Showing posts with label Evangelism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evangelism. Show all posts

Philippines Beach Missions 2012

Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands. (Isaiah 42:12)

Every year, a group of college students and graduates come together to proclaim Jesus in one of the many beaches of the archipelago. For two years now, the Philippines Beach Missions team has been sharing Jesus in the shores of Zambales with the help of a local church partner from the area.

I've joined the BM Trip from year one in 2011 and with the coming of the summer heat, I once more cleared my schedule for the second year of the mission.Two groups make up the BM Team, each spending one week at a time in the chosen mission field. Previously, I was with group two; I chose to join group one this year.

The Beach Missions takes to heart Jesus' words to Peter and Andrew, "I will make you fishers of men." Throughout the trip, we manned the coastline talking to beach-goers and locals alike. We went to where the "fish" were and spoke to them about the gift of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

Like the first-century apostles, our schedule and program were very fluid and truly Spirit-led. Depending on the number of people, we would do either one-on-one Gospel-sharing, or hold simple beach games for a large group before grabbing the opportunity to talk about Jesus.

Armed with a rope for a game of tug-of-war and a colorful ball for a round of beach basketball, we would gather the people swimming around and build rapport with them. Until now, I thank God for making Filipinos inquisitive and fun-loving. Who would have thought that these simple games would allow us to connect with the people in a very non-threatening way?

The games lasted around 10 to 15 minutes, after which we would call the children and teens to the shore to help us bury several of the team members in the sand. Kuya Dave gets this role often because he's larger than any of us and  burying him gives the precious minutes needed to share the Gospel.

We accomplished this using the soccer ball which was painted by Jeremy with the colors of the Wordless Book -- gold or yellow, black, red, white and green. While the children and teens buried Kuya Dave in the sand, one team member explained the colors, climaxing with the death of Jesus with the color red.

This year, Kuya Raf, one of the InterVarsity staff members, shared Noah's story with the children before presenting the colorful ball.

Often after the large-group presentation, we broke into smaller groups to further explain the message of the Gospel. I noticed that it was good to repeat the meaning of the colors and to engage the listeners by encouraging them to memorize the key words for each color. We then left them with a woven bracelet which also bore the five colors of the ball. This is a reminder of the Gospel and a constant challenge for them to consider the message and to respond to the call of faith in Jesus.

There were times when we were privileged to pray for the people we spoke to. In my case, there was one particular lady who was resistant to the Good News. We tried to explain what the Bible says about salvation in Jesus, but she would not yield to it. Even if she refused to believe, however, we still asked for prayer requests. Praise God because her face lightened with the offer. We prayed for her concerns, but more importantly Queen and I prayed for her salvation when we were already discussing the encounter.

The incident reminded me again that salvation of people is not in our hands. We may be able to share passionately, creatively, charismatically or dramatically but without the power of the Holy Spirit touching people's hearts, transformation will not happen. Our duty is to share faithfully, God gives the increase.

God dealt with one of my biggest fears in evangelism during the trip-- approaching a large group alone. He allowed me to share to at least two large groups even if I was so terrified of doing so. Incidentally, most of those in the groups were students so I felt very comfortable because my ministry is campus-based and I regularly worked with students of all ages.

Even if I wasn't very well during the trip because of flu and a back ache, I really felt God giving me the energy to keep on sharing. I preferred staying dry because of my condition, but even on the shore and the cottages the Lord gave me several opportunities to share His Son.

The people were very receptive. Several even said they remembered us from last year's missions trip. But even so, they still wanted to hear the Gospel. I sometimes wonder how many times should we share the message before they understand it, or more importantly before they put their faith in Christ. This is clearly out of our hands. It is simply a joy for me to be used to scatter seeds of Truth or water seedlings while trusting God's perfect timing.

Sadly for this trip I had to leave halfway-through because my flu worsened. I joined Kuya Dave on his way back to Manila. I wanted to finish the trip but my body was telling me to rest. Even if I left earlier, however, I continued ministering to the people of Pundaquit in prayer, supporting my teammates through intercession.

It was another tiring trip but spiritually fulfilling! To God be all the glory!

Jesus is the Savior, but how can we be saved?

We know that Jesus Christ came down to earth to save sinners (1Timothy 1:15)*. However, many of us do not know how we can be saved.

This is what the Apostle Paul said,"You have been saved by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And this not from yourselves not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9).

We are not saved because of our good works. If that were so, we could boast. We have nothing to be proud of in front of God because according to the prophet Isaiah, our good works are like dirty rags in the light of God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6)*.

We are saved because God is gracious. He is compassionate, loving and forgiving. He saves through grace, which he gives freely. But, to be saved, we have to believe in Christ. What does this mean?


First, we must know who Christ is. He is the Word which existed from the very beginning, even before the world was made. The Word was with God and the Word was God (John1:1)*. The Word became flesh and he lived with us (John 1:14)*. God who cannot be seen was seen through His Son (John 1:18; Colossians 1:15)*. To believe in Christ is to know who He is. This is the first part of faith

Second, to believe in Christ is to trust Him as the only Savior. We trust no one else to save us, only Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for our sins.  Not religion, not our church, not holy people, not our good works. Only Jesus.

