Friday, July 25, 2008

The Blessing of Today

Erma Bombeck shared in Redbook (October,1992) a great insight of appreciating what we have today even at the worst of times, “An estimated 1.5 million people are living today after bouts with breast cancer. Every time I forget to feel grateful to be among them, I hear the voice of an eight-year-old named Christina, who had cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she thought long and hard and finally said, "I don't know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!" The kid is right.”

Another story of how to appreciate what we have each day is the story of R.C. Chapman, a devout Christian, was asked how he was feeling. "I'm burdened this morning!" was his reply. But his happy countenance contradicted his words. So the questioner exclaimed in surprise, "Are you really burdened, Mr. Chapman?" "Yes, but it's a wonderful burden--it's an overabundance of blessings for which I cannot find enough time or words to express my gratitude!" Seeing the puzzled look on the face of his friend, Chapman added with a smile, "I am referring to Psalm 68:19, which fully describes my condition. In that verse the Father in heaven reminds us that He 'daily loads us with benefits.'"

Lamentations 3:22-23 declares, “Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV) Wow! What a profound declaration of God’s truth that each of us needs to be aware of. Knowing that we have been given a fresh start each day is an important fact to be appreciated greatly. Therefore, we must not allow the past things to infiltrate it or the future worries to invade it.

I find that when we allow so many things to fill up our day, I discovered that no one is able to complete any of it anyway. Instead, disappointment and despair sets in at the end of the day. We are designed to handle certain levels of burden and anything beyond are detrimental to our health and living. Many have bombarded their day with things of yesterday and things of tomorrow that the business of today is lost. It is sad to see a person who can’t value what the present offers.

Just look below how we spent the 24 hour period we have been given daily:

8 hours - spent in sleep

8 hours - spent working

8 hours - miscellaneous activities.

Knowing this would give us a clearer view of how does our day goes. It is God that provided us this limit as stated in Genesis 1:14, “And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.” (NIV) What a glorious truth to know that God has done this for us. Yet it was given for a purpose. I believe that it should be spent being thankful for a new day. Though we have unfinished tasks the day before, bringing them the day after robs us of the blessings released for the day. Let me share some specific actions for you to do:

  1. Always begin your day with prayer of thanksgiving for a new day that God provides.
  2. Speak and declare that something good is going to happen.
  3. Believe that God will provide a way to escape from all the challenges that may come your way.
  4. Be cool and always smile for it is a new day to enjoy.
  5. Always end your day with a prayer and be ready for another day.

Try this and you’ll see that though the circumstances may not change but your attitude did and you have become a better person for doing so. Someone might say, but how about those in prison or facing imminent death, would this apply? I’ll share the answers next time…..

Let’s talk again!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Anniversary- JIL Vancouver 2

Yesterday was a special day for JIL Vancouver Church 2 as they have celebrated their 1st Anniversary. This was a church born out of JIL Vancouver Church and formed another congregation with its own leadership and ministries. Though they share the facility with JIL Vancouver 1, they function as another church with their own identity in fulfilling the JIL MVV.

I have preached a message "Thanksgiving with a Grateful Heart" and spoke of three major principles to learn as listed below:

  1. When we give thanks for the past, God is recognized.
  2. When we give thanks for the present, God is revealed.
  3. When we give thanks for the future, God is revered.

I know in my heart that God has always something special for those that honored Him. I believe that JIL Vancouver 2 is one of them.

A special video presentation was shown to remember when they started including their Outdoor Thanksgiving celebration in the Prayer House and Retreat Center @ Mission, BC the week before. Genis Misola shared the Church Status update including their goals for the year. Pastor Monette Navo gave a stirring and encouraging greeting to all attendees as well. Every aspect of the gathering from the Praise and Worship Team to all participants including the leaders and workers was filled with exuberant joy and excitement as they celebrate their one year of being JIL Vancouver 2 congregation.

Congratulations to all the CMT and workers of JIL Vancouver 2. A job well done indeed for your 1st year!!! Keep it up and expect great and mighty things to come as you do it for His glory alone!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Wedding to Remember

Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to conduct the wedding of Marivic and Emil, members of the JIL Vancouver 2 Music Ministry. It was in a garden setting of a hotel in Vancouver under a gazebo. The whole atmosphere was charged with joy and excitement for the couple's special day. The full support of the brethren from JIL Vancouver 2 was overwhelming as part of the wedding either being members of the entourage, wedding preparations or as guests. The food was great and the reception program was fun-filled as well. It was day to celebrate a grand occasion.

Personally, I love weddings for it is one of those times that one could see a manifestation of God's miracle of union between two lives. It was an occasion to thank God for a miracle like this.

