Monday, October 23, 2017

CCF: So That You May Know the Joy

John 16:16-33
Pastor Jay Jackson

“Jesus performed many other SIGNS in the presence of his disciples, which are not RECORDED in this book. But these are WRITTEN that you may BELIEVE that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have LIFE in his name.“ -- John 20:30-31
The Gospel of John was written with a purpose. John wanted you to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Promised One, at the same time believe that Jesus appeared on earth as God in human form. The author wants you to have LIFE through Jesus Christ and live it to the fullest.

Image courtesy of principlesforlifeministries.com

Chapters 13 through 17, five full chapters of the book of John were dedicated in the upper room. The upper room represents the last few hours of Jesus spent with His disciples. Jesus is using these last hours they have together to speak powerfully into the lives of His first followers.

John will devote more of his Gospel to these few hours in the Upper Room than any other single event of Jesus. In His last moments with His disciples, Jesus warned them about further persecution, told them where, when and why he was going, and assured them that they would not be left alone but that the Spirit would come.

“A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” – John 16:16
In verse 16, as Jesus was telling His disciples that He is going away for a little while, He was referring to His death which is only a few hours away that time and His resurrection three days later. That even though the world is rejoicing while the disciples go through grieve and difficulties, Jesus is telling them to rejoice and trust in the promises of God. Jesus is talking about a new relationship between every believers and God. While previously, people approached God through priests, His death and resurrection enables believers to approach God personally and directly. Not because of our own merit but because Jesus, our great High Priest, has made us acceptable to the Father. We can boldly ask the Father and have confidence that He will listen to our prayers in the same way that an earthly father listen to his dearly loved child. You have that privilege right now but have you really spend time with Him? You can share with Him the deepest desires of your heart. You can ask Him for wisdom, guidance, protection or help. In fact God is waiting for you to ask Him.

There is power in the name of Jesus, power to meet our deepest needs and fill our deepest longings.

“In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father; I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” – John 16:26-28
Jesus doesn’t want us to think that our relationship with the Father is second rate or even second tier. Jesus was telling them that although people will nail Him to the cross the next day. He will rise from the dead on the third day. He will once and for all establish an unbreakable relationship between you and the Father. This is the depths of His plan, but He is not telling them everything at the moment not because Jesus don’t want them to know the truth but because the disciples were not ready for it, yet.

Jesus is prompting them to take their eyes off of themselves and focus on Him instead.

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Jesus does not say that He will overcome the world. He says that He has already overcome the world. We don’t have to die to overcome the world, we can overcome the world by the way we live. Jesus have to say ‘No’ to the world, so He can say ‘Yes’ to the Father.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Music: Dancing on My Own

One of the most sensational and most viewed audition in Britain's Got Talent 2015. Calum Scott auditioned after his sister Jade failed to make it in the cut. He may looked nervous but this did not crushed his spirit as he gave a total different vocal experience performing a rendition of Robyn's Dancing on My Own.

His performance was tremendously received with four standing ovation from the judges. Making it more memorable when Simon Cowell pressed the golden buzzer sending him straight to the semi-finals.


Cover by Calum Scott


Somebody said you got a new friend
Does she love you better than I can? 
And there's a big black sky over my town

I know where you're at, I bet she's around 
And yeah, I know it's stupid 
But I just gotta see it for myself 
I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh oohh 
And I'm right over here, why can't you see me, oh oohh 
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh 
I keep dancing on my own 

I just wanna dance all night 
And I'm all messed up, I'm so out of line, yeah 
Stilettos and broken bottles 
I'm spinning around in circles 
And I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh oohh 
And I'm right over here, why can't you see me, oh oohh 
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh 
I keep dancing on my own And oh no 

So far away but still so near 
The lights come up, the music dies 
But you don't see me standing here 
I just came to say goodbye 

I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh oohh
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh
And I keep dancing on my own 
And oh no Said I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, oh no 
And I'm right over here, why can't you see me, oh no 
And I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the guy you're taking home, oohh 
I keep dancing on my own 

So far away, but still so near 
The lights come up, the music dies 
But you don't see me standing here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Music: Somewhere

This year Singapore got a chance to experience the critically-acclaimed Broadway musical of all time, "West Side Story" - a theatrical masterpiece of song, dance and drama released in 1957. West Side story is an award-winning adaptation of the classic-romantic "Romeo and Juliet."
The musical brought us on the west side of Manhattan, New York City during the mid 1950's, when many Puerto Ricans moved to NYC.