Third, to believe in Jesus is to submit to Him. Jesus the Savior is Jesus the Lord. A big part of this belief is to turn away from sin and submit to Jesus as King or Lord of our lives. The root of sin is to live selfishly, according  to our desires. But to believe in Jesus is to tell Him: Your WILL shall reign in my life!


Have you responded to Jesus and placed your faith in Him? Right now, you can respond to Jesus and trust Him completely. Pray to Him like this:

“Lord Jesus, thank you for your 
great love for me that you paid for 
my sins at Calvary. I acknowledge 
you as my God who became man 
to save the world.  I believe that 
you are the Savior and Lord of   
my life.  I turn my back on my sin.   
Forgive me and come into my 
heart and life. Amen.” 

It is not the prayer that saves you but your faith in Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. If you are genuinely saved, you will see transformation in your life. As a new creation, you should bear fruit of good works for the glory of God.

But know that at that very moment you respond to Jesus-- putting your trust in Him and turning away from a life of sin-- you are given the assurance of eternal life with God. Nothing can separate you from God. If you are genuinely saved, you remain genuinely saved, a son or daughter of God. 


* Passages quoted from the Bible

1 Timothy 1:15  "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst."

Isaiah 64:6a "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags..."

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known."

Colossians 1:15 " He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation"

This article was originally written by Pastor Isabelo Magalit of the Diliman Campus Bible Church with additions by the owner of this blog.

The Gospel is for Everyone

The Gospel is for everyone. This is a lesson I learned and continue to learn the hard way. We do not choose who to share it to; but our attitude should be like that of the apostles Peter and John who said “we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).”

During the Missions Exposure Trip in Catanauan, God taught me to face this reality through the most unexpected people. I was sharing the Gospel to a friendly-looking teen on the shore when an old man who was evidently drunk called my attention.

Totoy,” he barked,“Why don’t you come here and share what you’re teaching about God to us? We also want to listen.”

I turned my head and felt that I would rather not. I figured from my past Missions Trip experiences that drunken men weren’t the best people to share the Gospel to. I paused for what felt like eternity until finally, I wheeled reluctantly to where they were.

I sat and talked with them—around five if I remember right—for two whole hours. There were moments I felt giving up because our conversation was going in circles. But I held on and shared what I could of the Gospel because I sensed that they were really asking genuine questions.

I couldn’t forget the realization of one of the men when I started talking about the sinfulness of humanity. I shared that the Bible teaches that all have sinned and there is no way a person can cleanse himself of sin. Furthermore, unless this sin is removed, no one can enter God’s kingdom.

The man who called was jolted back to his senses and exclaimed, “You mean if I can’t cleanse my sin, when I die, I will go to hell? But there’s no way to cleanse sin!”

At that moment I tried my best to emphasize Jesus’ death on the cross as God’s means of cleansing sin, and faith and repentance as a person’s proper response to this gift. I don’t know if they understood it or if they believed it, but my joy is in the fact that they grasped the concept of sin and its punishment. I know that God will meet them where they are now.

I said my goodbye after praying for them when God gave me another surprise. One of the men approached me and asked, “Could you pray for me? I have a sin which I couldn’t lift up to God.” I was moved with compassion. Explaining that God alone forgives sins and I was only His instrument, I prayed for him, asking that God would help him know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

After the experience, I paused and asked God to forgive me for being choosy in sharing His Gospel. Had the man not called me, there would have been no way for me to share the Gospel to them. Now I know firsthand what it means to share the Gospel to all creation. And my prayer is that God would enable me to do so.

Urgency of sharing the Gospel: My reflection and summary

The urgency to share the Gospel is a reality in light of life’s unpredictability. God’s Word is clear; anyone who does not turn from sin to God through repentance and faith has no chance of ever being in His presence at the appointed time.

But because we do not know each person’s lifespan or the exact day of Jesus’ Second Coming, complacency has no room in the Great Commission.

These truths are behind DCF’s decision to hold a series on Evangelism in its General Assemblies throughout the semester. There is a longing for each member to actively share the Gospel to their friends and dormmates. This means living out one’s Christianity, being sensitive to Gospel openings brought by the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaiming the Good News to all creation.

This August, Kuya Caloy Novisteros kicked off the series with his challenge to evaluate one’s evangelism in light of Scripture. There is a need today to ensure that the message we preach and the methods we use adhere to the examples and teachings of the Bible.

The danger of the fast food culture is the unhealthy emphasis on increasing the number of “believers” in as short a time as possible. Using numbers as a measure for ministry success unwittingly attracts evangelists to “easy believism,” “decisionism” in evangelism, prosperity and man-centered gospels.

To safeguard our message and motives, Kuya Caloy gave six points which can guide us young ambassadors of the Good News.

1. We must have the right passion

If we are not truly concerned for the lost, we will never be effective evangelists. Paul has set the example. He went from town to town preaching salvation in Jesus because he loved his fellow Jews and even the Gentiles. Paul is so dedicated in his mission that he even wrote, “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel (1 Cor 9:16).”

