THERE IS HOPE

Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva’s Message on Super Typhoon Yolanda
 

My heart aches with grief as news of the Super Typhoon Yolanda overwhelm us with shocking images of devastation – towns with nothing but rubbles and ruins… infrastructures wrecked beyond repair… dead bodies lying cold in the streets… fathers, mothers, and siblings mourning the loss of one or all of their loved ones… survivors of the storm now clueless on surviving the next couple of days.

With this great damage that has beset our country by the “strongest storm ever known to make landfall and the fourth strongest storm ever recorded in the world” according to Weather Underground co-founder Dr. Jeff Masters, this is not the time to blame anybody. This is the time to CONNECT –

To one’s self. My beloved Filipinos who were gravely affected by this storm, this might have been your toughest battle yet. But I urge you, get back up again. Fight on. Despite the seeming helplessness and hopelessness surrounding you, this battle can be won. For we are a people in whose veins run the blood of heroes. We are fighters. We are victors. And as we have done so many times before, I know that you WILL win this fight. Just don’t give up.

To others. Now to us who were unscathed by Super Typhoon Yolanda, let us not only link our hearts in sympathizing with them. Let us link our hands in service to them. Yes, Filipinos are fighters. Our kababayans in Visayas will surely come out of this storm strong. But they need help… our help. Let us not fail them. Let us join them in this fight. Let us win this fight together.

To God. Brothers and sisters, may we not forget that while staying strong and helping one another are important, these could only do so much. This storm is far beyond sheer human strength. WE NEED GOD. With one voice, as a nation, let us cry out to Him. For He is the God who hears AND answers. He will surely come to our aid and lift us out of this situation.

The whole Philippines – even the world – is in great mourning. We have barely escaped an earthquake. We are not even recovering. And then this storm hit us. We are broken, even crushed. But one thing we know: More than any of us, the God of love – the God who IS love – cries the loudest. Seeing us in such a devastated situation as this, His heart bleeds for us. He could never delight seeing us in shambles. Because two thousand years ago, that same God bled on the Cross for each of us. To save us. Will He not save us now?

My beloved countrymen, God is for us. THIS IS OUR HOPE.

BE SAFE, IN HIS PRESENCE

Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva: Personal message on the tragic earthquake in Visayas

 

We share in the sorrow of our fellow citizens – our fellow men, women and children – who now grieve for the loss of their mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children and loved ones. We share in the horrors that the tragic earthquake has brought in its wake: children buried alive inside buildings, historic landscapes and cherished places of worship razed to the ground, homes and workplaces shattered… everywhere chaos as people run in fear and panic and deaths continue to toll with every aftershock. A trauma meant for a dozen lifetimes condensed in a few minutes of unforgettable terror.

The earthquake that hit Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor and its neighboring islands recently has hit our country hard, once again. Many local and international experts are describing the strength of the earthquake as being ‘like 32 Hiroshima atom bombs.’ As of the most recent count by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the death toll has already surpassed 150 and is still counting, with more than 3 million people in more than 1,000 villages affected by the initial tremor and its equally deadly aftershocks.

Needless to say, cost-wise, damages are in the millions. Heritage-wise, priceless. Security and relationship-wise, devastatingly irreplaceable.

Now, more than ever, is when we need God.

Today, more than ever, is when we should set our differences aside – of whatever nature they may be – and come together as a united people before His throne of grace.

This is the moment, more than ever, when our prayers should be heard, when our hands should be linked in solidarity and our hearts should be beating as one, for the sake of our suffering countrymen.

This is the time when the Body of Christ and all genuine lovers of our God and nation should labor side-by-side that our beloved country may rise again from the depths that this earthquake has dragged us.

For this is the truth of the matter: there is no specific place in this world that is truly safe. We will all be ultimately hurt. And we will all, in at least one point in our lives, hit our rock bottom in complete helplessness.

Be safe, in God’s Presence. It is only in His arms that we can find true refuge.

It is only in the arms of Him who looked at man’s sinfulness and, instead of wiping them out and creating a new race, He left His majesty, was born flesh and blood and suffered among His creation that He may die for them and save them.

It is only in the arms of Him who sees injustice where the law is blind, who sees oppression where society has grown numb and who sees worth in the lowliest castoffs of civilized man.

It is only in the arms of Him who knows us better than ourselves – our secret hurts, our most shameful thoughts and most disgraceful deeds, our little hopes, forgotten acts of kindness and fondest dreams – that we can entrust the full weight of our souls, knowing that He is both able and willing to hold us, regardless.

Of course, there is no harm in taking safety precautions; it is the smart thing to do. It is what any sane person would do. But even as we enforce precautionary measures upon precautionary measures, we must remember that they are just that – calculated actions for caution. They are never really guarantees. We can as easily get hurt by an enemy as by a friend that we trust with our lives; or devastated by an illness caused by existing vices like smoking or drinking, as by cancer that came out of nowhere despite a lifetime of healthy living; or even wounded by standing in a corner as by daring death in extreme sports.

