, and like most preachers, I preach that we are saved by grace!” Surprsingly, God retorted, “No. Everytimeyou preach grace, you preach it with a mixture of law. You attempt to balance grace with the law like many other preachers, and the moment you balance grace, you neutralize it. You cannot put new wine into old wineskins. You cannot put grace and law together.” The divine voice continued, “Son, a lot of preachers are not preaching grace the way Apostle Paul preached grace.” Which is more authoritative, his subjective “revelation” or the Word of God?

I believed this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. He thinks he is on the cutting edge when he receive such revelation. Although, I am not placing Prince’s group under the category of a cult, his “revelation” is somewhat similar to how a number of cult founders receive their so-called divine message. According to the book Angels of Deceit, cult founders will claim they have a “special message” from God while making a sweeping judgment of several preachers. Is Prince saying that A.W. Tozer, Arthur Pink, Charles Swindoll, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, among others are wrong in teaching about grace? The burden of proof now lies on Prince to produce the names of the so-called preachers who balances grace with law. The moment this “divine voice” started judging several preachers, it just wage an all out attack against many evangelical preachers as if to show that Prince will be alone in preaching the biblical grace. The fact is Joseph Prince was the one who misunderstood what grace is all about. A more balanced view on the topic of grace can be read in Rev. Charles Swindoll’s excellent book titled “Grace Awakening” and Dr. John MacArthur’s book titled “The Truth About Grace.”

2. Joseph Prince claims believers will never be punished because they have already received Jesus. Is this true?

When Joseph Prince uses the word “punish” he is not referring to spiritual punishment. If he did then I would surely agree with him that believers will not suffer eternal punishment or eternal torment. However, his understanding of punishment refers to the manner of disciplining that God does to His children during their spiritual walk on earth. He states in Chapter Four of the same book Destined To Reign, “But for you and me, believers in the new covenant, we are not part of the Old Testament and we will never be punished because we have already received Jesus. As believers, God is no longer angry with us because all His anger for our sins fell upon Jesus at the cross.” To a believer who is not familiar with the Scripture Prince’s teachings may seem to have a point. But a closer look at his interpretation will reveal that he is dividing the God of the Bible into an angry Old Testament God and a gracious New Testament God. When a believer inquired from Prince about God’s fiery judgment sent on a number of captain and their fifty men, he said in Chapter Five, “There’s one crucial fact that you need to recognize about the incidents of God’s fiery judgment — they both took place in the Old Testament and before Jesus’ crucifixion.” This is also his perception when David was struck with disease because of his sins before God. He said, “Don’t forget that David, like Elijah, lived before the cross of Jesus.” Notice how Prince so easily tucked everything under the Old Testament to show the difference between the character of the Old Testament God and the New Testament God.

Now, this can be easily refuted by quoting several passages showing how gracious God is in the Old Testament. One can read how Joseph receives grace or favor from the Lord while in prison. (See Gen. 39:21) Moses also received grace or favor from the Lord to go with him as a distinction between the Israelites and the pagans. (See Exo. 33:17) While Gideon was talking to the Lord, he asks for grace or favor in His very eyes. (See Judg. 6:17). On the other hand, we can also read how the Lord Jesus Christ made a whip out of cords and overturned the tables of the money changers and the merchants. (See Matt. 21:12; Mk. 11:15; Jn. 2:14, 15) Surely, he can’t be smiling while doing this, but had to show a strong emotion of indignation. The teaching of Prince that put’s a distinction between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament was already taught by Marcion during the second century declared by the early church fathers as heresy. Although Prince’s teaching is not an exact prototype of Marcionism it is still a form of Marcionism because of his emphasis on the distinction.

Prince understanding about God’s discipline is coming from a wrong perspective. He sees sickness or disease, and accidents, (even death) could not happen in the lives of a continually sinning hard-headed Christian. He tries to escape the real meaning of the Greek word paideuo? which, according to him is just a “child training” that has no connection with punishment. A careful study of Hebrews 12:6 will reveal that the author did not only use the Greek word “paideuo?” which could be translated as “training, educate, chasten, or discipline with punishment” but even “mastigoo?” which means “to flog” or “scourge.” A more literal rendering of the passage goes this way,

“For whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and whips [scourges] every son whom He receives.” Heb. 12:6, Literal Version

The apostle Paul also explained that some believers in Corinth, died because they have not taken the time to examine themselves before partaking of the Lord’s communion. Another instance can also be found in Jame’s writings when he advises the believers to confess their sins to one another so they can experience healing. (See 1 Cor. 11:28-30; Jam. 5:16) There are times when physical sickness is a direct result of harbored sins in our lives like bitterness and anger. According to Daily Mail writer Ian Fletcher, a faculty namely Dr. Carsten Wrosch of Concordia University studied,

