So far is 2021 there have been 6 new professions of faith and 5 baptisms in the Philippines. I’d say that’s a joyful start to the new year. The church ministries we know over there never grow weary of God’s work.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called,
As members of the Body of Christ (the church) we should rejoice. God has established spiritual and doctrinal truths about who we are in Jesus. We can remind ourselves of those truths with a quick reading of Ephesians 1, 2, and 3. Now Christians are being called to live according to those truths. The word here says to live according to our calling. And our calling is simply this: to be separated from the world and joined together with God through Jesus. God seems to be saying through Paul, “You are my Children. Start acting like it.
God is to be glorified in the church. Our Lives, both as individuals and corporately as a church, are testimonies of our God and Savior to the rest of the world. According to verse 2, “all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” is what the world is supposed to see.
I want to do this more. I want to do this better. I want to be a better Christian in the workplace, in the mission field, in church. I want to have a better prayer life. I want to react to my struggles better. I want people to see God working in and through my life. I want people to see the same things in my church. I want the world to see the hope of our calling in a way that they will want it too.
For the longest time I’ve been focused so squarely on what a rough year 2020 has been. Volcanos, COVID-19, catastrophic weather, political strife, personal problems, the list seems endless. This is the first full year since 2015 I’ve spent away from The Philippines. This is also the first full year I’ve been out of full time ministry and in secular employment. I can’t say I have withstood the changes and the storms of life very well this year. To be perfectly honest, I don’t much like the person I see in the mirror nowadays.
My most recent studies and messages have come from Ephesians, and the last passages of Chapter 3, leading into chapters 4 and 5 are about being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ so that we are able to know and understand the riches we have in Christ in a higher, ever increasing way. Having this knowledge and understanding should compel us to actually live as children of light in a higher, ever increasing way.
I’ve failed miserably at that this year, because I’ve been focused on my problems and frustrations instead of on “Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. Does any of this sound familiar, or am I the only one?
BUT while I’ve been busy complaining, feeling sorry for myself, and letting my frustrations affect others around me (especially at work), God has been working out His plan. My employment here has equipped me to be a better giver and supporter of the mission. God has encouraged other individuals and churches to continue in their faithful support too. The result is that we’ve been there to help in the calamities associated with volcanos, typhoons and COVID through the ministries we’re connected to in the Philippines over the past year. Those ministries – 5 churches spread over 4 provinces – have remained faithful to their calling of spreading the gospel in spite of their troubles. It’s amazing to me that, even in the face of all these things, more than 40 have been saved this year, and almost half as many have been baptized. Here in the US, we’ve been blessed to lead 2 weekly bible studies. We’re teaching in 2 different churches, and we’ve managed to help several individuals and families through their own personal and financial struggles along the way.
On top of all that, I am blessed in so many ways. My blessings are far greater than my problems because God is greater than my problems.
So my personal commitment is to end 2020 in thanksgiving and praising my God and Savior for His faithfulness, His mercy, and His grace. I want to move into 2021 with a better prayer life. I want to understand the breadth, length, depth, and height, and to better know the love of Christ, and more effectively experience the fullness of God. I want to walk worthy of my calling. Ephesians chapter 5 says we are light. Jesus said we are the light of the world. I want to live like it, not for myself, but for Him because He saved me and He uses me according to His purpose – even when I can’t see it.
Thanks and blessings to everyone who prays for and supports this mission.
Once again, it’s been way too long since I posted an update. I thought it would be nice to use the notes from one of Mona’s recent studies. She sent this to me a couple of days ago.