The founder of the Overseas Missionaries Fellowship, Hudson Taylor, also exhibited this passion. His heart cried out for China and her people that he started the China Inland Mission despite the persecutions and challenges he had faced.

Both of these men’s passion for the lost comes from knowing and discovering God more and more. And if we lack such, pray that the Lord will give us the burden for the lost. Kuya Caloy said this is one prayer God truly answers.

2. We must have the right priority

In Acts 15:36, we read about Paul expressing his desire to go back and visit the churches that they have planted. He wanted to ensure that the young Christians there receive proper nourishment from the Word. His priority was to build up the believers that they may mature in faith by the Word of God.

3. Right Personnel

God doesn’t call the equipped. Instead, HE equips those whom He calls. One can never be prepared enough for ministry apart from the grace of God. And the key characteristics that one should possess include obedience, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and dependence on God.

Take Jesus’ Apostles for example. They were in various stages of unpreparedness from the most unqualified backgrounds, but God molded them to become His Gospel Messengers throughout the known world of their time.

4. Right precaution

We are not just preaching the Gospel in thin air but to people with different cultures and background. We need to be aware of these things to effectively convey the Message, preventing unpleasant incidents for the evangelists.

When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, for example, they healed a man lame from birth as a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, something they usually do with the Jews.

Sadly, however, their audience that time was mostly Gentiles who believed in Greek mythology. The healing and preaching sent the wrong message to the people that the two apostles were Hermes and Zeus who have come to visit them.

When we preach the Gospel, we have to be sensitive to our audience’s needs and backgrounds for us to know the best ways of presenting the Gospel.

5. We need the right presentation

Needless to say, salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. We do not smuggle in foreign teachings like health, wealth and prosperity promises just to entice people. We preach Jesus and not our churches or organizations.

We also do not put our faith in any method or strategy except on the power of God’s Word to convict people of sin, and the Holy Spirit in drawing them to God.

We can browse through the book of Acts to find examples of Gospel preaching by the Apostles. Most notable perhaps are Acts 2:14-41 and Acts 17:22-31. Learn from them.

6. They were in the right place

In Acts 16:7, we discover Paul’s overall director in his missionary journeys—the Holy Spirit. God was leading him to places where He wanted him to be, and he was sensitive enough to realize this.

God opens doors and closes windows. He prevents and allows. We just have to be discerning enough so that we can always keep step with the Spirit’s pace. Let us also pray for obedience that we may always yield to His desires.

These are but some principles to remember in evangelism. Ultimately, however, we rely on God who transforms people by the power of the Holy Spirit.

DCF Joins Oplan UPCAT: A preparation for harvest

Members of the Dormitories Christian Fellowship (UPDCF) partnered with over 20 Bible-believing churches and Christian organizations to share the Gospel during this year's UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) on August 6.

Stationed in the Public Administration and Labor and Industrial Relations testing centers, DCFers gave out Gospel tracts and packed snacks to both parents and UPCAT takers. They also offered prayers for those taking the exams.

These kind gestures opened the opportunity for spiritual conversations and full Gospel presentations. Parents who were waiting for their children were mostly the ones who entertained the volunteers.

"Because of the occasion, parents and guardians were very receptive to Gospel presentations. I personally found it easier to share the Gospel," said Maynard Pastoril, an alumnus of Ipil Christian Fellowship.

to strangers.

The team also set up several "service tents" complete with monoblock chairs which they opened to waiting guardians. The tents gave them shade from the sun around noon and a drizzle late in the day. They also distributed free Christian magazines and devotionals to the people in the tents.

"It's a great honor and privilege to serve the Lord of lords and King of kings and joy to offer saved souls to Him," said Gay Arabit, the current corehead of the Kamia Christian Fellowship.

Kazel Duran, another DCFer who joined added, "The sight of Christians in the campus and in different churches working together is empowering. Their differences did not hinder the Holy Spirit to guide them to minister to their neighbors. I had joy serving God together with my brothers and sisters in Christ."

Two batches manned the testing centers-- one early in the morning and the second in the afternoon. Several lay people from the Greenhills Christian Fellowship Marikina helped out in the area."

The UP Christian Community initiated Oplan UPCAT the previous year. This year, however, the movement was spearheaded by the Church of the Risen Lord (CRL) after seeing the potential gospel reach of the project. Through the church network, several local congregations in and around UP were tapped to help. Eight Christian Organizations and 13 churches worked together in the event.

Do not keep it for yourself

(Matthew 9:35-38)
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

I am troubled by our apparent lack of zeal to reach out to people. I have heard so many reasons and excuses that discourage me and, to some extent, appall me.

I often wonder what can move us to really go to people and be intentional Christians, never lacking in zeal to proclaim Jesus Christ and what He has done for humanity?

I am tempted to tell stories of missionaries, preachers and evangelists who went out of their way to fish for souls, but I need not venture that far. Jesus, our Lord Himself, went to people. He was with the high and mighty as well as the low and powerless always preaching, teaching, healing and directing people’s eyes to the Living God.

