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I normally celebrate my birthday quietly through a dinner with my wife counting God’s blessings. However, on my 60th birthday, our JCC Staff gave a surprise advance celebration last Thursday (with a birthday cake) in our new office at the Lincoln Executive Center in Fremont, California. Then, yesterday, my mother, brothers and sisters celebrated my actual birthday (August 18,with another birthday cake) in Santa Clara, California.
Today, my wife prepared this 60th birthday celebration (with another birthday cake) by cooking Italian foods (spaghetti and pancit to signify long life) with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Today is the best birthday celebration because my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ sang with me my favorite hymns** “HOW GREAT THOU ART”. “AMAZING GRACE” and “COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.”
I would like to share with you “SEVEN WISHES ON MY 60TH BIRTHDAY.” I chosed seven because it signifies completeness.
1.The first wish is that all members in my extended family (from my side and my wife’s side) and my spiritual family here at Golden Gate will not waste and squander their time and opportunities while living in America and on Planet Earth. Precious time and opportunities will not come back once they’re lost and gone. The Bible says that we “must redeem time because the days are evil.”
2. My second wish is that me and my wife will reach our 50th Wedding Anniversary.
In 1972, I prayed that God will direct and guide me to the right Christian woman to be my future wife. At that time my wife also prayed that God will guide and direct her to the right Christian man to be her future husband.. DOES GOD ANSWER PRAYERS? YES, God answer prayers. Every time I see my wife and celebrate our Wedding Anniversary, I’m convinced 100% that God answer prayers. We just celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary. Here’s my personal advice to our young people: “Don’t be unequally yoked with unbeliever.” Choose a Christian man or Christian woman as your spouse and you’ve already solved more than 50% of future marriage problems and conflict. We rejoiced in witnessing the recent wedding ceremony and celebration of Jim and Joy.
3.The third wish is for my brothers and sisters ( both in Christ and my extended family) to achieve the “American Dream” of owning their homes but more importantly the “heavenly mansion” prepared by God for everyone. The “heavenly mansion” is the most important and priority for me. I would rather lost the earthly houses but not the “heavenly home or mansion.”
4.My fourth wish is for my mother to reach 100 years old. My mother will celebrate her 90th birthday in January, 2008.
5. The fifth wish is for our nieces, nephews and our young people to finish college and have their own degrees and careers. One of my happier moments was when we attended the graduation ceremonies of our daughters Darlene and Joy and son-in-law Bryan at the Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. Joy graduated as Magna Cum Laude. Darlene finished her Master’s degree in Special Education and Bryan finished his degree in Computer Science. Our nephew Ferdinand M. Lewis graduated Summa Cum Laude at Fisk University in Tennessee. Our nephews Dale and Billy finished their law and engineering degrees. Dave, Don, Jim and Joanna finished their respective degrees. Our niece Angeles finished her nursing degree and Sherlyn is completing her doctorate. I wish and pray that our young people like Allan Trinidad, Sean Darden, Adrian de la Cruz, Julian de la Cruz, Michael White can finish their college education and have their own degrees and respective careers.
6. The sixth wish is for me and my wife to do a yearly missionary trip to the Philippines and that the PRAYER MINISTRY and “WE CARE” MINISTRY at Golden Gate Church of Christ will grow and succeed. I’m glad that we were able to go to the Philippines with Bro. Darryl Darden early this year. In this missionary trip, we saw the involvement and commitment of our brethren (young and old) in the Philippines in sharing the gospel of Christ to the many lost souls.
7. The final and seventh wish is for all of us to have a balance life (economically, emotionally, socially and spiritually) and be prepared to meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in His Second Coming. Jesus Christ made this promise in John 14:1-3: “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
In 1973, my wife promised to come back to the Philippines so that we can get married and then bring me to this “land of milk and honey” and “ land of the brave and the free.” She fulfilled her promise that’s why I’m here celebrating my 60th Birthday with you today. The late Gen. Douglas MacArthur promised: “ I SHALL RETURN!” He fulfilled his promise and liberated the Philippines.
If my wife and the late Gen.Douglas MacArthur can fulfill their promises, I can accept and believe beyond a shadow of doubt that our Lord and Savior Jesus is coming back. Let us, therefore, be ready and prepared to meet our Savior and our God. John reminded us in Revelation: 2:10: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Brother Wallace Patton will now lead “TRUST AND OBEY” for the invitation song. Whatever your needs, we ask you to come as we sing the invitation song.
*Message delivered at the afternoon worship services of the Golden Gate Church of Christ in San Francisco, California on August 19, 2007.
**These are the favorite gospel songs of Elvis Presley whose 30th Death Anniversary on August 16, 2007 was remembered with the presentation of “THE GOSPEL SIDE OF ELVIS.”