Thus, instead of searching for what, let us search for Who. Let us search for the Loving God who is knocking at our doors as He calls out––

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Stop holding tight to the burdens that life has thrown your way, He is inviting us to come to Him and––

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

There is no one – no matter how greatly burdened – that He will turn away!

To all who come to Him in complete surrender, His loving arms are ever open, for the Lord our God declares––

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” (1 John 4:9)

As a people, let us all work together to rise above the horrors of the past few days.

As men and women and children who yearn to run to a safe refuge, let us all run to Him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us all BE SAFE, IN HIS PRESENCE.

 

Measured by Motive

Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
April 2013 Edition

Author of the classic book, Imitation Of Christ, Thomas à Kempis worded it rightly, “Man sees your actions, but God your motives.”

If there is a measurement against which our actions ought to be judged, it has to be the touchstone of our motive. Because motive, by definition, is “a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.”

This validates why, even in criminal investigations, authorities often primarily seek to establish the motive for the commission of a crime.  On a lighter note, yet by the same token, we tend to become circumspect too toward people who suddenly do out-of-the-ordinary things for us.  Ask a mom whose teenage son, totally uncharacteristic of him, suddenly offers to do the laundry just because!

* * * * *

In the Old Testament, there are two occasions in Prophet Samuel’s life wherein God exposed the power of human motive.  And in these two occasions, God showed how, like a two-faced coin, motive has the power to ruin or restore – not only individuals, but also even nations.

When the time came for the LORD to avenge the Israelites against the Amalekites who blocked Israel’s way after the Israelites came from their Egypt exodus, He sent Samuel to King Saul with the following order: Attack Amalek. Claim everything they have for God by destroying it. Spare no one and nothing – even the cows and sheep, camels and donkeys (1 Samuel 15:3).

King Saul did as instructed.  Well, almost.

“Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality” (1 Samuel 15:7-9, NLT).

Confronted by Prophet Samuel on why he didn’t carry out fully the command of the LORD, King Saul reasoned with Prophet Samuel that he spared Agag and the best of the spoil because they will be sacrificed to the LORD.

To King Saul’s army, his outward action may seem justified, even commendable, but to the LORD who weighs the motives of the heart (Proverbs 21:2), it was a detestable act of disobedience, even rebellion (1 Samuel 15:22).

“Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So BECAUSE YOU HAVE REJECTED THE COMMAND OF THE LORD, HE HAS REJECTED YOU AS KING” (1 Samuel 15:23, NLT, emphasis mine).

This should serve as a serious warning to us.  “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit” (Proverbs 16:2, ESV).

Meanwhile, when it was time for Prophet Samuel to anoint the successor of King Saul, he went to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to pour oil on the head of God’s chosen one.

When Jesse’s muscular firstborn stood before Prophet Samuel, he immediately thought: “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”(1 Samuel 16:6, NLT)

Yet just as soon as the thought came to his mind, God’s Word came to his heart: “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).

One by one, Jesse’s sons were called out to stand before Prophet Samuel until the verdict was made: “The Lord has not chosen any of these. Are these all the sons you have?” (1 Samuel 16:10-11, GWT, emphasis mine).

Alas! The forgetful father was put in remembrance! “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats” (1 Samuel 16:11-12, NLT).

By our standards, it can be said that it was not the best beginning for a would-be-king!  But God does not see as humans see. He is not impressed by what usually catches our fancy. He weighs the motives of the heart.

* * * * *

It is not for us to say whether an endeavor is a success or a failure, based on our limited and warped definition of success and failure. The story of King Saul and the Israelites tells us that success is not simply winning a war; it is winning the LORD’s approval by doing everything He commands. On the same note, King David’s election story tells us that being disqualified by one’s own father as a potential future king is not an outright failure or rejection. David was blessed that, while others saw him as a mere shepherd boy, God found him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22) and worthy of the throne.

We should never be afraid to “walk on water” if the LORD tells us so. We should never be afraid to “let down our nets for a catch” even though we have only been through a night of unproductive fishing.  We should never be afraid to wholeheartedly obey God in all things, and at all times, even when the results of our obedience do not match our expectations.

After all, “God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad” (Ecclesiastes 12:14, GWT).

BESMI Graduation

THE “PASSIONATE BATCH” MARCHES

It all started last May 2011 after successfully passing through a screening comparable to the “eye of the needle.” And it ended with a march last March 17 at the Prayer Garden in Bunlo, Bocaue, Bulacan. Finally, after 10 months of academic and on-the-job training, the first batch of the Bro. Eddie School of Ministries International (BESMI) had their graduation rites.