I am not so much into musical but the ten Academy awards won by this musical film earned its spot as "worth checking out" for me.

Few of the songs that stood out includes "I Feel Pretty," "Maria," "America" and "Somewhere." The latter being the most popular(at least for me) and inspirational for most. A song with a lyrics of hope for the future and the melody of holding on.



Someday
Somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere

There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere

There's a time for us
Someday there'll be a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn
Time to care

Someday
Somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find there's a way of forgiving
Somewhere
Somewhere
Somewhere

There's a place for us
A time and a place for us
Hold my hand and we're half way there
Hold my hand and I'll take you there
Somehow
Someday
Somewhere

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dear Belle

By the time you read this, your plane might have reached Manila. The truth is, a month ago we knew you got the job offer, yesterday we threw a send-off party for you and today you left Singapore but it's still not sinking in to me that you are now moving(back) to Australia. For real. Maybe I am still in denial, in denial that you are leaving us more than this place.

We praised God the author of our lives for making our paths crossed here in Singapore even for a limited time. Four years seems to be insufficient. As single ladies living far from our families back in the Philippines, you have this warm and welcoming aura to every member of our growing discipleship group. Thank you for making us feel we are not alone. You have this all out smile and inviting personality who makes everyone feel at home in the dgroup. Your servant heart is an encouragement to us, for you are always willing to volunteer to any activity in the church. I remember you inviting the dgroup to attend every talk or bible study available even outside CCF.

Whenever our dgroup have a special occasion to celebrate like birthdays, bridal showers etc -- you always make time to help in organising and making it possible.


For almost two years, our discipleship group have been praying with you on His will for you in Australia. But even though we are aware of the possibility that this may happen anytime, why is it still difficult to comprehend someone moving away.  My heart find it the hardest to reconcile the shift. Maybe this is just me being comfortable of routines and being clingy -- that you will just be there always ready to help, prepare home cooked meals for the dgroup, facilitate in our discipleship group even with short notice, assist in Sunday school, offer winter scarfs or jackets when travelling and simply for being available.  It makes all the difference.

But thank you for sharing your heart with us and not giving up on prayer. At the same time doing your part in terms of job application and interview preparations even if there were few disappointments along the way, we were all reminded how powerful God can work in the lives of His seeking children.

I praise God for your steadfast heart and full dependence on the perfect timing of our Lord.
Judges 6:14-16 
The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” He said to Him, “O Lord, [how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
I will miss your sinigang. I will miss our runs and training together. I will miss hearing you sing during praise and worship plus various church events. I will miss our shopping time together, though most of the time we are just window shopping(haha). I will miss our travels. I will miss planking with you 😆 I will miss tagging along with you when buying perfumes. I will miss hearing you share on our Tuesdays IDG and Wednesdays DG group sessions.

We will all miss you for sure, but at the same time we are more excited to witness how God will unfold His grace and blessing in your life as you conquer more borders for His glory.

How do you say goodbye to someone who is like a sister to you more than a friend. I can't. Or maybe you just don't. But if there's one good thing about parting, that is the hope for reunion.

So see you in Brisbane!

High Tea @The Courtyard, Fullerton Hotel
Farewell dinner @Our Village Colombo
Ang saya ni kuya!!!

IDMC 2016 here in Singapore

Perth, Australia

Dgroup bowling

CCF church event

Dgroup goes to Tioman, Malayia
Buwis buhay skydive experience @Australia
Archery ala Katniss Everdeen
Radical Love CCF Retreat 2017
Radical Love CCF Retreat 2017 with Carlo's dgroup

Adore CCF 2016 Christmas Party
Belle's #wokeuplikethis photo! Ganda pa din 😉

CCF: So That You May Know the Servant

John 13:1-17
Bro. Popit Aragones

John chapter 13 accounts Jesus’ upper room discourse with His disciples on the night before His death. He gave final instructions to prepare them for His death and resurrection, events that would change their lives forever. In this chapter Jesus modelled servanthood by washing the feet of His disciples, one of the lowliest task reserve only for slaves during their time.

The act of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples exposes the heart of the disciples. Jesus wanted them to realise that they have heart issues and that is PRIDE. The kind of pride that stems out from self-righteousness. 

PRIDE. Nowadays, the face of pride changes from a vice or wickedness to a face of virtue. 
Pride resides in each one of us in varying degrees. Pride hinders us from seeking God. Most importantly, it takes away the glory due for God. While the sin of pride is often overlooked by our society, God takes the sin of pride very seriously.