“WE CARE” MINISTRY: Are YOU concerned with the most important and timeless question? “What if the Lord were to come right now? Would you know for sure, nothing doubting, that you would go to heaven.” Find the answer through a “WE CARE” BIBLE STUDY in the privacy of your home or office. Write or call: WE CARE MINISTRY, 701-8th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118 Tel.(415)221-2631
Ready or not, someday it will come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do-lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracts you lived at the end. It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So, what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your life.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but a choice.
Choice to live a life that matters.
Finally, what really matter is what will happen to you and your soul after death. Hebrew 9:27 says: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
Jesus Christ promised that He is coming back to bring us to our heavenly home (John 14:1-3) Those who died in Christ will be resurrected with Him to heaven.
( I Thessalonians 4:13-17)
THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST URGENT QUESTION FOR YOU!!!
What if the Lord were to come right now? Would YOU know for sure, nothing doubting, that YOU would go to heaven?
Going to heaven is not a matter of circumstance or accident. It is a matter of choice.
YOU can choose to deny God and ignore Jesus Christ’ promise and invitation. YOU can also choose to know the answer to this important and urgent question. Request for a FREE “WE CARE Bible Study in the privacy of your Home or Office. Just call (415)221-2631 or visit website:goldengatechurchofchrist.org
“Something is not right because the church says it or the pope says it. Something is right because the Bible says it.”
– POPE JOHN PAUL II
The Christian Chronicle, May 2005. p.14
* From “WHAT WILL MATTER” by Michael Josephson
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Before I became a Christian, I worked as Company Forester
with Taggat Industries in Claveria, Cagayan, Philippines and
as Timber Management Officer (TMO) with the Bureau of
Forestry in Mati, Davao Oriental, Philippines.
At the logging camp, we built campfire using file of dry
woods to give us heat during the night. One of our companions
removed some woods from the campfire to control the intensity
of the heat. The fire from the removed woods eventually die.
As a Christian, I can equate CHURCH ATTENDANCE to the
CAMPFIRE. Christ represents the source of the fire or heat.
The dry wood represents individual Christian. The campfire
represents the assembly of the Saints (e.g. Bible Study,
Worship Service, Prayer Fellowship, etc.) “Where two or
three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of
them.” (Matthew 18:20). Every time a Christian missed or
is removed from the assembly of the Saints, the fire or heat
will weaken and eventually die if removed longer.
Therefore, every time you missed a Bible Study, Worship
Service or Prayer Fellowship, remember the lesson of the
DO NOT FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLY OF THE SAINTS:
“Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good
works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as
is the manner of some; but exhorting one another, and so much
the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
1. Importance of Assembling:
Not to forsake assembling . . . . . Heb.10:25
Assembled first day of the week.. Acts 20:7
Study and grow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II Tim.2:15
Partaking of Lord’s Supper . . . . . Acts 20:7
Reflect greatest interests . . . .. . . Matt.6:33
Keep appointment with Lord . . . . Matt. 18:20
Grow/Go to perfection . . . . . . . .. II Peter 3:18
Press toward the prize . . . . . . . . . . Phil. 3:12-14
2. Reasons Why One MUST Attend:
Become stronger and grow . . . . .. I Peter 2:2,3
Increase in knowledge . . . . . . . . . .II Peter 1:5
Show faith in God/Christ . . . . . .. James 2:18
Grow in Christian virtues . . . . .. . II Peter 1:5-11
Teach/Admonish others . . . . . . . .. Eph. 5:19
Guard against falling away . . .. . . II Peter 2:20-22
Let their light shine . . . . . . . . . . . . .Matt. 5:16
Prove love for the Lord . . . . . . . .. . John 14:15
3.Fail To Assemble, As Possible, YOU …
Reflect a disregard for the Scriptures:
Examples of first Christians . . . . . .. Acts 2:46
On first day of the week . . . . . . . . .. Acts 20:7
Not forsaking assembling . . . . . . . . Heb. 10:25
Indicate a sinful attitude:
Inadequate love for God . . . . . . . . . . Heb.10:24-25
Lack development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II Peter 3:18
A babe not wanting to grow . . . . . . . I Peter 2:2
Lack respect for the overseers:
Feed the flock if present . . . . . . . . .. Acts 20:28
Must obey them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heb. 13:7,17
Need to repent of your sins:
Know & fail to do good = sin . . . . .. James 4:17
Lukewarm . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . ..Rev. 3:15-16
*Ready Reference For Growing Christians
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For the past two weeks, millions watched the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. What caught my interest and attention was the report on the true story of Eric Liddell, a young athlete who played in the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France.
Eric Liddell was the son of a missionary in China. He was England’s fastest 100-meter runner. Everyone expected him to win the gold medal that year. But then came the big challenge for him. When the Olympic schedule came out, the 100-meter event was scheduled on a Sunday.
