Friday, October 31, 2008

JIL Virginia Ministry Update

We just came from visiting the East Coast of USA specifically Virginia yesterday. Pastor Monette and I flew from Seattle last Oct 22 via Chicago to Washington Dulles airport. It was a very early flight at 6 am arriving at 4pm the same day. There were two specific destination that we needed to visit during this trip: Roanoke and Virginia Beach. There were important tasks to do in these two locations and praise the Lord that they were successfully accomplished.

In this trip, we were joined by our resident pastor in JIL Arlington, Ptr Jess Maghacot; Pastor Arnel Aquino from San Diego and Ptra Bless Abalos from Miramesa, CA. From Arlington, we drove to these two locations: to Virginia Beach from Arlington after 3 and 1/2 hours. After few days, we were off to Roanoke for a 5 hour trip. Then, after few days, we were back to Arlington for a 3 and 1/2 hour trip. They were quite exhausting yet they were most beneficial to all of us filled with sharing stories to fill the time. In short, the driving trip was all worth it and there was laughter and fun shared. Will we do it again given the chance? Yes we will!!!

Over-all, this ministry trip opened many doors of opportunity for much learning and wisdom in dealing with key issues at hand. Although there were important activities to attend to, yet we did not miss to visit key places of attraction as well. I will share some pictures next time....

But no trip will be complete without doing ministry time. Last Wednesday being the the last night, I had the chance to share in a joint cell group of JIL Arlington "Seize the moment of God's opportunity." It was also a special time of fellowship and getting to know each other. Though it was our first time to meet the JIL Arlington congregation, the JIL connection was there. Altogether, we had fun especially sharing what God has in store for them after the sharing time and ministry.

Let me extend a big "Thank you" to our host Pastor Jess and his family with the JIL Arlington family for their hospitality, generosity and fellowship. Oh yeah, Pastor Arnel and I even had a a haircut there courtesy of Bro Jomeng....Thanks again!!!!

For the team that was with me, it was a great partnership....Until next trip....JIL Arlington, get ready and prepare, your time has come to do God's mighty purpose!

More to come!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Learning the ABC of Obedience

Obedience is a learned trait. For example, to train a dog the proper way of learning things and in the right way, an owner might choose to bring the dog to an obedience school. Children in their young age are trained to obey as part of their development and preparation. All our life, we have been trained just to become obedient in the right way, of course! Interestingly, Jesus learned obedience as well as the book of Hebrews declared in Hebrews 5:8, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (NIV) God himself testified about King David of Israel’s obedience this way as Stephen shared in Acts 13:22, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' (NIV)

Let me share how obedience is best illustrated: Stonewall Jackson received a note from his commanding officer, General Robert E. Lee. The note read, "Please see me at your earliest convenience." Jackson immediately began the 5 mile hike across treacherous and dangerous countryside. Shortly after he started it began to rain. It rained for the rest of his journey. By the time he reached his commanding officer's tent, he was exhausted and soaked. Almost too tired to walk, he stumbled inside and blurted out "I made it" to those inside. The General snapped back, "What are you doing? I said, See me at your earliest convenience." Stonewall Jackson stood somewhat confused and exclaimed, "Sir, your slightest wish is my supreme command."

If there is an institution that best teach the principle of obedience, it will be the military. I know because when I was in Manila during my high school years, I was enrolled in Cadet Military Training. For four years, it provided me principles that I still have even up to this day. The most common expression was, “Obey first before you complain!” and “What you see, what you hear, when you leave, leave it here!” I do not know how some of you will react, but it gave me additional foundation in my character development and personal principles in life. Though the training was harsh but it was part of what it was made of. There are no regrets for me being part of that program and I was glad I chose it then.

There are two kinds of obedience that Jesus shared in Matt 21:28-32, "There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' "'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went."Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” (NIV)

What a clear distinction Jesus made between two groups of people when it comes to obeying God’s will. It is it not about who you are but your response to His will. Clearly, it is the state of the heart that matters the most not just what comes out of the mouth. The judgment is not on what was said but the action done after the instruction was given. Though the words spoken are sincere, the response should always be from an obedient and willing heart. Or else, it will be just plain flattery and hypocrisy. Obedience is a choice and a decision on an individual basis. No one can make you obey unless you are willing to. Therefore, obedience is total submission to God’s will even if you do not fully understand its cause and effect in your life. God never forgets those who obey Him with all their heart, strength and mind.

Let’s talk again!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

JIL 30th Anniversary - Part 1

Wheww!!! What a great time it was to be part of a grand celebration of 30 years. Truly it was another experience of God's faithfulness. Seeing many faces expecting God's move was truly exhilirating. Most especially, this was the first time that majority of the JIL International Pastors have attended.

I am most excited seeing JIL Canada Pastors become part of such a huge celebration. Finally, they were there to see first-hand and to feel being up there on the stage overlooking the throngs of people who've attended the event. Wait until you hear their first-hand testimonies and experiences as I believe they will share to their respective congregations.

My whole two-weeks with my wife, Pastor Monette were jam-packed with ministry assignments (especially me!!!) but she had her share of ministry sked as well. Yet it was all worth it, especially when it involves ministry development.

During the next days, I will share bits and pieces of specific events to complete the whole story. For now, let me just say that this year's celebration was one of the best that I've experienced. I am praying that more JIL people from the International will come to attend and to experience what we had for themselves.

First and foremost, I thank God for His favor on the JIL Church and the JIL people as a whole. Congratulations to all JIL people worldwide for being faithful.

To Bishop Bro Eddie and Sis Dory Villanueva and their family together with the JIL family...our prayers for you will never fail. God bless!!!!

Until next time.....