Congratulations to the newly-weds, Mr and Mrs. Emil Cruz. Our prayers are always with you for a long lasting marriage filled with God's blessings!!!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

House Dedication and Family Gathering

It was a fun-filled night last night when I and my family (Monette, Jathniel and Alyssa) was asked by my youngest sister to pray for her condominium unit in Vancouver. The whole Navo siblings were present as Evelyn Navo -Villanueva came with her family from Calgary to be in this special occasion as well including Joan and her husband John, and Arlene. The affair was complete with all nephews (Brad and Nico) and nieces (Jalen, Elise, Samantha and Stephanie) except for my two brother-in-laws (Jay and Stefano) that were not there due to other appointments. Also, my parents (Jun and Amelia) and my parents-in-law (Tony and Flor) were there also in full support. After arrival, I shared the word and prayed for the whole family and specifically Eliza, the owner of the condo unit that I called a "mini-house" due to its small, compact size. Yet, it has a great view from the 7th floor we were in. Even the kids were into praying for her as seen in the picture (Stephanie carried by her Mom, Arlene behind Auntie Eliza praying also for her).

Completing the dedication with a special prayer for the house to be a house of blessing. Altogether, food was shared and everybody just enjoyed it with a great fellowship among the family. It was very nice and refreshing to be with the family that I love and cares for greatly. Thanks Butch for having us and a big congratulations for having a great, good-looking mini-house!!!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mission Trip - JIL Regina, Saskatchewan

Arriving last Friday, Pastor Monette and I had the pleasure of having a special dinner fellowship with JIL Regina leadership (CMT) sharing stories and laughter. The fellowship was great until it ended with a special picture taken before leaving home and it will not be complete without it.

The next day, a joint gathering of JIL Manitoba and Saskatchewan churches namely, JIL Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg 1 & 2 met for a day of JIL 12 Summit hosted at JIL Regina. Pastor Monette and I shared topics focusing on the evangelism aspect of the JIL 12 to reinforce the need for bringing people to the Lord. Three messages from 10am-5pm encouraging and strengthening the JIL people to fulfill the JIL Vision of evangelism. There were 12 vehicles that came from JIL Winnipeg driving for 6 hours one way. JIL Saskatoon brethren drove for 2-3 hours one way.

It was such a wonderful time to see the brethren taking the time and the trip needed to attend and participate for spiritual purposes and fellowship. God was present and manifested His favor after every session. The response of God's people to the challenges given was inspiring and exhilarating. Being surrounded with God's people that are hungry and thirsty for God's word and leading makes this ministry trip worth coming to. Nothing could match what God does in this kind of gathering. Altogether, more than 100 excited JIL people stayed throughout the day filling themselves up with God's word to bring home with them.

Today, a joint service was done as JIL Winnipeg and Saskatoon stayed overnight. I spoke on "Stepping Out to the Next Level." It was to show that God wants us to step out to the next level. Personally, I felt so much excited to speak to them what the Lord has given. I saw how the Lord honored the gathering with His blessing when ministering was done to those who responded to the call of stepping out.

I was very much encouraged to see how God was bringing growth in these churches. I sensed that it was a time of reaping after years of sowing. Breakthrough has come and growth is inevitable. I am very excited to see its manifestation in the coming days. Being with Pastor Mary Juarana, the Area Supervising Pastor for both province and Ptr Romy Cusay and his family, the JIL Pastor from Saskatoon together with the leaders, workers and JIL people is a reunion of sort to experience God's presence. Thanks for the fellowship and the many blessings you have poured out during our short stay! Wow! What a truly wonderful time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Blessing of Yesterday

Romans 15:4, states,” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. “ (NIV)

It is unfortunate that many are paralyzed by the things of the past. But if the past involves success, then it is a whole different story. But most of the time, negative experiences overshadow successes. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, time keeps on moving forward each day. It does not stop when we stop nor rewinds to make it better. Therefore, one must decide to become a prisoner of the past or use it as a springboard towards betterment of each arriving day. Let us avoid being this example, “One man said to his friend: "Say, you look depressed. What are you thinking about?" "My future," was the quick answer. "What makes it look so hopeless?""My past."

Going back to the admonition of the Scripture we are talking about, we must consciously learn to follow its prescription for enjoying the past and its lesson or totally ignore the encouragement or choose to dwell in the past and stay miserable, depressed and hopeless. However, I would strongly suggest giving the Scripture a chance to prove that what it says is right. But how does one find hope in the past? By reading it carefully, you will observe that it states “everything that was written…” It is clear that both positive and negative experiences are vital towards the future. Everything “was written to teach us…” The question is this: Did we learn anything from our past? What kind of baggage are you carrying over each day?

I believe that when we allow the Scriptures to guide us in our daily path, we will receive the necessary dosage of encouragement even in the midst of worst case scenarios with increased endurance to move on. Isn’t this what we exactly need? Looking from this perspective, there are blessings to receive from the past that are useful for today and tomorrow. Without it, we will never improve today! Being totally unaware, we have been using the past as a measurement of our success and failure today as well. Yet there are people who chose to freeze everything about in their life due to fear of committing the same mistake. This is such a sad tale!

