The LORD's Feasts and Holy Days

Passover – Not for Selfies!

selfie-lambPassover season is upon us, brethren. We have barely a week to prepare! Preparations like these are always a good thing so we can reflect on the importance of why we are keeping the Passover feast in contrast to what most people are doing during this period who are oblivious to the season.

Probably, most families are already thinking and preparing for some summer getaway. Maybe an outing at the beach, which is a necessary respite after school, anyway it is also a break.

But why think of Passover firstly? What are some of the necessary preparations we need?

What is the important lesson that we still need to be rehearsing?

 With the continuing advance of technology, the internet, social media, and tons of smart gadgets available for ourselves and even as we pamper our children, a stark observation and reality emerge.

For one thing, the idea of “self-promotion” is becoming the in thing among many people and in the most convenient way. Thanks to our favorite social media-- today, there is no denying that we are fast becoming a self-promoting society. The “Me” generations or millennials is almost over and we are seeing the emerging of the “Selfie” pandemic!

Who are the “selfies” and what drives them? And why is it necessary to mention them in connection with Passover?

Sociologists categorize the selfies as young, spoiled, self-centered brats but armed with the latest innovations of technology. They are geeks but it seems the only thing they love to do is expose their egos for all to see. There may be some fun in what they are doing, but the trouble with the selfies is they do not know how to draw the line between being self-confident and becoming a pain in the neck with their social friends “tagged” in their favorite pose.

And for the Guinness, according to the survey, the Philippines, in particular, Makati and Pasig, is touted as the world’s selfie capital. New York landed second, while Cebu posted number 9.

While the impact of these sociological trends among selfies, is still up for debate, too much emphasis on self, personal appearance, beautification, and self indulgence is already disturbing.  While these self proclivities are not new in itself, this too much pleasing of the self (self-focused), and the ever growing self-centeredness among many will continue to rob everyone of the most salient and important values.  Could this scenario lead people into what Jesus Christ prophetically described when referring to the latter days: “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:22)?

How can a love grow cold in a “generation of selfies”?

The apostle Paul has the following admonition for young Timothy: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…” (2 Timothy 3:1)

So observe, and ask yourself: When we are so focused on ourselves and on what pleases us, can we really be able to develop that outgoing love and concern for others?


God’s Will-Transforming All into the Fullness of Jesus Christ!

Feast2013Feast 2013 Message

Greetings brethren.

The Feast of Tabernacles has been very dear to us for the past years. It has been uniquely dear to us in fact, in the Church of God tradition. Somehow we have a different way of looking at it, even unique from the Jewish’ “way of thinking”, from which the Feast has developed. The Jews or Israel see this Feast from their national and historical perspective but we look at the Feast of Tabernacles in its future or prophetic significance.

The Feast can evoke different memories and stories. Some good and maybe a few not so good. Somehow our unique experiences during the Feast help us view it in a very special and transforming way. We, in the Church of God, are a testament to its spiritual usefulness or benefits. How the feast moved us, how the Feast shaped us – our families and friends.

Personally speaking, while my family always enjoys the Feast in full rejoicing for the past sixteen years, and longer than that when my wife and I were still singles, you will agree with me that the Feast is not just a “vacation” to enjoy.  Looking back, I came to realize that it is really hard work. Notice how everyone of us here is involved not just in the preparation stage, but in every activity and program.

 Most of us, I think, are already knowledgeable and have become “experts” in a special way in almost all aspects of the Feast.  In planning, preparation, packing, travel –we have our unique responsibilities –hall set-up, flowers, tables, food preparation, the technical crew, the music ensemble, the program and activities to share. That ‘s how our very life has revolved around the Feast! Our yearlong journey in life is shaped by the Feast.

It is a way of coming up to the Feast “not empty handed”. It is an opportunity for all of us to share the fruits of our physical and spiritual harvest. Hence, we grow from the physical to the spiritual aspect of the Feast. Everyone from our children to adults –has his/her own offerings to share and contribute.

But going back to the basics of it, what really is the Feast all about? What does the Feast of Tabernacles have to do with us individually?

This is the theme that I would like to share with you in this Feast message.

Fortunately, no nation or denomination or church, or individual throughout history can claim that they “own” the Feast, that they have the sole right to the Feast. This is not the Feast of Jews/Israel only – we say it is the “Lord’s Feast”!

Very early in the morning yesterday, I was asked by Teacher’s Camp’s personnel-“Sir, were you with the same people in the… (pointing his finger to a place or venue), I answered, “Yes, we are brethren, we are at one with them in proclaiming God’s Feast”.

So what will you say? What does the Feast of Tabernacles have to do with you?

The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans has this personal admonition to all of us to think for the Feast:

“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

 We are God’s living sacrifice, we have our own way of proclaiming God’s will – as God transforms us, and as we conform to His will.

That is why our service, our little sacrifices here, has its way of molding us into His way of life.

Whatever talent God has given you, your skill, your service, it is yours alone to offer and to share. It is your “reasonable service” as the apostle Paul puts it.

