Monday, March 25, 2013

Ministry Updates Part 2: JRAM Southern Alberta and Red Deer

JRAM Lethbridge
JRAM Lethbridge Core Team

The second half of our ministry visit included JRAM Lethbridge, Banff and Red Deer. Our visit to Lethbridge last Wednesday was a two-hour trip from Calgary (one-way), together with Pastor Edith Catayong, was filled with expectation of a wonderful time and indeed it was a great time! We had a jolly introduction with one another before a special dinner fellowship with great food prepared by the brethren. Afterwards, an informal mini-service was done complete with an exhortation and an update meeting about JRAM’s status. Over all, everyone, including Monette, and myself were truly encouraged with their excitement and partnership towards JRAM’s mandate. Thanks JRAM Lethbridge for the fellowship we had, the excellent dinner and the amazing on-the-spot song number of “The Prayer” by Dione and Tess Cabrisus.

JRAM Banff
JRAM Banff
The following day, we drove to Banff with our Coordinator Mafe Galao to meet our JRAM brethren there. Coming from Calgary that day was very sunny but along the way there was snow flurries but the trip was smooth and enjoyable. We appreciated seeing Banff covered in snow and it was such an awe-inspiring sight! On arrival, Mafe, Monette and I met with our brethren waiting with a pleasing hotpot (shabu-shabu) dinner treat. It was perfect meal for a cold day to warm our palate. After introduction, we ate and had a buffet of biblical topics to the delight of all those who were there. I believe that everyone went home carrying new insights from our informal bible study with much gladness. Thanks JRAM Banff for the dinner treat and your warm welcome to us.

JRAM Red Deer
From Banff, we drove straight to Red Deer on a sunny Friday but with low temperature, it was really freezing cold. The next day, we met with the JRAM Red Deer Core Team waiting with a dinner treat as part of our fellowship before a formal meeting to update them about JRAM events and direction. Truly, any meal is a good way to start a great conversation between church families. Afterwards, the meeting started to inform them of the latest happenings in JRAM. I was given an opportunity to preach on their Worship Service the following day to encouraged them to adopt an “Outlook of Great Expectation.” Afterwards, a dinner fellowship was provided before a short meeting was done for the information of the JRAM members as well. The atmosphere was filled with anticipation and I believed that everyone was truly informed and ready to move onwards as partners together for the harvest. Thank you JRAM Red Deer for the special gifts you’ve given us and the fellowship we have shared even for a short time.
Special gifts from JRAM Red Deer with Pastor Edna Solaina

Overall, each ministry trip that we had this year gave us many learning experiences that would only contribute in making sure that JRAM would be fulfilling the mandate received from the Lord. We are indeed blessed with people that partners with us in moving towards greater things. There’s more to come and the excitement is building up to see greater things ahead. Thank God for His favor to all of us and all glory belongs to Him alone!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ministry Updates Part 1: JRAM Southern Alberta Visit

Joint Prayer Gathering - JRAM Southern Alberta
JRAM Strathmore

The first half of our ministry visit for Southern Alberta is done with activities completed this past weekend. It was indeed a great opportunity and a privilege for us to serve God’s agenda for JRAM as a whole. The prayer gathering we had last Friday with JRAM Southern Alberta Churches was an awesome night as God honored our praise, prayer and worship with His presence. God never fails to show up when His people raises their voice in unison to lift up His Holy Name.

JRAM High River
Saturday and Sunday was concentrated on two JRAM locations, namely, Strathmore and High River. Meeting them for the first time was such a mighty blessing for us as we discuss important matters that JRAM is pursuing and have done in the past eight months. Altogether, I believe that the discussion will bear fruit that can only result in pursuing the Great Commission together as partners in God’s Vineyard. Having the occasion to preach in their respective Sunday Worship Services allowed us to serve God’s Word to strengthen all of us to continue with an “Outlook of Great Expectations.”

No one can miss the atmosphere of joyous celebration that can be felt during our times together. It was like a family reunion to say the least complete with sharing meals together and it will not be complete without it. What a great time indeed! I got a boost of encouragement just being with them and I know that Monette felt the same way. Seeing each one with a smile in their faces and deep commitment with excitement in serving God was deeply contagious.
JRAM Strathmore Children's Special Number

JRAM High River Gesture of Appreciation
A huge “Thank You” to all our brethren in JRAM High River headed by Jhon and Elvie Bautista for their warm welcome, fellowship with a gift and gesture of appreciation. Also, to our brethren in JRAM Strathmore headed by Cely and Rene Esteban for such a wonderful time of fellowship for two days complete with meals shared and a great time. In both locations, we felt God’s love and presence among them, our beloved brethren in Christ. Let us continue to do God’s great work with great expectations for “Greater Things Have Yet to Come!”

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Right Way

An individual without direction is like Alice in the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland. In a conversation between her and the Cheshire Cat, Alice asked, "Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the cat. "I don't much care where," said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the cat.

Many have been trying to search diligently and seeking patiently the right direction for their life. There is an intense desire to having an better-quality life as days and years pass by yet the “how” still seems unknown to many. How does one know if you are traversing in the right direction? Is being married with this person the right choice?  Is this course the right way? These are all valid questions that need valid answers.

There are those who trust their instincts in regards to making choices. Yet many is stuck and surrendered to whatever comes their way. Though, there is a bit discomfort at first but for lack of a better option, they’ve just decided to just give in. Both of these actions are extremes that need to be evaluated and applied on a case-to-case basis. Also, because of the many choices presented to us, conflict within us arises. Thus, we become unstable and double-minded especially true when we allow other people to give opinions, the choice becomes even more difficult. Remember that every situation we are in will contribute or confuse any right decision made.

Proverbs 3:5-6 provides a clear glimpse of what should we do especially if you will seek God’s help in this regard. It goes like this: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)
You see, only God knows the future and He is the only one that could provide the necessary guidance towards it. Let’s look at the example in the life of Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, “The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (NIV)

Looking at this example, observe that God did not tell him where he will go but only mentioned that He will show the way towards it. Then the promises of blessing were added to emphasize God’s intentions. There was a specific direction from point A to point B yet no mention to what will happen along the way was missing. Abraham’s response was critical to the fulfillment of God’s plan and he needed to have faith in God’s plan. Unreserved faith in God’s promises kicks in a high gear for those who trust God’s way unquestionably.  God has a clear direction towards the way we need to go and a guaranteed result when we completely obey resolutely.

Unfortunately, this is where many are stumped at the idea of putting everything in God’s hands. They shudder at the thought of not knowing the specific details of any venture. This is due to the fact that we were taught not to do it this way. Furthermore, when we let go of something, we think that everything must go our way or no way. Besides, one might say, “Trusting other than my own instinct even God Himself is a red flag and a “no-no”.

Well, it is a choice that each one must make. We could continue to do what we think is and receive unsatisfactory results as a hit and miss style or through God’s way that is already proven as tried, tested and true. Remember that with God, it is always a sure thing!  We know that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham because even after more than 4,000 years, Abraham is still a very important figure to three major religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What more do you need to be assured that God knows what He is doing?

Let’s talk again!