Time to Humble Ourselves

In Joshua chapter 1, after Moses died, the Lord spoke to Joshua and told him that he will lead the people into their promise land. He promised that as he was with Moses that he will also be with Joshua. He only encouraged Joshua to be strong and courageous. As we begin this year, we will be facing new challenges and obstacles but as God has been with us in the past, He will continue to be with us this year. We need to be strong and courageous to meet what’s up ahead.
In Joshua 2, Joshua sent spies to scout the city of Jericho. The spies entered the house of Rahab and she told them “I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us.” Talk about a sure victory for the Israelites. On one hand, God said that He is with them and secondly, their enemies are quaking with fear because of them.
But Joshua did not respond in pride nor arrogance. In fact, in Joshua 3:5, we see Joshua calling the assembly to consecration. He said, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” I believe we need to follow the example of Joshua. As we start this fast, we know that it is not our might, intellect, connections, past victories, nor abilities can help us win. We need to humble ourselves and consecrate – to set apart, to dedicate, to cleanse.

That is why we are fasting. We are humbling ourselves before the Lord. It’s not about having all our prayer requests answered. It’s having more of God in our lives. As we begin the fast, may we experience God more like never before. May we hear God’s voice even clearer and may our hearts be ready to obey.

Source: Church

I Love the Word

2Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
2Tim. 3:17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I appreciate my early mentors in the faith when they emphasized the importance of the the Word of God. We were taught how to do daily bible readings and write our insights in a notebook. Regular meditation of the scriptures and doing the Word are part of our spiritual disciplines.
Another important thing we did was to bring our bibles to church as we study it when listening to the sermons and to take down notes in order to remember what we heard from the pulpit. I believe the retention of the sermon is a lot higher when you open the bible yourself and write on your own notebook. There is a greater impact and a bigger propensity to be a doer of the Word compared to one who merely hears it being preached. When you use more than one learning style i.e. hearing while combining it with reading and writing, the more of the Word will be remembered and applied.

Let’s take the Word of God seriously and realize that it is the Bread of Life that is able to transform our lives. I hope to see more and more people study, read, meditate, apply and share the bible. It is truly life-changing!

Source: Church

When The Bicycle Threatened the Church

I’m re-posting an interesting blog from Bobby Gruenewald (Lifechurch.tv). I’m an avid biker and I bike on Mondays (which is my sabbath or rest day). Is riding a bike considered a violation of the sabbath? Or any innovation that is now used or done on the Lord’s Day that was not used by the early church?

When the Bicycle Threatened the Church In 1896, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church condemned bicycling on Sunday for enticing parishioners away from church and violating the Fourth Commandment:
The Sabbath, the Lord’s Day of rest for the body, and of worship for the soul, is especially threatened by many unscriptural innovations…Sunday bicycle pleasure riding…
Hard to imagine in our modern world isn’t it? I can’t remember the last time I heard someone describe the bicycle as such an amazing innovation that it puts the Sabbath in jeopardy
But to me, this passage isn’t just an interesting bit of history. It speaks volumes about how the Church reacts to innovation at times. Instead of embracing it and looking for ways to leverage it, we feel threatened. Can you think of examples where today’s Church is reacting in a similar way?
For me (Ariel), we should not be threatened by innovation – computers, internet, powerpoint presentation in churches, electric instruments for worship, bibles readers or electronic bibles, church in malls, etc. These inventions are designed to make our lives better and more efficient (maybe?). I understand that abnormal use (or abuse) can have a negative impact. But I know that we can make use of these to advance God’s kingdom in our current hi-tech days.

Source: Church

Update on Relief Operations

Day 1 – Several Victory churches organized relief operations for their respective communities affected by the flood. Centers were used to receive goods/ donations.

Day 2 – Many church members magnanimously gave and volunteered to do relief operations such as receiving, packing and distribution of goods to the respective barangays. Victory Alabang volunteers went to 2 evacuation centers – Tunasan High School and Muntinlupa Sports Center to distribute relief goods.

Day 3 – We sent medical personnel and feeding program volunteers to Alabang Elementary School.

Day 4 – More re-packing of goods in the center.