He taught a learned religious leader  about the kingdom of God (John 3:1-2). He broke centuries-old tradition and enmity by talking to a Samaritan woman  about the Living Water (John 4:1-42). He dined with tax collectors and “sinners” , the scum of society, that they may be healed by the Great Physician (Matthew 9:9-13). And even on the cross, Jesus spoke to a dying criminal , promising him paradise be-cause of his change of heart (Luke 23:40-43).

Jesus went to where people were—to towns and villages—because everyone is precious to Him. People needed to hear the “good news of the kingdom (v.35)” because “faith comes from hearing the message… (Rom 10:17).”

Paul emphatically wrote, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14-15)”

Though God can use anything to draw people to Himself—dreams, visions, circumstances—this is not a license for us believers to keep quiet. Jesus intentionally went to where people gathered like in synagogues to teach and preach.

My Pansol Experience

Waiting in line

I noticed him looking at me from the corner of my eyes. He held a cane with his left hand as he sat alone on the foundation of one of the iron pillars of the covered court. His hair had turned gray with age, and his face was lined with wrinkles.

He seemed detached from the world around him. The noisy teens playing basketball and the sweltering environment did not affect him the least. He was still and quiet but had a piercing glance.

The first time I passed by Lolo Elias, I felt a tug in my heart. I had been scanning the area earlier for bystanders who might have the time to listen to the Gospel. So far I could not find the perfect person because everyone was on the move.

The teens were playing in the court. The mothers were busy chatting near the Sangguniang Kabataan Hall, waiting with their sons who enlisted in the free circumcision program of our church. “If only I could muster enough courage to share to a big group,” I thought to myself.

I tried sharing to the boys waiting in line but they were not in the mood to listen to spiritual talks. My guess is they are nervous of the operation.

This brought me to the covered court, looking for someone to talk to. I walked past Lolo Elias the first time as I went for a drink at Ate Linette’s house. When I came back, he was still there talking to no one and sitting as still as he was the first time I saw him.

This time, however, I could no longer resist the tug in my heart. As I approached Lolo Elias, I could feel the familiar pounding starting to grip my chest. I don’t deny that I’m afraid of witnessing to strangers, but when I feel like not doing it, I remember the Great Commission and how Jesus left us with the privilege to “go and make disciples of all nations…”

After uttering a shot prayer, I sat beside him and said, “Lolo, I’m giving away free reading materials from our church. Do you have time to read?”

“My eyes can no longer read,” he said, “In fact, my left eye has gone blind.”

“Do you have cataract lolo?” I inquired.

“No. This is not just cataract. The doctors said it’s caused by something else,” Lolo Elias added.

At this point, the Lord gave me an opening to share the Gospel. Because he might not be able to read the tract I was giving out, I offered to tell Lolo Elias the story of Jesus’ gift of salvation to which he agreed.

“Are you familiar with the story of Jesus?” I opened.

“I’m already old and  I’ve forgotten many things,” came Lolo Elias’ answer.

This took me aback because I had never personally met a person who didn’t know the story of Jesus.

“God came as a man in Jesus Christ to die as a sacrifice for our sins,” I continued, “Because all men are sinful, we are supposed to die as punishment for our sins. But in God’s grace and love, He took the punishment upon Himself, giving us the gift of eternal life instead.”

I paused and waited for any response. In my heart I’m not sure if Lolo Elias understood what I said. Aside from failing eyesight, he also could no longer hear well. After a minute or two of silence, I continued my explanation.

“Jesus is giving us the gift of salvation, of forgiveness of sins and cleansing for free. We receive it by putting our faith in Him.”

At this point, I’m not really sure if he heard what I said. I wanted to continue explaining but I felt that he would be able to understand the Gospel better if he could find time to read the tract I was giving him. I pulled a copy of the Gospel of John from my bag. I inserted the tract and gave it to Lolo Elias.

Lolo, if you have time, you can review what I said about Jesus in this tract. You can also ask your grandchildren to read this booklet for you. It’s the Gospel of John and it tells us the story of Jesus’ life,” I said.

I bid Lolo Elias farewell and in my heart I prayed that the Lord would supply what was lacking in what I shared. I wanted to be able to follow him up, and so I agreed to come in the post-circumcision check up next week, praying that God will give me the chance to meet Lolo Elias one more time.


That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

My Faith Story: How I came to know Christ

There are many stories of men and women who came to know Christ in their darkest and most desperate moments. Some were struggling with drugs, dire poverty, prostitution, gambling, sickness or tragedy among others.

A number of stories included supernatural and miraculous events. The Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is one of the more famous examples. While travelling towards the city to continue his persecution of Christians, Jesus Himself met him with these powerful words, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?”

I write these in contrast with my own story—where I was before I came to Christ and the manner by which He drew me to Himself.

I lived a good life, went to a good school and grew up in a loving family. We were sheltered, fed, clothed and taken cared of by our parents and by our grandparents, uncles and aunts on both sides. Such is the blessing of an extended family.