BESMI’s pioneer 82 students are now known in the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Church Worldwide’s history as the “Passionate Batch.” For these students, passion means to love and serve the Almighty God faithfully and without reservations. Regardless of the cost.

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The road travelled

The graduation rites marked the end of BESMI Stage 1 or the Training Stage. During this stage, BESMI students defied distances and circumstances and literally travelled miles, crossed the seas and braved the weather. They left their families for a while. Many also took a leave from work and a number opted to resign from their jobs! All these to heed God’s call.

Being BESMI students had sacrifices, yet they did not falter.

Their BESMI journey began in the classrooms with teachers who had extensive Ministry experiences. These teachers were led by no less than the JIL Spiritual Director and International President, Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva. Other teachers were JIL International Vice-President Dr. Dory Villanueva and members of the JIL Executive Management Board (EMB): Ms. Joni Villanueva-Tugna, Rev. Joey Crisostomo, Rev. Bobot Bernardo, Rev. Domeng Rivera, Rev. Alex Garcia, Rev. Virgie Hernandez, Ms. Soc Garcia and Sis Edith Mendoza. JIL pioneer pastors, Ptr. Dino Tobias and Dr. Amor Adela also joined the roll of teachers.

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Through classroom lectures, BESMI students were equipped with fundamental Biblical and theological knowledge. They learned more about God and the Church and they grew in their understanding of service and ministry. These classroom discussions motivated them to serve God more passionately and in many instances, these discussions turned to be sessions for intimate encounters with God!

After the equipping in the classrooms, they were commissioned to on-the-job trainings in JIL Churches where they exhorted, preached and ministered. This experience made them understand what it means to be pastors and ministers of God.

Actual field work for evangelism then followed. They ministered outside the confines of the church. They planted trees, fed children and ministered to poor communities in Bulacan. They also ministered to our brothers and sisters in the Correctional Institution for Women and in Marikina City Jail. And they prayed for the cancer patients of the Philippine General Hospital.

To wrap everything up, the Training Stage held a two-day Culmination Camp/Holy Spirit rally last February 24 and 25, 2012 where the students underwent a spiritual confinement. Challenged to a higher level of service, they recommitted and rededicated their lives in service to God and to the JIL Church.

The road ahead

But their BESMI journey does not end here. This June, selected graduates will be progressing to Stage 2 or the Categorization Stage where they will be trained and honed according to their gifts and calling: Bible teachers, pulpit ministers, evangelists, missionaries, church planters, or pastors.

For the Passionate Batch, the finish line is still a long way off. But, passionate as they are, they will carry on regardless of the cost. Their battle cry, after all, is “to finish the race and complete the task” God has given them (Acts 20:24).

This is BESMI Batch 1. Faithful and unreserved in their love and service to the Almighty God. PASSIONATE.

The 82 graduates, with guest speaker Bishop Leo Alconga and his wife, Sis. Elsie Alconga, BESMI Director, Rev. Joey Crisostomo, and EDD Director, Rev. Bobot Bernardo.

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The Passionate Batch, with Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Dr. Dory Villanueva, together with guest speaker Bishop Leo Alconga and his wife, Sis. Elsie Alconga, BESMI Director, Rev. Joey Crisostomo, and EDD Director, Rev. Bobot Bernardo

Bro. Eddie School of Ministries Int’l (B.E.S.M.I.): CONTINUING THE JIL LEGACY

Pulpit rock

With its mission of “raising up competent and Spirit-led pastors, leaders, and workers effectively influencing the peoples of the world to passionately serve in the Kingdom of the Living God,” the Bro. Eddie School of Ministries International’s (BESMI) two-week Training Program launched its pilot classes last May 2 to 14, 2011 at the Galilee Resort and Mansion in Bustos, Bulacan.

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BESMI’s pioneer batch, with JIL’s spiritual director Bro. Eddie Villanueva,
along with Dr. Dory Villanueva, Ptr. Joey Crisostomo, Ptr. Bobot Bernardo,
Ptr. Jojo delos Reyes, and Ptr. Raffy Ignacio

Ninety-one (91) students hold the distinction of being part of BESMI’s first batch, 75 are from the central churches, 14 from the national churches, and 2 from Taiwan, representing the international churches. Considered the crème de la crème of the JIL Church, the students were personally handpicked by their church pastors to live up to the legacy of Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva, Spiritual Director of the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide (JILCW).

For future pastors and leaders

BESMI is the realization of the vision of a man possessed by the passion to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. With a heart burning to see nations transformed, Bro. Eddie also knew this truth: capturing a nation, much less the world, can only be accomplished if the Gospel is shared to every part of the land.