For those who still want to donate food like canned goods, noodles, water, medicine, clothes, you may still bring it to the Victory Alabang center. Look for Miel or call 771-1212.
For day 5, we will be distributing the relief goods in evacuation centers.
Thank you to all who generously gave and helped in the relief efforts. We truly appreciate you. You are all heroes!
2Cor. 8:2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
For more updates/ pictures,  please check my facebook.  Thanks.

Source: Church

Sunday Recall (August 2, 2009)

We started a new series entitled Genuine. It’s a study on the book of James.
Series handle: Is Your Faith Real?

Why diamond? There are different facets of a diamond.
– A diamond is a precious stone that is the hardest naturally formed substance made of carbon.
5Cs of a diamond– carat, color, cut, clarity, certification
– Our faith will be tested like a diamond.
-We’ll study the different facets of faith.
Genuine faith will inevitably produce goods deeds.
Have you ever bought a fake product like a fake watch, bag or shoes?
Over a decade ago, I bought a fake Rolex watch in Greenhills. Costs about P1,000. Looks like the original but tarnished after a month. Better to buy an original Timex than a fake Rolex.
Why do people buy fake items?
–        Maybe because they were deceived into buying it.
–        Or maybe they don’t want to pay the price for the original (which is normally more expensive).
Some people can immediately tell what’s real and what’s fake.
A bank teller can easily detect fake bills. Because they are so used to what is real so that when the fake comes along, they can distinguish it from the real ones.
How do we know if a person has genuine faith or not?
We are not to judge others. It is the Word of God judging us.
The standard is the Word of God.
James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
James 1:24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

THE WORD SAVES
James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
–        We need the Word to overcome the world’s ways.
–        The Word sanctifies us and sets you apart from the world.
–        When you have no Word, you notice that you are easily tempted.
Rom. 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
–        God’s Word increases our faith.
–        Like vitamin C. The more Word you put in you, the more victory you have over temptation.
Eph. 5:26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Psalms 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
–       It is not how much of the Word you know but how much of the Word you do.
–       If you continue living in sin even if you go to church regularly, you are deceiving yourself.
THE WORD GIVES FREEDOM.
James 1:25a But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,
–        Many people are trapped in a cycle of sin such as drug addiction, gambling (lotto ,casino ,mahjong), pornography (internet or video), immorality (adultery, fornication, homosexuality), drunkenness, greed, lying, stealing (borrowing without returning), laziness and others.
–        And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Psa. 119:45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

THE WORD GIVES BLESSING.
James 1:25b and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
Josh. 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
MAINPOINT: FAITH IS PROVEN BY OUR RESPONSE TO THE WORD.

When we spend time reading the bible, we will have an encounter with the Living Word.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
That’s why we need to spend  time with the Word and apply what we have read. Only then can we see change in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.
REVELATION + APPLICATION = TRANSFORMATION
As I read the Word, I ask myself the following questions (C.A.P.E.S.):
C- Is there a COMMAND to obey?
A- Is there an ATTITUDE to change?
P- Is there a PROMISE to claim?
E- Is there an EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW?
S- Is there a SIN to confess?
This makes me conscious of what I need to do with the Word that I just read.
More on James next week! See you in our weekend services.

Source: Church

Bishops of Victory

Last weekend was really awesome! It was a busy schedule because of the celebration of Victory@25 in Araneta, then on July 25 (Saturday) it was the ordination of the Pastor Manny Carlos and Pastor Juray Mora as bishops and the induction of the pastors into VMA (Victory Ministers Association). A Victory first.
We may not be used to the term bishop (since we only hear it in the Catholic church) but it is really a biblical term. Bishop comes from the Greek word “episkopos” which means overseer.
1Pet. 5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
1Pet. 5:2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
1Pet. 5:3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

In other words, Pastor Manny and Pastor Juray are overseeing Victory  pastors and churches. I am so honored to have known these men for many years and how they conducted themselves in the ministry and how they raised their families. They are worthy of double honor. Congratulations!

Inset: Alabang pastors with Bishop Manny Carlos and Bishop Juray Mora.

