Monday, May 22, 2017

CCF: So That You May Know the Bread of Life

John 6:25-71
By Bro. Fred Magbanua

During the biblical times, bread is considered a staple food and an essential part of their meal. Not just an appetiser or side dish but something that satisfies people and make them full. This is the context when Jesus said “I am the Bread of Life.”

In the book of John chapter 6, after Jesus feed the five thousand multitude with five small barley loaves and two fish, great crowd of people followed Him. But Jesus convict them that people are seeking Him because they look up to Him as someone who can provide for them and deliver them from the Romans. Jesus recognised that men needs bread to live but emphasised that men should not live on bread alone. He encouraged them not to work on the food that perishes but focus on the food that has eternal life.

Where do you focus most of your time and activities? Does it have lasting value? Like working hard on your career, spending time in leisure and sports, or feeding your mind with all kinds of learning. There is nothing wrong investing our time on these things BUT if it takes away the time for things that are important to God like family and ministry, then we might need to revisit our priorities.

As the people ask Jesus what must they do to do the works of God, He respond to them that it’s not about working but about believing in the One sent by the Father. As Jesus declares “I AM the Bread of Life” the first of the seven monumental I AM statement of Jesus. He is clearly claiming His deity.

Jesus said to them, “I AM the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. —John 6:35(NASB)

While Jesus assures that whoever comes to Him, He will not turn away, there must be a will from the person to come. The word “come” in Greek does not necessarily mean leaving or moving in a direction but also about arriving to the destination. It is not just about seeking Jesus but also entails arriving to Jesus.

As Jesus claims to be the bread that came down from heaven, there are people who grumbled and did not believe Him because they thought they knew Him and His family background but miss out the truth about the virgin birth. But Jesus rebuke their disbelieve:

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. —John 6:47-48(NASB)

To simply this statement in an equation we can say:

Whoever believes in Jesus = Has eternal life
If anyone eats this bread from heaven = He will live forever
Whoever believes in Jesus = Anyone who eats this bread from heaven

In spite of His promises, not everyone believed Him, in these scripture we could see three reactions to the teachings of Jesus:
1. Fall away - Some people had a grumbling heart, they took offense as their disbelief hardened and turned back from Jesus;
2. Betray - More than not believing or just being passive, others made actions to put down Jesus and the credibility of His words;
3. Commit and obey - Other recognise that Jesus is the Holy One who gives eternal life

So you may know the Bread of Life:
Jesus is the Bread of Life, the true bread from heaven
We need the spiritual bread to have spiritual life. We eat this bread by believing Jesus, walking with Jesus, the Son of Man, God Himself.

People could fall away or betray; we must decide Jesus is the only way and let Him keep moulding us everyday!

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Australia: Swan Valley Tour

With just 30 minutes drive east of Perth, Western Australia you will find Swan Valley a sanctuary of boutique wineries and microbreweries, fresh produce, gourmet restaurants, blooming vineyards, wildlife parks and breathtaking views.

Our Swan Valley tour started around 11AM via a couch that picks us up from Central Perth station. Driving all the way to northeast of the city along the Swan River. The tour begin with a wine tasting at Houghton Wines, producing award-winning WA wines since 1836, making it one of Australia's oldest operating wineries.

Aside from classic wines, we also enjoy the luscious scenery and greens around the area which is a perfect backdrop for photoshoots.


Next stop is Lancaster Wines. Lancaster welcomes wine enthusiasts on its famous outdoor tasting shed, enjoying premium wines and gourmet selection of cheese in a casual, relaxed atmosphere surrounded with gorgeous vineyards.

During our wine tasting tours, aside from being greeted with flourishing vineyards, we were also treated with wide variety of fine wines including classic selections. We tasted different unique blends of aromatic white and red wines which includes Chardonnay, Rosé, Cabernet, Shiraz, Sauvignon.