And so, with his unquenchable love for God and country, and with the commitment of support by the JIL leadership, Bro. Eddie initiated the establishment of a school bearing and propagating the standards and principles of JILCW. During the JILCW Pastors’ Congress last year, held a week before JIL’s 32nd anniversary, Bro. Eddie formally announced the launching of BESMI. The appointment of Rev. Joey Crisostomo who was then the Director for JIL Central Operations to head BESMI signaled Bro. Eddie’s resolve to make sure that this school for JIL Church’s future pastors and leaders would fall into the hands of a man who has a heart for pastors. From then on, BESMI has never looked back.

The BESMI experience

A thorough screening process was conducted to ensure that only the finest would be enrolled in BESMI, consistent with its aim to produce no less than the next Bro. Eddies of JIL. Church pastors were tasked to carefully observe and scrutinize their churches’ leaders and workers. These observations became one of the bases to determine potential pastors who would undergo the BESMI Program. Those who passed the local church screening were afterwards subjected to the final screening held on April 19. It consisted of two parts: (1) a written exam designed to test their grasp of what JILCW is and (2) an interview with BESMI Director, Rev. Joey Crisostomo, and Education and Discipleship Department Director, Rev. Bobot Bernardo.

After going through the screening process, the list of students qualified to enroll for BESMI was announced, totaling to a class of 91 students.

 

The BESMI Program has three stages:

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Bro. Eddie Villanueva while giving a Personalized Talk to the BESMI students

BESMI 1 (B1) or the Training Stage is a comprehensive program comprised of two parts: a two-week Training Program and a four-month On-the-Job Training. This is where students have to undergo courses of preparation, honing, equipping, and development.

Since the aim is to educate the students holistically, all the lessons on theological and spiritual doctrines, teachings and lectures were conducted and facilitated by no less than Bro. Eddie and Dr. Dory Villanueva and the JILCW Executive Management Board Directors, Ms. Joni Villanueva-Tugna, Rev. Joey Crisostomo, Rev. Bobot Bernardo, Rev. Domeng Rivera, Rev. Alex Garcia, Rev. Virgie Hernandez, Ms. Soc Garcia and Sis. Edith Mendoza. JIL Senior Pastor Dino Tobias and JIL pioneering Bible teacher, Dr. Amor Adela also conducted lectures, among others.

All the lectures were tailor-made to not only enrich the students’ head knowledge but to mold their character and to develop their spiritual lives as well. With the Holy Spirit taking over each class session, the students also experienced the divine touch and presence of God. Sequentially, the Training Program culminated in a commissioning service, equipping students with the power of the Holy Spirit that would enable them to fulfill their calling.

Currently, the students are on the second part of B1, the four-month On-the-Job Training. Putting everything that they learned in the two-week Training Program into action, the students are assigned to various local churches where they are to minister. The four-month period is to be devoted to missions, hospital and jail visitations, tract distributions, and other activities where the students are to be sent out in groups to evangelize. Set to finish in September, all who complete this stage will be qualified for graduation.

Based on the over-all performance of the students in B1, only a designated number of students will proceed to the next level, BESMI 2 (B2). B2 is the Categorization Stage, a special training program for specialization which will depend on the strengths students showed in B1. The specialization will be according to the five-fold ministry gifts in Ephesians 4:11: the office of the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor and the teacher.

B2 graduates will then to move to BESMI 3 (B3), the Sending Stage. Here, students are to be sent out as full-time pastors, part-time pastors or volunteer ministers.

Envisioned as a “school of ministries producing Christ-like pastors, leaders and workers effectively and passionately impacting and transforming the world with the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” BESMI, with its stage-by-stage comprehensive program, aims to ensure that it is able to give its students the best training and preparation in order to fulfill God’s calling in their lives.

A legacy to keep

The JIL Church has been penetrating the Philippines and the world for the last 33 years. As the JIL Church continues to propagate the Good News to all parts of the world, Bro. Eddie desires to take the world by storm for Christ – restoring signs, wonders, and miracles back to the local churches and even surpassing the glory of the JIL Araullo High School days. He believes that such miracles should be commonplace in the JIL churches, thus fulfilling its mission of “bringing all peoples to the Kingdom of the Living God…through the saving, healing, delivering, and transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, coupled with sound Biblical doctrines and a blazing fire of compassion for souls, BESMI will surely preserve the legacy of the JIL Church in the years to come, and thus incessantly give the highest glory to the Living God.

 

By: Abigail Rose Roque

Agenda of a Godly Leader Towards a New Season of Service

Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
Executive Bishop and International President
Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide

Serving God is an unending vocation to those who have truly given their lives over to Him. Those who have decided to surrender their entire existence to God normally desire to serve in His kingdom until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. But not everyone who serves God finishes the given race. Many of them stumble along the way and haply return to the lane of Christian service.