Source: Church

Extra Rice Please

“I am an evangelist!” This was the opening statement that Rice Broocks said to an audience of 400 pastors, campus minsters and lay leaders today (July 23)  in Victory Pioneer. I was inspired to see and hear him talk about the importance of the gift and the office of the evangelist.
Rice came to the Philippines 25 years ago to lead a summer outreach with Steve and Deborah Murrell and Al Manamtam. He would do evangelistic meetings every night in the Girl Scout auditorium. That was the time  when Jun Escosar, Ferdie Cabiling, Judy Cabiling (still Judy Pena during those days), Manny Muleta among many others got saved and became the first few members of the brand new church. An evangelistic fervor was imparted to the young believers that inspired them to go and tell other people about Jesus.
In his blog [A minute With Rice], he said that back then he did not expect the church to grow to this size now at 40,000. I believe that seeds were planted in the hearts of the young people that even though they were not called to be in the office of the evangelist, they would be doing the work of an evangelist.
2Tim. 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
We see people from different walks of life ministering to other people. Family members are getting saved. Parents are getting saved. Children are getting saved. Friends and neighbors and officemates are getting saved. Students are getting saved.
Evangelism is indeed a very important ministry because it is the gateway of people to the church. People need to hear the truth of God’s Word and repent of their sins in order to get saved.
Today, Rice is reminding the church to continue doing the work of an evangelist. He even mentioned that there are days that he does not feel like sharing to people but he would do it anyway. He said, “Everyday when you jump into the pool even if you are an Olympic swimmer, the water is still cold.” Wow! That’s huge. I realize that all of us go through the same struggles (fear of rejection, comfort zone, apathy, lack of compassion) but we just need to go out there and do it. Jesus said to go and make disciples. Jesus said it. That settles it!
Thanks Pastor Rice for stirring again the passion for evangelism in our church.

Source: Church

I Love The 80s

I am an 80s baby. So many wonderful things happened in the 80s:
The Bagets movie was shown in 1984. New heartthrobs were seen on the silver screen like: Aga Muhlach, William Martinez, Raymond Lauchengco and others.
The EDSA revolution happened in 1986 which brought about a change in government from Ferdinand Marcos to Cory Aquino. Other political figures that were catapulted to prominence were Fidel Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile and Gringgo Honasan.
In the sporting world, John McEnroe finally beats Bjorn Borg in grand slam tennis.
Espadrilles, Topsiders and Penny Loafers were the popular footwear among young people.
It was when Spandau Ballet is not known as a dance but as a music band. You heard great music from Tears for Fears, China Crisis, Duran Duran, Toto, U2, Wham and many others.
Michael Jackson recorded songs that landed in the top billboard chart like Billie Jean, Rock With You, Beat It, Human Nature, Thriller, Man In The Mirror and Smooth Criminal.
A better bit of history: Victory was planted in 1984 in Recto Ave. This was when Steve and Deborah Murrell, Rice Broocks and Al Manamtam along with a team of Americans, came to start a church reaching out to university students. What started as a small church in the university belt (Manila), now grew to about 50 churches in the Philippines. It’s been 25 years and we are so grateful to God for the goodness that He has shown to our church and our families.
But the best part of it all, I got saved on July 25, 1986 in Makati Church (the second church of Victory). So many others like me surrendered their lives to Christ back in the 80’s.
Tonight, many of those people are going to Victory Pioneer to have a get-together of sorts in an event called DEKADA ‘80. We will have a grand reunion to celebrate and reminisce God’s faithfulness for 25 years and to create an impact for the next 25 years.
Looking forward to seeing you guys!

Source: Church

Sunday Recall (July 19, 2009)