Summary: According to scripture, we cannot do good works in order to become God’s children in Christ. It’s not how salvation operates. We’re saved by Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Instead, we do good works (because) we are God’s children. Faith is belief with obedience. Works are the evidence or proof of our faith. We will become discouraged – it’s a fact. But we should never quit because, according to scripture, Our labor is not in vain. Here’s how Mona says it:
Ephesians 2:8-10 Read We can see 3 things * we can’t saved by good worksIt is clear in (v-9 ) it is not by good works why we were saved… many people calling themselves Christians bcoz they are good people, and they’re doing good works, so they will become children of God – Titus 3:5-6 read * we are saved by grace thru faith in Jesus alone, the salvation and eternal life is the GIFT of God,, so there is nothing we can do for ourself to be saved..its clear it’s a GIFT from God, no one is good apart from his grace * God has a reason for us that’s why He saved us, not only He saved us because He loves us also he has planned for us, so we can do the good works thru Jesus Christ. Now A.We can understand that, we don’t do good works to be save or to accept us to become a children of God. We do good works bcoz we are saved already and we are his children already ,thru in Christ. B. Our good works are the fruit of our salvation in Christ and proof of our FAITH in Him.. James 2:18-20 ***The true saved person should have a proof,through Faith with Works which is call the FRUIT Faith = Belief with obedience ……if you will read the whole chapter of this James about faith, you can see the faith with works and faith without works. There’s so much list of good works in the Bible But let’ us read the Colossians 3:5-6–after read then make explanation. As we live in Christ now lets keep our mind and heart on things that are in heaven …and not on these things according in Colossians also Now… Let’s back to our previous lesson according in Ephesians. God did not saved us only because he loves us, also he created us thru Christ so we can do the good works which he has planned for us to do.. Individually should be fruit ,By sharing the gospel , making Bible study ,making disciples,and church services means to tell the good news about salvation. This is the command of Jesus. Which is a proof and fruit of the good works of being saved in Christ and faith in Him.. These are also a purpose and planned by our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember last time we been talked about Faith from the letter of Paul..as long as your faith in God is continued ,you always saved no matter what.. But sometimes life is so hard and rough. There’s always struggle everydays pass as we walk in him. Most of the time we want to quit.. Especially when there’s no results or fruit in our works to God ..It gets frustrated, and tired..yes we are saved and fruitful from the salvation ..but one of the proof of the good works is to share his gospel to others.. But ..most of the time this how we feel..because it seems no fruit… **Sometimes we don’t see people continued, since from the time they were get saved. **sometimes we cnt see other believers, especially the youth are learning from the teaching or Bible studies.. **sometimes the attendance is low or small no matter how we work Sometimes the PTr is not strong to support you or encourage you. Or seems useless to live your life in in a good way. Read the 1 Corinthians 15:58 YOUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN IN THE LORD. So don’t quit,, yes we all want to see our fruits but the fruit is for God to give in his own time. Just keep planting the seeds of the gospel to the Lost ones.. Keep sharing and make disciples. If someone doesn’t respond or not pay attention to your teaching it’s not our responsibility to force them.. Let God work in them. By Sharing and teaching are the fruits of the good works in Christ and his purpose for us to do, why he created us. Last read— 1Peter 1:3-9 these how the salvation working in us which is the purpose of our FAITH in God.. No matter how hard life here on earth, as we waiting for the Lord,, through the trials and sufferings or any circumstances , remember ,these are the fruits of our salvation we have received in Christ because of our faith in him.. So keep serving because Our Labour is not in vain in the Lord.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. -Matthew 5:13
The only way to understand the meaning of this verse is to understand all the things that salt can do.
It can preserve meat and fish so it won’t spoil quickly – it can make food taste better – Even though it stings, it will help heal wounds. You can also use it as a scrub to refresh the skin. I’m sure there are other ways salt can be used to improve life, and there is a spiritual connection between all of the uses for salt and our purpose in life as Children of God. If that were not true, Jesus would not have said “you are the salt of the earth”. Maybe even it’s true to say that God’s purpose and plan for our life is what makes our saltiness.
But salt can become old and spoiled and useless if it sits too long without being used…
I have a question for all true believers: Are you being obedient to God’s plan and purpose for your life as His Child, or are you sitting idle – losing your saltiness and becoming useless?
Always remember – if you are saved, your life does not belong to you anymore. It belongs to Him, who died for you and rose again.
A very dear friend of mine from the Philippines posted this on his Facebook page a while back. I hope that young man doesn’t mind me saving it and using it.
That simple, humorous, and profound Facebook post reminded me of how helpless and hopeless I am by myself, separated and apart from God.
I don’t know how to operate a helicopter, so I need to find someone who does if I want to travel in one. I need a pilot, and I need to trust that pilot and give him control. If I try on my own, I’m gonna fail. I’m gonna crash. I’m gonna die. I’ll never get where I’m going, and my life will end far away from where I wanted to be.
My life is the same way – I don’t know how to live it in a truly righteous way that will lead to eternal life. Though I try again and again, I fail over and over. If I keep doing that, one day I’m gonna die trying to close the gap – the chasm – between me and God only to find that, in my death, I’m still as separated and apart from Him as I was in life depending on myself trying to get to Him.