What could be the secrets to serve God steadily? There are certain principles that will guide us in establishing a lasting kind of service. Given here are the 6-point agenda that will help us become able, effective and godly servants of God. Let me recite them one by one and ponder how they shall take us to the finish line.


1. Covet to honor the Lord.

1 Samuel 2:30 says, “For those who honor Me I will honor and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.”

No honor can be so great than the honor that comes from the Lord of lords and King of kings. But God honors only those who give him the honor. Imagine a friend, who does nothing to you but disgrace, do you think you will honor such a man? In the same way, God shall esteem lightly those who despise Him and His cause in the Ministry.

The first step for us to honor the Lord is to have that passionate love for Christ. This kind of love for Christ is being reflected in the manner we live our lives as well as in the manner we take care of God’s ministry. We should develop the habit of giving honor to God by properly handling and managing the ministry. Be reminded that “curse is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully,” (Jeremiah 48:10). Every form of deceit in the ministry of the Lord is a cause for a curse.

We cannot also say that we truly love God with all our heart, mind, and strength and soul if we struggle in doing even the littlest task in the ministry. If we have the passionate love for Christ, we will be cheerful in everything that we do to serve our Master – the Lord Jesus.

To have this kind of love for the Lord, we have to ask Him to fill our hearts with a passion to love Him. If we have this, there will be no hindrance that we cannot overcome. God can use us in a mighty way.

Let us develop a passionate love for God. We should love God more than anybody else and even more than our own reputation. If we remain faithful to God, He is obligated to help, support and equip us with all the necessary “ammunitions” as we finish our assignments from Him. We can be assured of His assistance if we continue to depend on Him for anointing and grace in ministering to the people. No one has the right to boast of anything. We must never be tempted to share or touch even an iota of the glory that exclusively belongs to God.

Personal, family, business and political decisions must be motivated by our passionate love for God with an obsession to please His heart and to glorify His Holy Name. Therefore, let us covet to honor the Lord as long as we live.

2. Work with God.

Stop working for God. We as His servants should not struggle in serving Him. We should not be tempted to have Messianic spirit and insult the Owner of the kingdom. What we ought to do is to do our best and leave to Him what we cannot do.

God is not a Master who watches us from a distance but an active participant in the building of His kingdom. First Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are God’s fellow workers…” Philippians 2:13 also says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

There are times we become weary with delay in the delivery of God’s promises, which will help in the advancement of His kingdom on earth. But we must remember that He always has a million plus ways to deliver the things we have expected Him to deliver for the benefit of the ministry He has entrusted to us. What is important is that we are living and serving Him within His will. And God, in His perfect time, will manifest to us the fulfillment of His promises for His glory.

3. Never lose guard

No one is immune from any temptation. Everyone, even those who look strong and mature can lose a single moment of test of character. Such was the test Gideon’s army undertook, from which only 300 passed out of 32,000 (Judges 7). Gideon’s valiant three hundred were not afraid to face the battle against the Midianites and did not drink like dogs when they were brought down to the river. Their courage and subtlety shined as they were tested, proving their preparedness for the battle.

We must always stay on guard since what will disqualify a Christian from service is the lack of discretion or discernment whenever temptation gets in the way. Saint Peter was right when he said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

And when we say stay on guard, it means to watch our heart and its motives. It means not to allow the spirit of envy, jealousy, division, strife, greed and the likes to enter our hearts while serving God. All the more, we must heed His warning in Jeremiah 48:10a that says, “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.”

4. Follow “doormat” principle

“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). God’s philosophy in His kingdom has always been focused on humility and servanthood. Not only did He speak about it. He demonstrated it. The Lord Jesus washed the disciples’ dirty feet in one celebration of the Passover Feast, few hours before they betrayed Him. It was so humbling to see the Lord serving His disciples when He in heaven commands His hosts of angels.

And surely, nothing can equal His supreme servanthood shown through His death. As He affirmed, “…whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28).

We must be willing to be the least of all the servants of God. We should serve like doormats, not lording over God’s flock and our fellow believer (1 Peter 5:3). As St. Paul puts it, “…through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

In order for God to live in us, we should be dead to ourselves. In order for us to obey His perfect will for our lives, we should make Jesus our Lord. There is a big difference in calling and making Him our Lord. The first may just be a lip service while the latter requires a higher cost. We should learn to step down from the personal throne of our ambition and selfish desires for the Lord Jesus to take complete control of our lives. As writer Oswald Chambers puts it, “Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.”

The Apostle Paul distinctly described self-denial in Galatians 2:20. It says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Death to ourselves simply means giving over to God the right to ourselves insomuch that God’s absolute will may prevail over our lives.