“Anger and recrimination are its typical attendants. Unlike regret, which is about self-blame and a case of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda,’ acrimony points the finger elsewhere – laying the blame for failure on external causes. ‘When harboured for a long time,’ says Professor Wrosch, ‘bitterness may forecast patterns of biological dysregulation (a physiological impairment that can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function) and physical disease.’” Ian Fletcher, Harbouring Feelings of Bitterness ‘Increases the Likelihood of Physical Disease’”

When David sinned against God he harbored everything in his heart that resulted to his physical ailments. But when he confesses his sins, he experience freedom and healing. Truly a believer must be sensitive to God’s Holy Spirit so sin does not harbor in his heart. Once the Holy Spirit reminds you about the liberating truth of God’s Word you must immediately be honest with God through an honest confession.

2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD “- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah Psa. 32:2-5, NIV 1984

3. Joseph Prince teaches that 1 John 1:9 is meant for Gnostic unbelievers not for Christian believers. Is this accurate?

This teaching of Joseph Prince is one of the most controversial one because no Christian scholar and theologian who have faithfully studied the Scripture for many years will agree with his opinion over this particular passage. This is how he said it in Chapter Nine of his book Destined To Reign stating, “People have taken this verse [1 Jn 1:9] and built a whole doctrine around it when actually, chapter 1 of 1 John was written to the Gnostics who were unbelievers.” He believes that a Christian believer need not confess his sins to God since he has already been forgiven past, present, and future. According to him, a believer should not live from “confession to confession, but from faith to faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work.” Prince could not see the importance of a believer confessing his sins before God. He also had a wrong connection between confession and God’s forgiveness of a believer from past, present, and future. In his mind, a believer thinks divine punishment awaits him once he does not confess his sins to Him. If this is the case, then the believer should not confess in the sense of asking His forgiveness, but rather “being open with God.” It is like “being honest about your failure and your humanity.” But is this what confession really means in the Scripture’s context?

I fully agree that a believer has been forgiven by God through Jesus Christ blood past, present and future. However, this truth does not mean we are no longer to confess our sins before Him. In fact, once we confess our sins to God, we are made fully aware of 1 John 1:9′s liberating power because His forgiveness is always non-stop and overflowing. The Greek word katharizo for “will forgive” is in the dynamic sense which is “continuous cleansing.” The word “confession” came from a compound Greek word, that is,homologeo which literally means “same word.” When a believer sins, he is never convicted by the Holy Spirit but rather reminded of the Word of God and guided into all truth. He was only convicted once by the Holy Spirit when he was still an unbeliever. When he became a child of God the role of the Holy Spirit immediately change. (See Jn. 16:8; 14:26; 16:13) The one who convicts to condemn, accuse, and make us feel guilty is the enemy of our souls. (See Zech. 3:1; Rom. 8:1; Rev. 12:10; Heb. 10:22) In order for us to outwit Satan and his demons, we have to approach God’s throne of grace boldly telling Him exactly (“same word”) how we sinned without rationalizing nor defending ourselves. (See 2 Cor. 2:10,11; Heb. 4:16) This practice of confessing our sins does not only make a believer humble but even releases him from callous hearts, condemnation, accusation, feeling of guilt, and even possible body ailments leading to physical death. This kind of physical death happened to some Corinthian believers when they did not examine themselves during the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. (See Psa. 73:7; 1 Cor. 11:28-30)

Millions of people today pay hundreds of thousands of dollars just to visit a psychologist to listen to their internal problems. Amazingly, the Lord is always prepared to listen to your problems and mistakes if you will openly acknowledge your sins before Him. (See Isa. 1:18) The author of Hebrews says a believer should not give the devil a foothold (a place, a spot, or an occupancy). Once he does, then the Lord will surely step-in to discipline those He loves. (See Eph. 4:26-27; Heb. 12:6) Every believer must ask God to test and examine him daily, so he can confess his sins. (See Psa. 139:23, 24) Unfortunately, Joseph Prince built a doctrine around his very own interpretation of 1 John 1:9 as if he has discovered a “corner of the truth.”