We ended our series on www.victory with the topic on Multi-generational. We talked about our church values for the past three weeks. We had a great time in God’s presence yesterday. There were fewer (than normal) people in the morning but all the afternoon services were packed yesterday. Maybe people wanted to rest in the morning to enjoy the weather. Here’s a copy of my message for those who want a review on the topic Muti-generational.
Psa. 78:3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
Psa. 78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
Psa. 78:5  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
Psa. 78:6  so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Psa. 78:7  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
I remember when I started attending church in 1986, there were only young people since we were primarily reaching out to students. But as the years went by, I saw people of all ages being added to the church.
Our God is a generational God.
He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Exod. 3:15)
Deut. 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
But there was a generation in Israel in the old testament that missed it.
Judg. 2:7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.
Judg. 2:8  Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
Judg. 2:10  After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.
Judg. 2:11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.
•    This is one of the saddest moments in the history of Israel.
Satan is also constantly attacking the next generation. He wants to cut off and isolate the next generation from the previous generation.
•    (OT) Pharoah tried to kill all the baby boys during time of Moses.
•    (NT) King Herod also wanted to kill the babied during the time of Jesus.
We also see an attack on the next generation of today.
1.    Millions of babies killed in abortion.
2.    China’s one child policy.
3.    Africa’s aids and poverty epidemic leaving thousands of children as orphans.
4.    Korea’s waning Christian influence with the youth. Ex. Prayer mountain dwindling
5.    International child trafficking.
6.    In Phils, millions of OFWs abroad leave children behind.
There is a pattern of the enemy attacking the young people.
How do we keep the generations strong in God?
2Tim. 1:5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2Tim. 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
A Multi-Generational Picture
Grandmother Lois – Mother Eunice – Timothy – Reliable Men -Others.
Because God is a generational God, we are called to reach all generations.

TWO GENERATIONS THAT NEED TO WORK TOGETHER
ESTABLISHED GENERATION (NOW-GEN)
•    These is the current generation. Those whom God has touched; who experienced the praiseworthy deeds of God, his power and wonders he has done.
•     If you have been touched by God then you have a message and a responsibility to share that message.
We need to properly pass the baton to the next generation.
What’s happens next after you pass the baton?
People (players) will hold on the baton longer or they become…
•    Spectators – watch the game from the sidelines
•    Commentators – critique others
Generation gap will be evident.
Example: Charles Barkley
•    Coaching – making others better; helping others fulfill their destiny and calling
Example: Phil Jackson was able to help make great players in Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Note: Phil Jackson used to play for the NY Knicks and had the worst record for personal fouls in the NBA. But when he coached he produced 10 championship rings with two teams – Bulls and Lakers.
EMERGING GENERATION (NEXT-GEN)
Psa. 78:6  so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
•    Everybody is trying to reach them – McDonald’s, Jollibee, MTV, Disney, Nintendo, Xbox.
•    Are we really doing our part in reaching and discipling the next generation of world changers?
•    Parents are ultimately responsible for their own children.
MAINPOINT: LET GOD BE HONORED IN EVERY GENERATION IN OUR NATION.
Results when the different generations work together.
Psa. 78:7  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
•    Trust in God – not in human wisdom or ability, nor wealth, nor hollow philosophies
•    Remember His deeds – Faithfulness of God.
•    Keep his commands- Obedience to His Word
That’s my sunday message. Hope to see you all in Araneta this friday July 24 for our 25th annoversary celebration!

Source: Church

When Cool Is No Longer Cool by Craig Groeschel

I am reposting a blog by Craig Groeschel. He is the Senior Pastor of Lifechurch.Tv in the U.S. – a cutting edge church that ministers using internet as a medium. They produce top calibre videos to make the gospel easy to understand and relevant for our times. He emphasizes that while the modern church needs to be relevant in its preaching method, it should not replace substance with style and dependence on the Holy Spirit with gimmickry. A good reminder for all of us who are called to pastor. The blog goes:
The [American] Church is not lacking for “cool” pastors. Like a single guy who is trying just-a-bit-too-hard to impress a girl, some churches are simply trying too hard to be cool.
I’m very encouraged to see a shifting in direction. For years, many of us seemed focused on:
* Designing relevant church experiences.
* Producing entertaining videos.
* Creating inviting environments.
* Crafting sermon series to draw a crowd.
* Writing sermons with shock value and plenty of humor or stories.
While all of the above can be effective tools, many of my friends are intentionally moving in a stronger direction. So many great Christian leaders are seeing far better results with:
* Bathing a sermon in prayer.
* Fasting regularly.
* Practicing personal confession and repentance.
* Preaching from the overflow of time alone in God’s word.
* Caring deeply for others in biblical community.
I’m thrilled so many leaders are placing less emphasis on being cool and more emphasis on being like Christ.
***
We are called to disciple, lead and preach. Not just to entertain people.

Source: Church