5. Remember the Judgment Seat of Christ

The quality of our service to God will be revealed in the day of reckoning. Second Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

We should remember that the day will come when all of our works will be drawn to the fire of testing and their quality will be revealed. Whether they are made of gold and silver, or of wood and hay, symbolically saying that our works may have been done in honesty, sincerity and integrity, or done in deceit, that we will know on the judgment day (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

Taking to heart that certain day will come, we should be cautious and conscious enough of the manner we serve God.

6. Daily desire refilling of the Holy Spirit

No one can truly serve God in a mighty way except when he is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. It is His power or anointing that makes a difference in our service, whether it is menial or spectacular.

Acts 1:8 still stands today. Its intensity in the missionary, evangelical or pastoral work is not diminished at all. It is the promise of God that we ought to covet not just always but daily. We cannot survive serving God in the midst of a crooked world without God’s power through the Holy Spirit.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Such a bigger task given to the Church indeed requires that all servants of God be filled with the Holy Spirit. Our daily communion with Him through prayer, worship and study of the Word should be kept intact so that we shall always be anchored on God’s power, making us prepared at all times in serving Him – in carrying out the Great Commission, in reaching the needy, in ministering to the believers, in making disciples of all nations (Mark 16:15-18; Matthew 28:19-20).

Conclusion

Serving the Lord is the noblest task a man can ever do. It is a good thing that God did not only save us but also gave us the privilege to serve Him. With all the given principles in Christian service, God only requires that we serve Him faithfully.

May He all find us faithful servants in His kingdom till the coming of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, so that He would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord!” (Matthew 25:23)

Asia, Arise! Your Time Has Come!

Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
November 2012 Edition

 

With the ongoing shifts in the socio-political and economic situation of nations around the world today, pundits and analysts are taking a curious second look at Asia. In August this year, a study by property giant Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank predicted that Asian economies will top the list of the world’s richest economies on a per capita basis by 2050. It also foretold that “multimillionaires in Asia will continue to outnumber those in North America and Western Europe by 2050.”

The good news is that the Philippines is riding on top of this new wave of seeming wealth transfer. According to renowned Deutsche Bank AG chief economist for Asia Michael Spencer, the Philippines has become the strongest economy in Asia, outclassing so-called tiger economies like Malaysia and Singapore. He also cited the country’s resiliency despite the global economic crisis that shook countries in Europe and the United States.

Alas!  Why Asia?  Why the Philippines?  Why now?

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, AKJV).

 

The LORD of Armies has taken an oath: “It will happen exactly as I’ve intended. It will turn out exactly as I’ve planned” (Isaiah 14:24, God’s WORD Translation).

In all things, we have to understand that the LORD has a timetable for every purpose and everything will be carried out exactly as He has intended.

* * * * *

New Living Translation Bible worded Matthew 24:14 this way: “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”

The promised “end” that will certainly come is the return of the LORD Jesus Christ as the King who will eternally rule and reign. But His coming again is dependent on an explicit condition: that the Good News about His Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it.

Here’s a reality check, however, from the late missionary Oswald J. Smith: “We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first.”

Alas!  Why Asia?  Why the Philippines?  Why now?

* * * * *

Researches on world evangelization particularly reveal the unsettling situation of missionary work in Asia.  Among the seven continents in the world, Asia is home to 50 countries that are all within the 10-40 Window.

The 10-40 Window, also known as The Resistant Belt, is the world’s most critical missionary field.  Nearly 4 billion people live here, including 90 percent of the world’s poorest of the poor. An estimated 1.6 billion of these people have never had the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ – not even once!  Moreover, of the four billion people who live in the 10/40 Window, 95% are unevangelized.

Witnessing the Christian Gospel in some of the countries in the 10/40 Window is also illegal and often results in imprisonment or death. Forty-five of the 50 worst countries in the world for persecution of Christians are likewise in this region.  And the most disturbing of all, majority of the world’s terrorist organizations are based here. (Data are lifted from www.joshuaproject.net and www.win1040.com.)

Alas!  Why Asia?  Why the Philippines?  Why now?

* * * * *

Hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches in Asia, the Asia for Christ Movement is heeding the voice of the LORD: “ASIA, ARISE! YOUR TIME HAS COME!”

Asia For Christ Movement (AFCM) is a global movement of covenanted servant-leaders who are committed to establish God’s Kingdom by fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission in Asia. It advocates the empowering and reforming of churches and the transforming of nations.

On 13-14 November 2012, 1PM- 9PM, the AFCM will hold its Asia For Christ MISSION Congress at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Philippines where delegates from all over Asia are expected to come.  Sponsored by the Philippines for Jesus Movement, the event aims to equip missionaries who will be commissioned and sent out to unreached Asian nations.  You may visit www.asiaforchrist.com for more information on the mission congress.

* * * * *

The LORD Jesus Himself testified: “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers” (Matthew 9:37).