From the world’s standard, we were religious and devout but tolerant to other faiths. When I was a child, we went to mass early every Sunday. I experienced serving as a sacristan, a passage reader and a commentator for our school mass. I often wrote and delivered the introduction of the religious program being among the top writers and orators of our school.

We were steeped with church traditions like the rosary, “padasal" (prayer vigils), “libot” (religious processions), “atang” (offerings), icons and the like. But interspersed with these was a mixture of superstitious and eastern beliefs in luck, astrology, and feng shui among others.

In the eyes of my teachers and classmates, I was a good student, responsible and trustworthy. My mother is a college instructor and she instilled in me the love for learning early on.

My passion for writing began when an English teacher noticed my potential. I actually owe it to my sister who, during that time, was already being trained as writer for our campus paper. I was also recruited and trained. I ended up becoming the editor-in-chief in my final years in elementary and high school.

Campus politics was also my turf. I actively joined the student government and experienced many leadership roles in the classroom and the school as a whole. During my senior year in high school, I ran and won as the Student Body president while serving as EIC for our official organ. I was also recruited in our school’s debate club and became a frontline debater, graduating with a perfect record of wins. I had to muster all my time management skills in order to juggle these extra-curricular activities with my academic load.

But I was never left behind in class as well. I took my studies seriously, always competing to be on top. All the hard work paid off when I graduated valedictorian in elementary and in high school.

My life, then, revolved around my studies, contests, achievements, grades, fame and image. Even now as I remember all these, I pray to God to make me humble because all these years of praise, admiration and commendation from my friends, teachers and family made me puff with pride, conceit and selfishness. I looked highly on my self and looked down on others.

Though I was popular in school, I never noticed how my academics eroded my relationship with my parents and family. I was always busy with requirements. I studied even on weekends and rarely went out to play or hang out with friends. I would miss family reunions and gatherings to finish an essay or to review for an exam. Even if I’m physically present, I would be consumed by a book I’m reading and be very irritable.

I never realized this because I thought the honor I’m giving my father and mother was enough. In my heart I felt that by doing my best in school, I would be repaying them for their love and sacrifices to give me good education. Though I was a writer, I wasn’t expressive with my family. Statements like “I love you,” “Thank you,” “I miss you,” and “Take care” were rarely heard in our home.

With a proud heart drowned by all my achievements, I felt that I never really needed God except when I prayed to Him to help me get a perfect score in the exam or to win in a contest. I never doubted His existence, but I treated Him only like a genie or a talisman. Though I went to mass, prayed and even taught catechism, I never really had a genuine relationship with Him. I had faith, yes, but only intellectual assent. Why did I believe in God? Because I was taught to believe in Him. What else was there to do? I did not dare question His existence for fear that my religion teacher would flunk me in her subject.

But even during this time, I had some doubts on what we were being taught, especially on the worship of images and statues. This was compounded by my discovery that the 10 Commandments I knew actually lacked one when compared to what is written the Bible (Exodus 20:1-17). Incidentally, the missing commandment had to do with worshipping idols and statues.

I kept this doubt to my self and never really gave it a thought.

Though I was immersed in my academic pursuit, I could remember how God allowed a girl to break my heart to get me interested in the Catholic group, “Youth for Christ.” I was looking for activities to divert my attention when a long-time friend invited me to one of their camps. Though I never heard the Good News during the camp, I still praise God because looking back, it was during this camp that I was introduced to contemporary Christian songs. It was my first time to hear the music of Hillsong and I grew fond of them. This became a bridge for my future involvement with Christian groups in college.

I took the UPCAT and passed. I entered the University of the Philippines Diliman where I took up BA Journalism. It was during college when I heard the Good News of Salvation, but it took time before I accepted Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

As in high school, I was consumed by academics in college. I even promised myself that I would graduate Summa cum Laude, enter GMA7 or the Philippine Daily Inquirer, be a famous journalist and finally win a Pulitzer Award or a Nobel Prize for my works. It seemed that I had planned my life perfectly. I had a great goal. But I did not expect that God had prepared something greater for His glory.

My older sister also passed UPCAT, and unknown to me, she heard the Gospel and placed her faith in Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. Long before I entered UP, she had asked her friends and church-mates to pray for my salvation. She was very persistent and invited me often to join a fellowship while I was still in the Kalayaan Residence Hall.

At first I was reluctant to join any event because I thought my sister got involved in some weird, “cultic” religion in UP. In fact, the first time she shared the Good News of Jesus to me, we ended up debating. I could not accept that the salvation of my soul was by grace through faith in Jesus alone and not by the good things I have done. At the same time I didn’t want to be involved in any of their activities for fear of expulsion from YFC.

My sister did not give up on me. During the first meeting of the Kalayaan Christian Fellowship, she invited me to join. She told me that if I felt like leaving anytime during the fellowship, I could approach her and she would accompany me back to the dorm. I was really reluctant to join but because I could not come up with a fool-proof alibi, I decided to just give it a try.

I attended the fellowship and the first thing that struck me was the praise and worship. I was attracted to the songs and the manner of worship. I thought to myself, “It wasn’t too bad after all. At least I get to enjoy the songs.”