And the Feast is that occasion where we can put these things to work! But not only that, Paul says, it should be ”holy and acceptable to God”, Can we think of any other place, occasion, celebration where God “accepts” us or receives us?

Not on man’s holidays as they saw fit – it must have to be on God’s holy days – His feast days or holy days-

“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.  And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.” Deuteronomy 16:13-15

 So God accepts us or receives us on His ordained Feast and in places where His name abides.

 Here the Lord accepts us and here His blessings are bestowed. That’s why it is sad that I can still hear of somebody’s plan of “not attending”(?).

The Feast of Tabernacles is a reminder for us all – that our life here is a pilgrimage. Just as the tabernacle or “booth” reminded us of life’s transitory nature, we are not to set our minds on the physical.

That’s why the idea of “holiness” or setting apart – from the cares of this world is paramount in keeping the Feast. Apostle Paul has this reminder about our life’s pilgrimage:

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:2-4,7,12-17

This is the holiness that we must be putting on- the need for patience, the need to exercise our being humble, meek, and kind to the brethren in the presence of the most awesome God.

The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us that we are not “of this world” – that we are preparing and looking for God’s kingdom where righteousness and peace dwells. With this knowledge, the materialistic in us must be changed.  Always thinking for the material things has a way of dissuading us to focus on the spiritual truths.  It turns our minds back to the worries and cares of this world. That’s why if our life’s focus is on the material things, we won’t be able to experience the true meaning and benefits of rejoicing . Hence, this is a paradox of our rejoicing – if we are attached to the material, we won’t be experiencing joy! (“you shall have nothing but joy” -Deut. 16:15) 


The First Holy Day: Feast of Tabernacles 2012

The First Holy Day: Feast of Tabernacles 2012 (video)-

Features messages and music:

Offertory: Thanksgiving to the LORD God Almighty for His marvelous continuing work; giving thanks is giving what's really important to us (-Juan Gabriel Cardona)

Main: In the 13th century, people dismissed Marco Polo's adventures as mere lies, yet far surpassing is the Revelation of Jesus Christ about the Kingdom of God, as revealed to apostle John, weaving a thread which goes back to the beginning of time, not hidden, but revealed by the Creator to men and women throughout history, however incredulous it always seems to the human majority (-Raul de Asis Hipe)

Played on instruments or sung:

This Is The Day, by John Rutter
Come Follow Me, by Don Besig & Nancy Price
Creation Sings The Father’s Song, by Keith & Kristyn Getty
In The Kingdom, by Steven Rudolph

Part 4: Feast of Tabernacles 2011 Musical

Part 4: Feast of Tabernacles 2011 Musical
"Paano Kakayanin Ang Pagiging Kaisa?" FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2011 MUSICAL  (Part 4: Segments #15 to #20) While learning how to be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, what stubborn contrary ways do we still insist on that keep us fragmented instead of one with The Almighty GOD?

Segment #15: “Nakakatapos Na Tayo Ng Isa”
Segment #16: “Ayaw Naman Nila”
Segment #17: “Sa Panginoon Nang Buo”
Segment #18: “Kapwa Gaya Ng Sarili”
Segment #19: “Akala Ko Alam Ko Na”
Segment #20: “Pagiging ISA”

Part 3: Feast of Tabernacles 2011 Musical

Part 3: Feast of Tabernacles 2011 Musical (video)
"Paano Kakayanin Ang Pagiging Kaisa?" FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2011 MUSICAL  (Part 3: Segments #10 to #14) While learning how to be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, what stubborn contrary ways do we still insist on that keep us fragmented instead of one with The Almighty GOD?

Segment #10: “Nag-Pray Naman Ako”
Segment #11: “Nade-Depress Ako”
Segment #12: “Aray! Ang Sakit Nun Ah!”
Segment #13: “Sa Maliit Na Bagay Nagkakatalo”
Segment #14: “Basta Ang Sa Akin Lang”

Part 2: Feast of Tabernacles 2011 Musical

"Paano Kakayanin Ang Pagiging Kaisa?" FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2011 MUSICAL  (Part 2: Segments #6 to #9) - While learning how to be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, what stubborn contrary ways do we still insist on that keep us fragmented instead of one with The Almighty GOD?

Segment #6: "Gusto Ko Maging Happy"
Segment #7: "Ano Kaya Ang Naging Buhay Ko..."
Segment #8: "Huwag Mo Sasabihin Kahit Kanino"
Segment #9: "OK Lang Kami, OK Lang Ako"

Part 1: Feast of Tabernacles 2011 Musical

“Paano Kakayanin Ang Pagiging Kaisa?” FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2011 MUSICAL  (Part 1-Segments #1 to #5) - While learning how to be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, what stubborn contrary ways do we still insist on that keep us fragmented instead of one with Almighty GOD?

Segment #1: “Eto Na, Da Best Pa!”
Segment #2: “Memory Gap”
Segment #3: “Ay, Ganito Pala Mga Tao Dito”
Segment #4: “Sino Ang Pinapatamaan?”
Segment #5: “Kailangan Ba Laging May Ice Cream?”

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