Liddel’s strict interpretation of keeping the Lord’s Day holy did not permit him to run on Sundays. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some, but exhorting one another , and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews, 10:24-25, II Timothy 3:16-17) When word got around that Eric would not run the 100-meter race, strong pressure was upon him. Even the Prince of Wales tried to persuade him. Eric stood firm on his Christian conviction.
The English newspapers called him a traitor. But Eric simply refused to go against his religious beliefs and conviction. Eric met with his coaches and suggested that a teammate Harold Abrahams run in his place in the 100-meter dash. He would then run in the 400-meter dash, even though he had never run this race in his entire life.
The arrangement was approved. The result? Not only did Eric win the gold in the 400-meter event, but his teammate also won the 100-meter event. Instead of winning just one gold, England won two! By the way, before the firing of the starter’s gun, a note was handed Eric which read – “God honors those who honor him!”
In 1980 someone got the idea to make a movie about Eric and the 1924 Olympics. When Eric’s wife heard about it, she said, “Who’d be interested in an event so long ago about a man who wouldn’t run on Sundays because of his Christian beliefs.” But it turned out that millions of people were tremendously interested. The movie called “Chariots of Fire,” not only broke box office records but also won the 1982 Academy Award.
LESSON: There will be situations, perhaps not as dramatic as that of Liddell, when we, too, have to witness to our Christian moral principles and convictions. It could be deciding to avoid going out late on Saturday and Tuesday nights so that we can prepare our spirit, soul and body ( I Thessalonians 5:23) for the Sunday morning Bible Class, Worship Service and the Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer Fellowship. Failure to live up to our moral and Christian convictions leads to a general breakdown of morality in society. And lest we forget, it’s against God’s will too, which could jeopardize the successful journey to our heavenly home for the crown of life. (John 14:1-4, Revelations 2:10)
*Shared by Art Gabot Madlaing in the conclusion of the Sunday morning worship services at the Golden Gate Church of Christ in San Francisco, California on August 24, 2008 from the article of Bel San Luis, SVD.
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GREAT COMMSSION: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always even to the end of the age.” JESUS CHRIST in Matthew 28: 18-20 NKJV (Cross-reference verses: Mark 16:15-16, NKJV)
QUESTIONS: Is the Great Commission only for the early disciples? Is the Great Commission also for the Christians today?
DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” – APOSTLE PAUL in his letter to the Christians in Rome (Romans 1:16 NKJV)
QUESTION: In what way are we ashamed of the gospel of Christ today?
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?: “I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand; by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried; and that He rose again the third day according to the
Scriptures” -APOSTLE PAUL in his letter to the Christians in Corinth
( I Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV)
QUESTION: Can one be saved without hearing and obeying the gospel?
HOW DO WE OBEY THE GOSPEL?: “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death; that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also should walk in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
-APOSTLE PAUL in his letter to the Christians in Rome (Romans 6:3-6 NKJV)
Cross-reference verses: Acts 2:38-39
QUESTION: Can one be saved without obeying the gospel in baptism?
Reference verses: (Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, Mark 16:16, I Peter 3:21 NKJV)
APPROACH TO FRIEND, NEIGHBOR, MOTHER, FATHER ETC.
_______________ (put name of friend), we have been close __________(put friends, or neighbors, etc.) for so many years. I hope we can be close friends forever. There is an urgent and important QUESTION I would like to ask you. However, I’m hesitant to ask. I might offend you or I might be misunderstood (STOP & KEEP QUIET, WAIT FOR YOUR
PROSPECT TO RESPONSE)
Prospect will normally response and say, “What is the QUESTION?”
As “WE CARE” Bible Studies facilitator, you can say: The urgent and important QUESTION is this: “What if Christ were to come right now? Would you know for sure, nothing doubting, that you would go to heaven.”
Let us know the answer to this urgent and important QUESTION directly from the Bible and not from the opinion and interpretation of men, preacher and even the pope. The late Pope John Paul II said: “Something is not right because the church says it, or the pope says it. Something is right because the Bible says it.” (THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE, May, 2005 page 14)
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV)
At this time, you are ready to start the “WE CARE” Bible Studies with the prospect using the NEW Testament Soul Winner’s Checkbook Edition as chain reference and guide.
*Outline of Adult Bible Class handled by Art Gabot Madlaing. which started on August 21, 2011, at the Golden Gate Church of Christ, 701-8th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118
All attendees to the Adult Bible Class on HAPPINESS IS SHARING THE GOSPEL will receive a FREE copy of the “WE CARE” New Testament Soul Winner’s Checkbook Edition to be used at the Roll-Playing in sharing the Gospel of Christ. The Adult Bible Class may last for about 6-8 weeks.