Conclusion

40cHaving studied carefully some of the theological problems of Joseph Prince’s so-called “radical grace” teachings it is my firm conviction (or belief) that I could not endorse his ministry as a safe haven for every Christian believer. Some sincere believers see the teachings of Joseph Prince as applicable only in his own cultural context since Singaporeans are loaded with legalism and work. I beg to disagree. His error lies more on a theological malpractice. A believer who continuously listens to his teachings will eventually pass on his false interpretation to many young believers. Again, I am not here to judge his heart and motive, but rather his theological doctrines. Is it possible to judge righteously? Yes! Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (Jn. 7:24) We need to study the Word of God dividing (interpreting) it correctly so we can pass on and deposit the truth into the hearts of every person through discipleship. Let’s avoid raising up more Joseph Prince’s who had unfortunate experiences in the past because of leaders who does not know how to handle the Scripture correctly. This is no longer about Joseph Prince but about God’s Word that must be handled accurately. In fact, there is nothing “radical” about God’s grace because God’s grace in the first place has been already amazing and wonderful because of Jesus Christ who is full of grace and truth. (See Jn. 1:14)

Do your best to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker who isn’t ashamed to teach the word of truth correctly. 2 Tim. 2:15, God’s Word Translation

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. - John Newton (1725-1807)

Additional Reading

1. The Grace Awakening: Believing in grace is one thing. Living it is another.

2. The Truth About Grace

3. None of These Diseases

 

Pick a Fight in the Spirit: THE UMAK STORY

Last night we were praying as a church for our young people. During the time of worship, I was reminded of the recent death of Guillo Servando, an 18 year old CSB student who died because of fraternity hazing.

11b465ec6e2e00fbe0397fc8f78230d0The Lord then prompted me to start praying for our students and the campuses. For the longest time, the devil has been beating up the next generation black and blue. He has been setting up his gates in the campuses where future leaders are.

It is high time the church take back what is ours. The church should start putting the campuses back in their prayer priority list. It is time forceful men to lay hold of the kingdom of God in the campuses. We cannot just claim the next generation without a fight, we all know that the devil and his minions will put up a fight. Our fight is not physical but spiritual. God has given us the tools to destroy demonic strongholds. All we need to do is get down on our knees and pray. Fight like Christian warriors and pray through till we see breakthrough in the campuses. Instead of the enemy beating up the next generation, the church should be the one beating up the devil.

I could still remember more than 15 years ago, a youth pastor name Bong Calingo and his group of prayer teams would visit University of Makati and pray through till something happens. They would regularly do prayer walks and declare Jesus to be the Lord of the students of University of Makati (UMAK). Year after year, we tried starting a campus work in UMAK but there seems to be something that was hindering the growth in the campus.

Humanly speaking, we tried everything. We brought in celebrities, great preachers, small groups inside but in a few months time – it would just die. After Pastor Bong, Pastor Miko and I started going back to UMAK to see the possibilities of God doing something big inside the campus.

We, just like Pastor Bong, prayed and prayed. We casted out every demon in the dictionary but again all our efforts would have little fruits. We were fighting in the spirit but nothing seems to happen in the physical.

In 2007, a dean from UMAK, was connected to our Lifebox team, through the efforts of a businessman -Jerom Gutierrez, who is now our pastor at Victory Pampanga. We presented the plan of Lifebox and our vision for the University. He liked it and asked that we go to the school to help. It was also in that year that I was called to plant a church in Greenhills. Good thing that we work as a team in campus ministry. Pastor Robert Gonzales and Keith Deloria came over to help carry the load in UMAK.

They continued praying and working inside the campus. In 2007, the miracle happened. A revival broke out in UMAK. Pastor Robert and Keith started reaping the harvest that once was so elusive and hard. They started gathering hundreds of young people in the auditorium of UMAK. In less than a year, they have filled up the auditorium and people were getting saved every week, hundreds were baptized and discipled. I think God waited for me to leave for revival to start in UMAK (hehe). Today more than a thousand student at UMAK worship every Saturday at Victory Fort. Our current crop of campus missionaries graduated from UMAK.

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students lining up for the Saturday youth service at the Fort

Looking at what God has done – we could attribute it to the men and women in the past who sowed in prayer and declared that UMAK is for the Lord and that the King of Kings has entered the campus.

PUSH – pray until something happens. Push mo yan! Lord visit the campuses again and light up a fire in the hearts of the students to honor God and Make Disciples.

Reflections on the Power of the Presence of God

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 The Message (MSG)

14-16 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. 16-17 This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.

I got this word really early in the morning when in a rare occasion I can’t sleep and I believe God wants me to just pray. I was led to this verse and as I was reading it, I became so excited with what God has in store for me, my family and the church.

1. God leads us to victory.

In Christ, I am being led to victory. The battle has been won. We will go through wars but the end of the story is that the good guys win. God wins, Satan loses. The church is victorious. It is a powerful truth that we must embrace and declare. God has called us to live a life of victory. So when I come to God in prayer, I come boldly with a winning attitude because He has won it all for us.

