Category Archives: Lord’s Day

Lord’s Day Musings 20151018

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1)

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about the so-called Pastor Appreciation Day (elsewhere called Clergy Appreciation Day) and I have this to say on the subject. It relates happiness with joy and I believe is appropriate when we consider those who the Father gave us to be our ministers and little shepherds. It is good that congregations show appreciation for their pastor.

I have always maintained that it is easy to make your pastor happy. Do not criticize him unnecessarily, do not make him do things he is not called to do, do not treat him like one of the hired help. Come to church regularly, attend the prayer meetings and other activities religiously, raise his salary (he will love that!).

What is a lot harder (and what will really make your Pastor Appreciation Day shine) is to complete his joy by growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The passage above (Paul writes something uncannily similar in his epistle to the Philippians) shows the relation between what a person professes with how that person walks–having fellowship with the Father, walking in the light, confession of sin and hatred thereof, etc.–a connection that, while known, is sadly missing in many people’s lives.

As a pastor, I would be very happy to be treated to a dinner or to have my birthday remembered. But happiness is fickle, and if the church is hardheaded and shows unwillingness to grow in Christ, all the birthday parties in the world will never compensate for the feeling of failure the pastor will surely get.

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Lord’s Day 062214

I’m missing out on corporate Lord’s Day celebration today. My body just will not cooperate.  Within the past three days, I have traveled more than two hundred kilometers, shuffling back and forth from Imus, Cavite and Quezon City, because my mom needed to go the hospital for some persistent cough. She’s been discharged, but the travel, plus the stress of things, have finally taken their (happily not so serious) toll on little ol’ me. I’m getting bed rest today. Period.

And listen to sermons online.

And catch up on some reading.

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A few things on the interweb to feed your Sunday Theology appetite:

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Blessings!

“I Don’t Know” (Alternate Title: “We Don’t Know”)

Photo copyright CNN
Photo copyright CNN

A little introduction: Not a few followers of my blog have commented that I have been quiet for some time. Two reasons for my not writing anything recently: First is that I’ve been quite busy doing…other things. This does not mean that my blog will eventually die a natural, quiet death but it does mean that my time has been spent elsewhere on things which family and social responsibilities demanded I take care of.

Second is my way of responding (one of my responses, at least) to the recent catastrophes which have brought much death and destruction recently in the Philippines. Barely had the people of Bohol begun recuperating from the earthquake which hit the island and neighboring areas (October 15), the Visayas were hit by what is considered to be one of the worst storms to hit anyone anywhere. It is enough for the superstitious to wonder whether God or some other entity is mad at the Philippines.

I didn’t feel the storm that much, since the National Capital Region was spared the brunt of Typhoon Haiyan. At least that is what it felt like; my wife and I slept through the hour when the storm was scheduled to “hit” the capital. We were spared the full blast of Haiyan but that relatively happy bit of non-news paled in comparison to the horror that occurred where the typhoon did hit–Tacloban, Samar, and other places in the Visayas.

My silence for the past few days was a way of commiserating with those who were directly affected by this freak (yes, it’s a freak) of nature. No words can express how terrible this latest event really is. The silver lining is that the nations of the world have joined hands in coming to aid the Philippines. An unverified report I read somewhere claims the aid is somewhere in the several tens of billions in total already. Of course, every silver lining has a cloud and in this case the cloud comes in the form of bickering, finger-pointing, hand-washing, and all other evidences of human silliness.

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That is not what I am writing about now, why I am breaking my short silence. I am concerned by questions and statements from some quarters, statements which claim that the recent catastrophes are God’s punishment for the nation’s sins. The short answer my friends, is that we don’t know why the Philippines experienced what it experienced.

(Alright, there are explanations…the Philippines sits on the “Ring of Fire” and is therefore susceptible to earthquakes. The Philippines is right near the ocean [or should I say, on the ocean] and therefore we should expect typhoons. Also, don’t forget the harbingers of global warming and climate change…”All is well and good” from a materialistic and naturalistic viewpoint, since this world and how it works is all there is to it.)