I also listened to the message and even took down notes. For the first few meetings, however, I felt like nothing was different with the teachings. They prayed to the same God, preached the same Jesus and did not attack the teachings of the Catholic Church. Slowly I felt comfortable with the group and kept coming back to join in the singing and to listen to the preaching.

However, I was absent on the night when the fellowship discussed how one can become a Christian, so I once more failed to understand the meaning of Jesus' death on the cross.  I could no longer recall why I did not attend that night, but chances were I was finishing a requirement or reviewing for an exam. So I wasn’t able to hear the message of salvation, but I continued to attend, to learn new songs, gain new friends and listen to wonderful teachings.

Though I wasn’t able to hear the Gospel in the fellowship, I praise God because He used a fellow KalCFer to share it to me. One afternoon, just being curious about the difference of a Christian and a Catholic, I blurted out to a Baptist friend, “What exactly differentiates you from us, Catholics?”

Right there and then, he pulled a booklet entitled “Four Spiritual Laws” and shared the the Good News of Jesus Christ to me. He emphasized that one major difference was on the teaching on salvation. He contended that the Bible taught that salvation is wholly by the grace of God that enables us to put our faith in Jesus and to turn from a life of sin through repentance. That good works are not a prerequisite but a product of salvation.

He said that Jesus died on the cross as our substitute. I am the one supposed to be punished with death, not just physical but also spiritual, because I am guilty of sin. This meant that I must be cast out from the Lord's presence because of the sin and the sin nature in me. This is God's justice because being holy and sinless, He cannot tolerate sin or leave it unpunished.

But in His love, God gave Jesus to take up our punishment on the cross. Jesus was the only perfect and sufficient substitute because He is the only sinless person who lived on earth. This is true because He is God in human flesh. When He shouted on the cross, "It is finished!" He meant that all the sins of God's people are forgiven-- past, present and future.

What is left for us to do is to believe and trust in what Jesus did as Savior, surrender to Him as Lord and turn from a life of sin through repentance for us to receive eternal life and forgiveness of sins. And we can do these things only by God's grace, nothing more.

Though I had heard it before from my sister, I got more interested with the message because I understood that a Christian still does good works. By explaining that they were products, it dawned on me that having faith in Jesus didn’t mean being passive and doing nothing but believing. Instead, Christians are saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone for a life of good works for the glory of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Having heard about this, I reconsidered my stand and became more interested with the topic. I prayed the prayer of acceptance after our conversation, but I felt that it was still a hollow prayer because I wasn’t willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ. My acads, my pride, lust and my self were still the gods of my life.

Throughout my first year in college, I got really involved with KalCF. It even reached a point where I had three Bible Studies in a week, apart from my fellowship every Thursday. Of course, I tried hard to evade because my priorities were different and God wasn’t really the center of my life yet. But still, I praise the Lord because He used many Ates and Kuyas to minister to me. I had BS leaders who satisfied my intellectual curiosity and friends who stayed beside me and comforted me in lonely times.

This set up continued on for many months. I would attend the fellowship, go to my Bible Studies and then get consumed by the world all over again. It was becoming monotonous and boring. But what ultimately changed my attitude? It’s difficult to explain, I believe it could not even be explained because this is my personal experience of God's grace.

During one camp in my second year, God convicted me to finally face the issues and questions raging inside me. I woke up very early one morning with an unexplained heaviness in my heart. I felt like a hypocrite because I knew that I had no relationship with Jesus but kept on joining fellowships as if I were a Christian.

I still tried to shrug off the feeling by going to sleep again, but when I woke up, God did not remove the heaviness in my heart. He even made it greater. With this, I had to finally confront myself saying, “If you truly want to follow Jesus, you have to give up all the other gods in your life. It can’t go on like this. Your faith in Christ is not just a lip service; it must become a reality in your life.”

With much difficulty, I submitted everything to Jesus. I asked Him to forgive me for being stubborn and for continuously cherishing sin despite hearing the demand of the Gospel several times. I was listening to Hillsong’s “Lead me to the Cross” while I prayed to God. With tears in my eyes, I submitted to Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord. I fully placed my faith and trust to Him.

All these happened early one morning. There was no bright light nor a miraculous voice nor thunder nor earthquake. There was just me and God’s Word. But now I know that the Holy Spirit was present too, convicting me of sin and giving me the grace to believe and accept Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

From that day on, I could honestly say that Jesus occupied the throne of my life. This did not mean, however, that I neglected my studies. Instead, Christ changed my perspective in many things. I continued to take my acads seriously but no longer for my glory. Instead, I offered all my achievements to God. I gave Him all the praises and the glory.

I worked hard in college and once more, God proved His grace when He allowed me to graduate Magna cum Laude and valedictorian of my batch. If I had not known Christ, I would have been beaming with self pride. But my greatest joy was in the opportunity He gave me to address my fellow graduates. I  did not hesitate but used the  occasion to share about Jesus and the free gift of salvation received by grace through faith alone.