Jesus said in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come to the Father but by Me.”
So, there’s my Pilot. (Not my copilot, my pilot) Now I need to trust Him and give Him control. If I do that, I’m not gonna crash, burn and die far away from God. I land safely in His arms, right where I want to be.
I’m using this post as a kind of personal/Mission diary entry.
First I want to say that in the Philippines, in spite of the obstacles presented by the COVID crisis, opportunities for Christian fellowship and evangelism are still being sought after and taken advantage of. God is good, and when we are faithful to His plan and His will, He will cause us to produce fruit.
In one church, the fellowship has inspired a few young people to search the scriptures and make their own messages and lessons for small group bible studies.
In another church, as services continue in spite of advanced restrictions on church services and meetings, new believers are being baptized.
In still another, opportunities for evangelism have yielded 15 souls saved in just the past month.
Please continue to pray for these 3 churches and those faithful workers.
Here in the US, the mission hosts 2 individual bible studies. One meets in the Mission House in Fayetteville, the other meets in My Father’s house in Springdale.
I’m becoming more and more involved in ministry in a small country church named Walnut Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church. I have a ministry partner named Matt, and we go out each Saturday to visit and minister to members of that congregation and we are planning to begin evangelizing soon. I preach and teach there every Sunday Morning now, and I’m hoping to see Sunday Evening and Wednesday evening services resume soon, and I’m thankful for the strong core group of this church, who have been faithful to it.
Please pray for these 3 ministries, that the real TRUTH of the Word will be taught and heard, that they will grow in spirit and in physical number, and that souls will continue to be saved from teaching in every meeting as well as the witness of every saved person involved in these ministries.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Philippians 3:20-2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the LORD Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
It seems the world is evermore lost and dying. The enemy has used sickness and disease to separate and divide us. He has used sociopolitical issues and causes to polarize us. But in the end we know that nothing and no one will ever prevail against the Kingdom of God, because He is able to subdue all things to Himself.
Here in the US, I’ve been encouraged to see churches open back up in many places. Home bible studies supplement where and when those services lack. Two of those bible studies happen weekly as a part of this ministry.
We’ve helped to provide churches with small public address systems for outdoor events. Our feeding ministries continue to help a few in need. We helped a family repair it’s car, and helped another to replace their kitchen stove in connection with a local church.
In the Philippines, where social restrictions are greater and more seemingly oppressive than here because of COVID, special few continue to operate in love and obedience to God’s Word by showing love and sharing the Gospel through visitation and home bible studies. We’re still helping bring food to families in greatest need. In 3 of the churches we’re involved with in the north central region of Luzon, 2 more souls have been saved, and 3 more have been baptized.
We’re working through our local missionary and one of our church partners to get poor kids the things they need to continue their schooling in the upcoming year.
I’m not saying these things to glorify the mission, but to glorify our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine how much better this world would be if believers at least tried to love the way Jesus loved?
Some day He’s coming back. On that day I want to be known as one who focused on Him instead of problems.
A friend of mine from Cabanatuan City, in the Philippines died just a few weeks ago.
Ever since I came to know him more than a year ago, he was mostly bed ridden. He could sit up and sometimes, when it was necessary, he he could walk with assistance for a few steps, but his earthly life was primarily sedentary, in bed, in the most humble of homes, in a neighborhood that was far less than desirable…
Then he died…
But his eternal life was secure in Christ, so he left this world in peace. I remember going to see him once or twice each week to have bible studies with him and his family. He got saved during one of those visits, as did each member of his family. (there are lots of stories to tell about those visits)
I was introduced to him by his oldest daughter, who got saved as an adult in Vacation Bible School. She had only come to watch over the kids from the neighborhood. But someone saw an opportunity and was obedient to it.
All that came about through what, at the time, seemed like happenstance or coincidence, but God will always use obedience to His will and purpose. The details of the story are much deeper, but it’s enough to know that God is always with us, working in us, giving us both the desire and the ability to do his good pleasure. (Philippians 2)
I’ve written about this story before. And I do it again because it has had such a profound effect on me. It has brought me to a deeper understand of why pursuing a life worthy of the gospel is so important.
The world isn’t going to change by itself, so let’s stop waiting for it to do that. If we really want to spread love, let us please start by being open and obedient to God’s will and purpose for us in our own lives.