But from a theistic or Christian point of view, these answers are not enough. If there is a God, why did he let these things happen? Or, where was God when these tragedies happened? (The honorable mayor of Davao City suggested, perhaps in jest, that God was elsewhere.) There has to be another answer out there. And people who ask are not limited to those who suffer. I can’t prove this but I think that questions like the ones I posed come more from those who were spared the destruction rather than those who lived through it–those who suffer don’t really have much of an answer–and I don’t think they have any strength left for metaphysical inquiries. They’re experiencing misery enough.

However, there are those who seem to think that they should act as God’s spokesmen whenever something bad happens. Think of Pat Robertson. This latest issue with Haiyan is no exception. Soon after the storm left our area of responsibility, we saw Facebook and other social media being used as platforms for “thunder and brimstone” kind of rhetoric–how we are being punished by God because we are a nation which promotes homosexuality and other sins.

Friends, I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality and other sins. But to say that God is punishing us with the storm and earthquake because of that is downright irresponsible. The reason is quite simple–God did not say that our recent national tragedies are due to any particular sins.

This is not like the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, or other instances in Scripture wherein God directly reveals both the destruction of a particular people and the reason behind that destruction (sin). However, the case of Sodom (and other Biblical cases) is not in the same category as what we recently experienced.

So the next time somebody asks why we experienced the devastation in Haiyan, why thousands were killed, or if God is doing this to us, just say you don’t know. Because, really, you don’t.

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Having said all that, I still stand by the traditional Christian perspective that God is sovereign and that he can (and will) use the events of the earth for his glory. Will he use the recent Bohol earthquake and the devastation by Haiyan to bring people to repentance and have them turn to Christ? I believe so.

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Blessings!

Lord’s Day 060213 (Update)

Today is Communion Sunday at our church gathering. It’s my responsibility (one that I put on myself, happily) to bake the communion bread. I’ve been doing so for the past several months (though it’s only last month when we decided to actually start using the homemade bread during the service) and while I’m happy with what we’ve been using so far, I wanted to experiment a little.

So, here for your viewing pleasure (I think) is GCEC Communion Bread Version 28.9. This latest incarnation has a little cross on top, though in the future I might make one with smaller crosses all over the surface.

Communion Bread V28-9

The edges are not as straight as I hoped they would be. My mistake, I cut the dough into the desired shape and size before I placed it onto the baking tray. It got stretched in transit. Maybe I should invest in some cookie cutters for the edges? (No, you may not! ~ M.) The Pilot pen is used for scale, by the way.

Ciao!

(Update: Sadly, the communion bread pictured above crumbled not too soon after I took this picture. The cross piece actually came apart. Had to make another one lickety-split.)

Lord’s Day 051213

Today is the Lord’s day.

In our church, we won’t be hearing another sermon about 1 Samuel 1. It’s not a bad verse (is there such a thing?) but it is somehow always tied to motherhood. We will be hearing about the Lord Jesus Christ. This does not mean that we refuse to honor mothers–one of God’s greatest gifts to us–we do honor them, but it means we know the focus of the Sunday worship.

It may be Mother’s Day for the rest of the world, but when the church that Jesus Christ loves and died for gathers together, let them remember that the Lord alone is to be worshiped.

Ciao!

For Lord’s Day 022413

Tomorrow, I will be preaching on one of Christianity’s iconic passages, 2 Timothy 3:10-17. And for the Bible Study preceding the morning service, our group shall be tackling Questions 8 & 9 of the Westminster Larger Catechism.

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God. 

Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD. 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one…. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Jeremiah 10:10. But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?

A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

 1 John 5:7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. Matthew 3:16-17. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 28:19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 2 Corinthians 13:14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. John 10:30. I and my Father are one.

Blessings!