After treating our wine buds with great selection of wines, we continue our tour indulging our sweet buds in Margaret River Chocolate Factory. This place has cafe where you can enjoy fresh, delicious breakfast and light lunches together with large selection of desserts, hot and cold drinks. For visitors they can take home sweet goodies from their shop that offers broad range of freshly made chocolate products in different flavours, size, shapes and colors.

We are up to our third wine tasting shop and at this point I am feeling a bit dizzy after all the wines we drink. Sandalford Wines celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2016 since the Prendiville family took over in 1991 from the descendants of the original founder, John Septimus Roe.

Finally in the afternoon we had appetising snacks and choice of drinks at Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery, Swan Valley's newest boutique winery offering a purpose-built wedding location.

I am not a wine drinker but I must say I enjoy the white wine selection of Lancaster and the flavourful plate of cheese.

Monday, May 15, 2017

US: Ghirardelli

A San Francisco heritage of sweetness and chocolatey, if you have a sweet tooth this place should be on top of your list #WhenInSanFrancisco.

Founded by Domenico "Domingo" Ghirardelli who was born 1817 in Rapallo, Italy. After working in South America, he moved to California and in 1849 Ghirardelli opens confectionary shop Ghirardely & Girard at Kearny and Washington streets of San Francisco which eventually becomes the modern day Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. They expanded in 1893 by acquiring the Pioneer Woolen Building on San Francisco's norther waterfront. The entire manufacturing was transferred here and this site is more popularly known now as the Ghirardelli Square.

Ghirardelli Market Place
The Ghirardelli Square features retail and dining complex, shops and restaurants perfect for family events and pictorials (wink).

Be sure to visit their Chocolate Shop & Caffe where you get free samples of Ghirardelli square chocolates upon entrance. You can also view the chocolate manufacturing equipment and how they make their chocolates. Indulge in hot fudge sundaes, hot chocolate or coffee and mouthwatering desserts.

Chocolate Mill and Melanger
Chocolate Conche
Ghirardelli is simply happiness in one square of premium chocolates.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

US: Hoover Dam

Want to save time and visit two states in America simultaneously? Head over to the famous Hoover Dam, which is also featured in big screen movies like Transformer and Superman.

Situated on the Nevada-Arizona border, 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada and stretching 1244 feet across the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Hoover Dam took five years to be constructed between 1931 to 1936 during Great Depression. The Dam was dedicated in 1935 under President Franklin Roosevelt government.

Originally known as Boulder Dam from 1933-1947 and was then renamed after President Herbert Hoover.

Recently in 2010, Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge was open to public. This memorial bridge is an arch bridge in the Unites States that spans the Colorado River located within the Lake Mead National Recreation area. The bridge was the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge which incorporates the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. Built 900 feet above Colorado River, the second highest bridge in the US and the world's highest concrete arch bridge.

Today as a result of drought, Lake Mead has dropped to its lowest level since the 1930's. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Australia: Sandboarding at Lancelin Sand Dunes

After visiting The Pinnacles first thing today, we travelled 80 km going to Lancelin and it took us less than an hour road trip drive. Twa's past noon when we reach this premiere spot for sand boarding, quad biking or 4 wheel driving in fine and pure white as snow mountains of powdered sand. This scenery reminds me of the 4x4 sand dune ride in our Desert Safari adventure in Dubai last year only with sand as white as the clouds.

Lancelin is a small fishing and tourist town located 127km north of Perth, Western Australia. Entry to the sand dunes is free and open 24 hours a day, but you have to rent your sand board in a nearby Surf Store for $10AUD per hour including $50AUD deposit which is refundable once you return the board. Most stores closes at 4PM so you have to be back before closing time, but if you went there with your own sandboard then this shouldn't be a problem. Make sure to check the foot placement of the sand board, we requested for the strap to be adjusted as most of us are right handed and comfortable standing facing to the left. 

We have to park the Hyundai Jazz few blocks away from the Lancelin entrance and walk our way to the sand dunes as we got warning from friends that there are cars getting stuck out of sand.