As to my relationship with my family, God convicted me to be more loving to them. It was really a big shift but I committed to express my affection more in words and deeds. I praise God because He gave me the strength to change. Now I continue to include them in my prayers that they may also come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Looking back, I want to quote Philippians 3:7-11 to summarize my faith walk:

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

God bless you all!

I pray that my story ministered to you. I testify to the saving power of the cross of Jesus. My life is my proof and God is my witness. Maybe you also want to believe in Jesus, to turn from a life of sin, to be His son or daughter? I urge you to understand that Jesus died on the cross to pay the punishment of sin. There is no other way for you to be saved and forgiven apart from Him. If you believe this message and you know that Jesus alone can rescue you from a life of sin, know that God is working in you! He is giving you the grace to respond. Do not harden your heart, instead, surrender yourself to the one, true Savior-- Jesus Christ!

If you have placed your faith in Jesus or if you have any questions about the Good News of Christ, please let me know through a comment or a personal message in my email: It is an honor for me to help you more in your faith journey. To God be all the glory and praise!

A CHRISTmas Message

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace..." (Isaiah 9:6)

"So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others-- one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." (John 19:17-19)

"...when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them...the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!" (Luke 24:3-6)

No word can describe God's love. It is beyond our understanding. But the greatest expression is in the image of the invisible God-- Jesus Christ.

An Evangelistic Christmas Party in Infanta

With the Infanta pips
"Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" -(Matthew 9:38)

I remembered this verse as I spoke to students of the Southern Luzon State University in Infanta, Quezon. It was a small satellite campus with barely 600 students. But what's amazing with SLSU Infanta is the people's openness to the Gospel.

Living Word Christian Fellowship has reached out this campus just this year with Ate Tess as staff worker. Two years ago, the Dormitories' Christian Fellowship reached out to Infanta during its Missions Exposure Trip. The Lord has moved mightily since then.

LWCF now has a hut inside the campus where students gather for Bible Study and fellowship. Kuya Caloy said when they started the ministry, Ate Tess was reluctant and afraid. She said she could not do it on her own. There is truth in her words because without God, the ministry will not flourish. But what was initially fear turned to joy as the Lord added to the number of LWCFers in Infanta.

Evangelism through tracts

I walked around the Sunken Garden this afternoon, giving out tracts.
I pray that I will be bolder next time and be able to speak about Jesus and share about His love.

There was a challenging question posted by a friend a few days ago. "Do you have a regular personal evan activity?"

I couldn't say yes because to be honest, evangelism is not part of my system. I rarely share about Christ and I am not happy about it. It's easy to reason out that evangelism is not my gift but if I listen to Christ, this argument will not stand.

He said it plainly, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Another take on Salvation

Have you ever heard the statement, “Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins?”

Did you ever ask, “What danger was there to sin that one needed to be saved from it?”

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23).” The danger of sin is in its consequence—eternal spiritual death, eternal separation from God and eternal torment in hell.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” This means everyone is subject to the consequence of sin. Eternal spiritual death, eternal separation from God and eternal torment in hell await everyone.

Unless sin is removed or its wages are paid, we will have to face its consequence. We will have to die a spiritual death for our sins.

The Real Meaning of Christmas

What if Christmas means more than what we popularly know? Read on and find out.
This may change your life. I pray that you will finish it to the last word. :)


It is often said that Christmas is all about giving, sharing what we have to those who are less fortunate, the poor, needy and homeless. I will not argue that this is a noble thing to do. But I will argue on our understanding of the "less fortunate, needy, poor and homeless."

We limit this to the material world, forgetting that when we look at the Bible we are all nothing, poor in spirit, separated from God because of Sin. God said it plain and simple, everyone sinned and so everyone falls short of His glory.

We are deprived of the gift of life, and are bound to an eternity of separation from God in hell because of sin. This is worse than any material inadequacy.

CHRISTmas is a wonderful story of grace. More than what we lack here on earth, God's sending of Jesus filled our spiritual emptiness. Christmas means giving, yes. But it is not us who give. Jesus is the one who gave Himself for our salvation.

We also hear that it is better to give than to receive. But I also challenge this when we talk about the gift of God. In this context, God wants us to receive more than anything. God gives us the free gift of eternal life, made possible by the blood of the one sinless man-God, Jesus. This gift is what God wants us to receive, and it is called salvation.

He wants us to recognize our helplessness because of sin. He is a God who abhors sin. In His justice, we must be punished with eternal spiritual death. For the wages of sin is death. But He is also a God of love, and in His grace and mercy, He takes the punishment upon Himself in Jesus Christ.

He declares us righteous, as if we have never sinned because Jesus took sin, past, present and future, and nailed them with Him on the cross. He died but rose again, giving us the assurance of eternal life. He himself conquered death.

This eternal life is what God is giving us. Salvation is what awaits us if we receive Jesus in our hearts by faith alone. It is so important to stress that the only way to receive Jesus is by faith. We may have grown up thinking that God holds a weighing scale, determining salvation by how much good we have done against the bad things we have committed on earth. But God does not work that way.