2. I am a carrier of God’s presence and the gospel.

Through us, He brings the knowledge of Christ. We are given the task to hold and live out the gospel. It should exude in us. The love, mercy, grace and power of God must be evident in our lives. For that to happen, I have to be close to the source of love, mercy, grace and power. If I want people to experience God’s presence, I must be in His presence.

Where we go, the people can smell the fragrance of God’s presence. There is healing where I go, there is a proclamation of freedom where I go. We teach the presence of God, we share the presence of God, we impart the presence of God to the people we meet everyday.

We are to be a pleasing aroma to those whom God is saving and even to those who are perishing. The world needs to smell the gospel in us. Can they see, touch and experience God’s love and power in us?

3. We can’t cheapen the gospel

I love that Paul tells us that the gospel cannot be cheapen. You can’t sell it on the streets for a price. The integrity of Christ lies in how we preach, proclaim, declare and live out His word. For some of our friends, we are the only Jesus they will see. They won’t read the Bible, go to church or worship till they see a living evidence of how God transforms people.

So how do we go about praying?

1. Pray for the presence of God and the anointing of the Spirit to come to you.  But don’t stop there. If you are a parent, ask the Lord to fill your kids with the Spirit of God. Create an atmosphere of faith, love where the Holy Spirit can freely move in your household – neighborhood, church and city.

2. Find your secret place. I call it my place of strength. It is a time and place where I can be alone with God or with my spouse and kids where we just dwell in the presence of God, worship, pray, speak in tongues and get refresh in the Spirit. Because after we get the presence, we share the presence of God to others that we meet.

Give it will come back to you. Be filled with the Spirit. Enjoy His presence but don’t stop there.

3. Ask God to use you to make disciples.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses. Acts 1:8 was clear about that. Don’t just seek an experience – bring the presence of God in the streets, out of the walls of the church. Make the gospel real to the people you meet. We are the light. It is not meant to be hidden, enjoyed only by God’s people but by everyone we meet.

 

Discipleship Happens Everywhere

joe d mango

 

Joe and Bing with our Missions Director Michael Paderes

 

Almost two years ago, I was privileged to meet a great couple in church. Joe and Bing and their whole family got saved 2012 at Victory Greenhills. In less than a year, they brought more than 20 people to the Lord. It is amazing to see that the people they have discipled in Manila, are now bearing fruit.

Last year, Joe, Bing and the whole family moved to Canberra Australia. We knew God had big plans for the family. As they were fruitful making disciples in Manila, they would bring the same culture of discipleship in Australia.

Early this year I receive a call from Joe and Bing and they reported that there are more than 50 people who are being discipled in their home. Aside from the almost 100 people that gathered last month during a night of worship that they hosted at home.

It is amazing to see people from different nationalities and of different faith and beliefs come together to learn about God. That is discipleship at work.

Please continue to pray for Joe, Bing and the whole family as they continue to honor God and make disciples.

 

Inquire

2 Samuel 5

22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

Another thing that we can learn from David’s life is that he inquires of the Lord before making a move. This is a foundation in Christian leadership. Do not make a major decision without inquiring of the Lord.

To inquire of the Lord is to get His thoughts on the matter. It is not relying on my human abilities and strategies but trusting even in God’s unconventional ways to make it happen.

Pastors, as we make decision this week and this year – let us not forget to inquire of the Lord. Let’s put our dependence on him and ask for his wisdom.

 

 

The Quartet of the Vulnerables

The next two weeks, the whole Victory Metro Manila churches will be talking about compassion to the poor. Our church has made deliberate efforts to help our brothers and sisters who are living in poverty. For the past years, we have seen growth in the number of scholars being empowered to live their dreams, leaders from church who formed foundations and organizations to help the poor and the whole Victory movement responding collectively every time there is a national calamity from typhoons, floods and the like.

Why do we help the poor and have compassion ministries?

When God was introduced in the Bible – here was the introduction:

 Psalm 68:4-5 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Deuteronomy 10:17-18 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

God, the king of Kings identifies with the poor and the powerless. The question we need to answer is this: Does the church reflect the nature of God to administer justice and extend mercy and help to the poor. It is a challenge that we as a local church need to act upon. We cannot remain distanced to the plight of our city. The church is called the light. We have the gospel but the only way for the poor to receive the gospel is for us to live out the gospel to them.

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Right Start foundation, started by people from Victory Greenhills to help the poor kids in San Juan city.

1958257_10152054528951997_453226566_nVictory’s Real Life Foundation has been helping empower dreams of hundreds of scholars every year. Another amazing foundation that I support personally.