You have a part in the missionary work of the LORD. Please pray for this gathering of end-time missionaries and harvesters of the LORD. Promote it to everyone you know, especially to those who have a heart for missions. And support, in any way you can, the missionary work of God in your churches.

We have to do it now.  We have to do it where we are.  We have to arise for Jesus. Our time has come. èas

BELIEVE IN THE GOD WHO KNOWS

Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
February 2012

“Oh, Lord GOD! You Yourself made the heavens and earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!”(Jeremiah 32:17, HCSB)

Has anything overtaken you in life lately that has made your head swell, your heart faint, and your faith stagger?  Regardless of the seeming impossibility of your situation, I want you to do something so simple, yet so significant – go outside on a cloudless night, look up at the sky, and meditate on the LORD’s awesome power it displays!

One author shared that there are an estimated mind-boggling 50,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe. Our own Milky Way galaxy is so gigantic that it would take 1,000 lifetimes traveling at the speed of light to cross it one time.  That’s 186,282 miles per second for 70,000 years (that’s 70,000 light years). Even a mathematician will probably find it hard to “do the math” in order to grasp the awesome power behind our universe! And then there remains, at least, an estimated 49,999,999,999 galaxies more!

Psalm 33:6 tells us that “The heavens were made by the word of the LORD, and all the stars, by the breath of His mouth.”

And as astounding as the astonishing numbers may be, the LORD “counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them” (Psalm 147:4).

Wait. Pause. Read that again. One more time. Let it sink into your mind and heart and soul.  The LORD knows not only how many stars there are, He knows WHO they are.

Dear one, what is it that torments your mind with worry?  What is it that troubles your heart with sorrow?  What is it that tempts your faith with fear?  Don’t you know that the LORD knows not only your situation, but also knows you all too well?  Indeed, even the hairs on your head have all been counted! (Matthew 10:30, also read Psalm 139)

Jeremiah 33:3 is the LORD’s open invitation to you: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Today, turn on to God.  Call upon Jesus (Acts 4:12). He has the Word of Life (John 6:68).  He is the Word of Life (John 1:1-4). And when you allow God to move in your life, you will know that there is nothing impossible for you to face and handle, because there is nothing impossible with God (Luke 1:37) who is greatly at work within you. Yes, you can do everything through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

The Lord Jesus Christ who was one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in creating all things, seen and unseen, is exhorting you: “Have faith in God! If you have faith in God and don’t doubt, you can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. Everything you ask for in prayer will be yours, if you only have faith” (Mark 11:22-24).

Do what the LORD wants, and He will give you your heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4).  He will renew your life and lead you along the right path, for His name’s sake.  And even when you go through the darkest valley, you will fear no danger for the LORD will be with you to protect and comfort you (Psalm 23:3-4).

Believe in the God who knows you. “Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in Me” (John 14:1).

BLESSINGS OF A FATHER

Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
June 2011 Edition

 

 

 

The greeting cards are out – so are the shirts, the mugs, the posters, the caps, the key chains that honor the “World’s Greatest Dad!” Yes. It’s that time of the year again when a father feels great to be one.

 

This year’s Father’s Day celebration is an especially poignant occasion for me because this year also marks my 40 blessed and blissful wedded years to my better half, Dory.  It is because of my loving wife that I share with the rest of the world the joy of being a father.  Surely, I know of no greater joy than receiving from our gracious Abba, our wondrous Lord the blessing of my four beloved children, my heritage and great reward (Psalms 127:3-5 ESV).

 

 

My 39 years of fatherhood has taught me that it is one serious business. Unlike an ordinary day job that runs from 8am-5pm, fatherhood is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week commitment – with guaranteed NO sick leaves.  And now that I am a delightfully happy grandpa too, I have never stopped being a father to my grandchildren’s parents.  Essentially, therefore, a father is into it for life.

 

While fatherhood may be a daunting task, fathers are not without help and an example to follow.  Our Lord Jesus Himself pointed us to “Our Father in heaven” in Whom we may always call.

 

Matthew 6 does not only point us to the “how” of praying, it also introduces us to the loving Father who is always available to come to our aid.

 

Give us today our daily bread.  Our Heavenly Father provides.  The Maker of heaven and earth is mindful of His children. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

 

 

 

On the flipside, this is a good reminder to earthly fathers too. With the gift of children comes the responsibility to provide for them also.  And the very impetus that should propel us to work is our very love for our family. As we work to provide for them, we must not neglect to look after them. One without the other is not enough.

 

 

 

Forgive us our debts.  Our Heavenly Father loves unconditionally. He forgives us of our sins that we may have the grace to forgive those who sin against us. His love that is abounding in us makes us do the right things, even the difficult ones.