The Bible is clear when it says it is not by good works that we are saved. We cannot bribe God to let us enter into heaven because His standard is perfection. This means sinlessness. He can allow us to enter only when we are washed clean from sin. Good works will not do that. The blood of Jesus will.

And by faith we receive this cleansing, by faith we receive Jesus, by faith we have eternal life. Faith is not simply intellectual understanding. It is the full surrender of one's life to the Kingship, Lordship and Salvation of Jesus Christ.

This is not easy because this requires turning away from the old life to a life of holiness and obedience to God. But God does not say that He will give Jesus to us only when we have achieved a state of holiness. No. God already gave Jesus while we were still sinners. Thus, though the struggle of turning from darkness to light is difficult on our own, God's grace makes it much bearable.

Come to think of it, when God has filled the emptiness in your heart, you will never turn back to where you were before. This gift of life is free. If it is genuinely received by faith, it remains there even if you fall to sin and fail Jesus again and again. He will work you out, mold you into Christlikeness until the day He comes again.

What is Christmas? It's really about Jesus coming here on earth, ready to fulfill God's promise of salvation. It's not about us. It is about God calling us to be with Him. He changes people. He convicts the heart. You may not be convinced, but you may pray to God. Ask Him to help you understand. And if you are moved by His Spirit, ask Him in prayer to come into your heart. Receive Him by faith and you will live.

Merry Christmas!

From a Small church: How I Came to Know Christ

I was around five or six when I first entered a Christian church—too young to even care about the service or the kind faces of the people inside. I don’t remember the Church’s name anymore, but I can still picture how it looks like. The small church faced the vast South China Sea with wide windows welcoming strong westerly winds. The walls were bare, the floor rough and the roof exposed—evidences of an unfinished structure.

Long wooden benches lined the church’s sides, and white monoblocks filled the middle of the room. There was a drum set infront beside a karaoke machine. Embedded on the front wall, facing the people, was a cross made up of several translucent glass cubes. I remember that cross as clearly as the day I first saw it. It glows everytime sunlight passes through it.

It will take more than 13 years before I enter another Christian church. Those silent years in between are years of searching, failing and learning.

My Catholic background taught me that the road to salvation is faith plus good works. “Good works” was easy enough to understand. I just needed to obey my parents, donate to the poor, help the needy and do all the good stuff I read in religion textbooks. “Faith”, on the other hand, was something I didn’t really grasp. How could I, when I was taught that “faith is believing something you can’t explain?”

I used to say that I have faith because I believe in God. I can enter heaven easily because I am an obedient boy, always top of my class, never smoked or drank, and joined outreach programs for the poor. I never really regarded myself a lost sheep because I went to mass every Sunday, I know my prayers, I pray the rosary, and celebrate feast days of saints.

Deep down, however, in the darkest labyrinths of my soul, lay my real view of faith and God. I was consumed by worldly success, lust and pride. I trusted myself so much that I placed God second only to my school requirements, achievements, contests and daily chores. My prayers were empty, memorized essays I uttered only to impress my teachers. I virtually lived a life apart from my Creator, but what was startling was I didn’t seem to care.

I brushed through elementary and high school occupied by my ambitions. I never paused to think about God or my relationship with Him. I thought that as long as everything was okay, God was with me, so there was nothing to worry. Little did I know that my entry to the University of the Philippines would be my passport to finally meeting the God who has always known me but whom I never knew.

My sister invited me to join Kalayaan Christian Fellowship or KalCF the moment I entered UP. I was reluctant at first because her initial invitation made me think of propaganda. “She just wanted to convert me to her religion,” I thought. But my sister was persistent and patient. She asked me to try even just the first fellowship. If I didn’t like it, I could leave anytime I wanted, she said.

I tried the first fellowship. I was there before it started and stayed on until it was over. I liked it. I went back for the next fellowships after that and learned a lot about God and the Bible. It even came to a point when I was attending three Bible studies a week!

These outward activities, however, did not make me a Christian. I was attending fellowships, BS and church, yes, but I knew deep in me that I was still reluctant to submit to God. My self was still my God. I even prayed the sinner's prayer written on a booklet entitled, "Four Spiritual Laws," but I knew that that was a hollow prayer.

But God was faithful. Almost a year after that, I joined a camp at the Dormitories Christian Fellowship. The camp had nothing to do with salvation or anything, but God was truly moving. The most powerful message He impressed on my heart was on hypocrisy. On the first evening, I was lying on my bed, just thinking about many things. I asked myself, "Why are you even here in this camp? Why do you even join these people when you know that you are not God's son?"

I tried to sleep to drown the emotion. But everytime I awoke, it was still there, more intense than before. Finally, I could no longer contain what I was feeling. I went out of the room, sat on one of the tables and talked to God. I listened to the song, "Lead me to the cross," while I committed my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior by His grace and through faith alone.

That was how I came to know Jesus. A lot of things changed from that day on. It wasn’t easy to totally turn from the world and embrace a life of perfect obedience to God. Until now, I’m struggling, but He gives me endurance and molds me better everyday.
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