 

Witch Hunt

2 Samuel 4

9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”

If there is one thing that I admire about David’s life more than his courage and giant fighting skills was how he honored people even when they were not seeing eye to eye. In fact, some might say that David went as so far as to to put too much honor on men like King Saul, Jonathan and on this story Ish-bosheth. The men David honored when actually men who in our eyes are not as honorable and are hard to honor.

It actually hit me that David build a culture of honor even among the people who did not agree with him and who are out to kill him. Sad to say, in our Christian circles especially among theologians – there is deep seated pride and a culture of correcting people publicly instead of privately. I have seen people maligned, gossip in the guise of theological discussion with the end result putting people and even pastors in a bad light. The sad thing is the pastor being discussed is not given an opportunity to respond back. Nakakalungkot dahil ang mahilig manira sa Kristiyano ay ang kapwa Kristiyano.

I have no problem with correction as long as the first step is to correct privately. But to start spreading it publicly and to the world through social media, it is below the belt and dishonoring to the Lord. We as Christians should come together and discuss with a sound mind and not with a judgmental heart. I was guilty of this before and I have repented of my ways and I do hope we would see a resurgence of the spirit of honor among ourselves.

To my fellow Christian bloggers and leaders, let us pray that we will be like David – not easy in pinpointing the errors of somebody publicly but try to reach out to them and point their errors privately. The Scripture commands us to settle the matter privately so that the world may see that we Christians can actually get along.

 

 

 

The Weird and the Dead

I remind you that there are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them, they wouldn’t find it out for many months. – AW Tozer

Reading through chapter 5 of Pastor Steve’s book 100 Years From Now is a good reminder for very pastor and church leader that apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, we have no power. We can speak but it won’t have power. We can have a worship leader but no worship. We can have entertaining preachers without life change – all this could happen because we don’t rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to the subject of the Holy Spirit, most churches go to an extreme. Some go all weird, while others are dead because there is no mention of the Spirit of God. Being truly Spirit filled and Spirit empowered will keep us out of both ditches.

“The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions. Also, if the Holy Ghost guides us at al, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.” – George Mueller

The result of Spirit filled and empowered churches is that the church becomes a witness for Christ. In other words, the church becomes more missional and not mystical. There is a bold declaration of the gospel, more people are getting saved and not just other Christians from other churches hopping and shopping from one church to the other finding the latest fads on the Holy Spirit’s move so that they could get filled again and again. You see to be empowered by the Spirit of God is not about us. Yes there is an effect on us but it is not about us.

Acts 1:8 sums it up: And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses……

Below is a picture of our recent event FIRED UP, a spiritual boot camp for kids to learn about the Holy Spirit and to move in spiritual gifts so that they can go out and change the world.

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Parents laying hands on their kids as they are being commissioned to make disciples.

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My daughter Alyanna was really excited to learn and hear from God the past 3 days of FIRED UP. Thammie praying for Alyanna.

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The Born Supremacy

Taken from 100 Years From Now: Sustaining a Movement for Generations

In heaven, Jesus, the Lamb of God, is not a side issue; He is front and center.

Pastor Steve shared how we can lose Jesus in the midst of religion based on Luke 2:41-44

1. They lost Jesus while doing their religious duties.

2. They lost Jesus but didn’t realize it. (Scary thought)

3. They assumed Jesus was with them, but He was not. ( a more scary thought and thing to happen for a Christian leader and church)

There are a lot of churches where the center is not built on the Lord. Here are some examples:

1. The preacher-centered church. Seen a lot of this churches where the hero is the senior pastor and not Jesus. Ministry names are centered around them rather than on Christ.

2. The experience- centered church – A lot of experience centered church is based on what I can get from God and from this religious experience. It is always about the great worship, the signs and wonders, the gold dust. Nothing wrong with all that I mentioned until that becomes the center of why people go there.

3. The worship-centered church. The worship of worship is troubling today. We have worship leader celebrities. The Presence becomes more important than the Person who is present.

4. The doctrine-centered church. Correct doctrines are great and necessary but not at the cost of taking Christ out of the center. You know what I mean, when church becomes Bible study all the way and we forgot about reaching the lost and making Christ front and center because we are busy studying.

5. The cause-centered church. It is a church that has a great compassion ministry but no matter how important helping the poor is, it should never be the center.

6. The meeting-centered church. It is a Sunday church. It is open on  Sundays and that’s it.

7. The fellowship-centered church. My Pinoy readers would relate to this. They follow the one another verses and take it to heart that there is endless fellowship among each other.

Jesus is not to be top priority on our long list of priorities, the first of many. Raher, He is to have supremacy, meaning He is the foundation and cornerstone, the starting line and the finish line.