 

 

 

As hard as fathers try to keep our children on safe ground however, there will inevitably be forks and bumps on the road that may keep our children off their track.  What do we do when they get astray, stumble and fall?  We do not cast them off. Like the loving Father of the prodigal son, we patiently wait for their return and gladly welcome them back home (Luke 15:11-31).

 

 

 

We should not take it against ourselves when our children do things their way. They have their own freewill, hence they act on their own volition. The best that we can do for them is to lead them and guide them in the way they should go, and pray that they won’t depart from it when they grow up (Proverbs 22:6).  When they get their hearts broken because of their wrong choices and decisions, we must be there to pick up the pieces and help them stand on solid ground once more.

 

 

 

Lead us not into temptation. Our Heavenly Father guides. He is a Shepherd who guides His people as His flock and leads them to safe and rich pastures (Psalm 23). His plans and purposes for His children are all for good (Jeremiah 29:11).

 

 

 

As earthly fathers, we must take it upon ourselves to make sure that the example we leave our children is worth imitating.  Out of the good comes the good.  When we keep this as a standard for our daily living, we can rest assured that we are raising up generations of godly children after us.

 

 

 

Deliver us from the evil one.  Our Heavenly Father protects. He is “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation”(Psalm 68:5). “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble. The LORD protects and preserves them — they are counted among the blessed in the land — he does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness” (Psalm 41:1-3).

 

 

As surely as we have a Heavenly Father who is protective of His children, earthly fathers must always be the family’s chief protector too. Our authority in the family is delegated to us to guarantee that our family is safe at all times. It must run counter to our nature to use our authority to do anything that will hurt our wife and children. We keep them from evil. We do them no harm.

 

Fatherhood is a gift. While it is vested with many blessings, it is also coupled with many responsibilities.  I pray for all the earthly fathers, may we be found faithful stewards of this God-given opportunity to become to our family as He is to us.

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day, Abba!  Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads all over the world!

CHRISTMAS: THE FATHER’S LOVE REVEALED

Friends Magazine Hong Kong
By Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
December 2011 Edition

 

It is that time of the year again when the whole world joyfully celebrates the birth of the Messiah, the Son born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23) on Whose shoulders government rests (Isaiah 9:6) and in Whose Name alone salvation is found (Acts 4:12).

Revealed in John 3:16 is the Author of this beautiful story of love, sacrifice, and redemption. He is the Heavenly Father who “… loved the world this way: He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not die but will have eternal life.”

To show just how much the Father loves us, here is an inspiring Father’s Love Letter by Bryan Adams that has been touching lives since 1999.

 

My Child…
You may not know Me, but I know everything about you (Psalm 139:1).
I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139:2).
I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3).
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31).
For you were made in My image (Genesis 1:27).
In Me, you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28).
For you are My offspring (Acts 17:28).
I knew you even before you were conceived (Jeremiah 1:4-5).
I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12).
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in My Book (Psalm 139:15-16).
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live (Acts 17:26).
You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).
And brought you forth on the day you were born (Psalm 71:6).
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know Me (John 8:41-44).
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love (1 John 4:16).
And it is My desire to lavish My love on you (1 John 3:1).
Simply because you are My child and I am your Father (1 John 3:1).
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11).
For I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48).
Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand (James 1:17).
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33).
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Because I love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalms 139:17-18).
And I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40).
For you are My treasured possession (Exodus 19:5).
I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul (Jeremiah 32:41).
And I want to show you great and marvelous things (Jeremiah 33:3).
If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me (Deuteronomy 4:29).
Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
For it is I who gave you those desires (Philippians 2:13).
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
For I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you (Psalm 34:18).
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart (Isaiah 40:11).
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:3-4).
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21:3-4).
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love My Son, Jesus (John 17:23).
For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed (John 17:26).
He is the exact representation of My being (Hebrews 1:3).
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31).
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
His death was the ultimate expression of My love for you (1 John 4:10).
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love (Romans 8:31-32).
If you receive the gift of My Son Jesus, you receive Me (1 John 2:23).
And nothing will ever separate you from My love again (Romans 8:38-39).
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen (Luke 15:7).
I have always been Father, and will always be Father (Ephesians 3:14-15).
My question is, Will you be My child? (John 1:12-13)
I am waiting for you (Luke 15:11-32)

Love,
Your Dad
The Almighty Go
d

 

More than the gifts, the carols, and the trimmings, let’s make sure we have the greatest gift for which the Father sent His only Son in the flesh – that is eternal life for everyone who will believe in the Father’s Son (John 3:36).

The greatest and noblest achievement of a man is to personally know his Creator truthfully, to love Him passionately and wholeheartedly, and to serve Him faithfully with integrity and excellence until he stands before Him on judgment day.

I wish you CHRIST this Christmas!