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. - Proverbs 16:5

“Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one,” Declares the Lord God of hosts, “For your day has come, The time when I will punish you. “The arrogant one will stumble and fall With no one to raise him up; And I will set fire to his cities And it will devour all his environs.” - Jeremiah 50:31-32

Satan fell because of pride because he desired to be like God and not a servant. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. 

Pride Paralyses. It cripples us from loving and serving one another truthfully. It removes our focus on God and others and imprisons us from our own selfish desires. Be very careful not to rob the glory that is rightful to God alone.

Got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. - John 13:4-5

It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:26-28

So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realise now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” - John 13:6-8
Genuine Humility Enables. It allows us to go beyond our borders, to love and serve others unconditionally. Despite of Jesus’ deity, He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant so He can serve His disciples. Genuine humility is not a sign of weakness but strength. An expression of God’s grace through us, His children.

Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. - Matthew 23:12
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” - James 4:6
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. - Matthew 16:24

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. —CS Lewis

Jesus gave emphasis on the difference of bathe and wash. Similarly for people who accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, they are totally cleanse by His blood but still needs the continuous cleansing of their feet daily. Because as we continue to walk in this world, we make actions, decisions and thoughts that make our feet dirty again. 

As Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He taught us that we are ought to do the same for other people as well. To love and serve in humility for the glory of God.

Pride paralyses but genuine humility enables.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

CCF Singapore Retreat 2017

T'was a meaningful long weekend spent with more than 250 brethren from CCF Singapore during the annual retreat at Sands & Sandals Resort & Spa, Desaru Malaysia from August 31 to September 2. This retreat became extra special because I get to spend it with some of my single ladies discipleship group. \o/

The three day, two nights retreat revolves around the topic "Radical Love Begins at Home" which is relevant and significant. The event was graced by Edric and Joy Mendoza as speakers together with their five adorable and behaved children. Edric is an education entrepreneur who champions Home Education across various organisations, and personal finance education through keynote messages. He is also the host of "On the Money", a TV show in the Philippines. Edric and his wife, Joy, conduct training, mentoring and counselling families in the area of marriage, parenting and money stewardship through Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF).

Drone shot. Look up guys!

BOG 18 - Karl, Alfa, baby Caleb, Patric, Zipp, Me, Ate Ethel, Kuya Mark, Kris
Sessions and learnings include the following five compelling topics where participants are organised into breakout groups (usually 7 to 8 each BOG) to reflect and discuss each topic.

Open Up 
With everyone hooked on social media, there is a tendency to spend more time in the virtual world. Avoid being so near yet so far by opening up and communicating with those that really matter.

Mold Character
Today's culture has a strong influence on the values and priorities of families. Regardless of the direction of the prevailing culture, it is important to let the Lord mold our character so we can become more like Christ.

Have Fun
Work-life balance seems to be unattainable because parents are out working while children are busy with their own lives. Remember the seventh day? Even the Lord rested. Lighten up and have fun.

Embrace your Role
Who should be followed in the household? What does being supportive or obedient really mean? Avoid confusion and conflict by embracing the role God has designed especially for you.

Steward Well 
Mindsets of entitlement and instant gratification may lead to heavy financial stress. We must be good stewards of the resources God entrusts to us; after all, everything belongs to Him.

Dawnwatch
Discipleship Group. Me, Kaye, Marie and Belle
On the morning of second day, we woke up six in the morning to anticipate the dawn watch through praise and worship and most importantly spending time with God beside the breathtaking view of the pristine beach. In the afternoon there is a group activity where participants are assembled into four team color - Red for Love, Blue for Obedience, Green for Volunteer and Yellow for Evangelise. Teams participated in friendly competition of group cheer, hoola hoops relay, sack relay, ball+cups relay and group dodgeball.

Water Baptism
Bonfire. Praise and worship night
Finally on the third and last day, twelve brethren from all ages and walks of life heed the call of publicly declaring their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ through water baptism. Yey! What a celebration!



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Music: Your Love Never Fails


Original: Jesus Culture
Cover: Newsboys

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
And may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails
The wind is strong and the water's deep
I'm not alone in these open seas
'Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
'Cause Your love never fails
'Cause you stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Oh no, love never fails
'Cause You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good (5x)
'Cause you stay
'Cause you stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
It may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Love never fails
You make all things work together for my good (7x)
You make, you make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good (2x)
'Cause You make all things work together for my good
'Cause you stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
It may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Never fails