What I propose is this: begin to turn around your current situation and start to declare your freedom from the bondage of the past and instead look and receive the blessings from it. Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, an American pastor and a prolific writer of Christian literature states, “Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" You do not move ahead by constantly looking in a rear view mirror. The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past but not live in the past.”

Margaret Storm Jameson, the English author, once expressed the view that we all spend too much time living in the past, feeling regret for lost joy or shame for things badly done. Even when our minds turn to the future, she said, we spend an inordinate amount of time longing for it or dreading it. "The only way to live," she said, "is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle . . . Work at your work. Play at your play. Shed your tears. Enjoy your laughter. Now is the time of your life."

That is why; the most important attitude to have in spite of everything that is happening to us is to have hope. What is hope? Let’s read what is written in the plaque on the wall of Golfer Arnold Palmer's office.

If you think you are beaten, you are.

If you think you dare not, you don't.

If you'd like to win but think you can't,

It's almost certain you won't.

Life's battles don't always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But sooner or later, the man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can.

Simply put, hope never pronounces “I can’t” but always declares “I can.” What do you say now?

Let’s talk again!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ministry Updates-JIL BC Events

Hello again!

Just to share some important ministry news this weekend. Yesterday, JIL North Vancouver had their outdoor celebration at the JIL Canada Prayer House in Mission, BC. It was a fun-filled day with games and sports activities. Led by Pastor Myra Paguntalan, the leaders, workers and congregation went with excitement to have a special celebration. My family and I went there to become part of their special event. Food was overflowing and excellently prepared with barbecue specialties done with joy. The ribs were especially tasty. The volleyball was cut short due to rain pouring around 3pm but over-all, from the time they came before the rain, many things have been accomplished. I believe they had fun nonetheless! Congratulations to JIL North Vancouver for your 4th Anniversary. Be ready for more great things!

Today, JIL Surrey-Fleetwood had their 1st Anniversary Thanksgiving Service and from the beginning to the end, God was present with His favor and anointing flowing to all who came. I have shared a simple message yet God was faithful in meeting the needs of His people who came to be ministered at the altar call. Their chosen theme, "Conquering cities through the proclamation of the Gospel" is significant to their intention of conquest for God's glory. Pastor Louie Figueroa gave a preview of what transpired in the previous months through a video presentation and shared the church status report that showed significant growth from its beginning. It was encouraging to see God at work with faithful people dedicated towards God's mandate. Of course, no event will be complete without provision of food after every event. Everyone was filled up with smile on their faces with contentment. Again, a big congratulations to all of you!!! Keep it up for there's more to come....

After which, the JIL Multi-Cultural (MC) Church conducted its first Sunday Service using the facility of JIL Burnaby Church with yours truly as the preacher. Pastor Ben Pelayo will be handling this church that aims to fulfill the JIL Vision, "A glorious church evangelizing and discipling Filipinos and all peoples of the world through teaching and preaching the full-gospel of the Lord Jesus." Its intention is to minister to non-Filipinos and Filipinos with Canadian culture that will provide a multi-cultural setting including an all-English vernacular as a medium of communication and conversation. Having a church that will provide a comfortable atmosphere for all attendees is our main priority. Altogether, it was an opening worth doing because it was a fulfillment of JIL Vision...

Thanks for reading...until next time!

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 1 Events

Canada day last July 1 (Tuesday) was busy for me and my family due to two major activities that day- JIL Surrey-Fleetwood Outdoor celebration in JIL Canada Prayer House and Retreat Center in Mission, BC and "Voices Together", a gathering of Greater Vancouver Christians in GM Place, Vancouver.

The outdoor activity of JIL Surrey-Fleetwood was part of their 1st anniversary celebration. Pastor Louie and Millet Figueroa together with the leaders and congregation went to have a wonderful time having fellowship through games for adults and kids, raffle draws, kids running around with water guns and water balloons. But most importantly eating fellowship with lots and lots of barbecue for lunch even until almost dinner. The day was filled with joy for all who came.

Congratulations JIL Surrey-Fleetwood for your 1st Anniversary. A thanksgiving service this Sunday will be held with yours truly as their preacher.

After which, we needed to go to GM place for the activity of the body of Christ. A time of worship and praise towards Jesus aptly called, "Voices Together." It was a special time of focus for all who came to the need of coming together only for the name of Jesus. Around 5,000 people came. It was a good turn out for an activity planned for just two months. God was truly in it and one can sense it during the whole time from 6 pm -9pm. There many impressions that God gave me personally that day.

I believe that God is setting up a mighty move for Greater Vancouver even as the 2010 Olympics in Whistler is anticipated. Nobody must miss what God will do. It will be a glorious time for all who believe that revival and renewal for Hope to Vancouver to Whistler is coming.

Let's keep praying for God's move.....It's coming soon!