Archive for November, 2013

The light shining in the darkness

November 18th, 2013
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Read John1-3

Luke18:31 -32(a)

 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them,

 This is private instruction to the twelve, not the large crowds surrounding him on the journey.

 “We are going up to Jerusalem,

 We see that emphasis on Jerusalem. That’s the deliberate destination.

 The book of Luke started in the temple in Jerusalem and it is going to finish up there.

 and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.

 This is not about specific prophecies but more the charaterizing the scriptures of Israel as giving witness to the purpose of God culminating in what happens to Jesus. It is as Son of Man that Jesus fulfills the divine plan.

 32(a) He will be delivered over to the Gentiles.

 Jesus has already spoken of the Jewish leadership. The culpability is widened. Is it God who delivers over or the Jewish leadership?

 This is something we hear repeated by the early church in Acts 4:27-28

 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.

 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

 In no way are just the Jews Christ killers. All mankind is implicated. And it leaders were the most ignorant. C.S. Lewis:

 The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

 From The Screwtape Letters


They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;

 One of the primary properties of execution among the Romans is the humiliation of those condemned to die.

 These actions described were meant to disgrace the victim thoroughly.

 There is something quite startling in this description. It is offensive to everyone’s expectations about the Messiah.

 The Greco -Roman world was an honour system built around privilege, power and material possessions.

 Jesus is saying that he as the embodiment of the fullness of salvation was to live a life of humility and not self – glorification. He himself was the embodiment of what he was requiring of his disciples in his teaching: suffering shame in leaving home and family for the sake of the kingdom.


they will flog him and kill him.

 This Kingdom really doesn’t make sense. One cannot understand the story of conquest under Joshua, but a Kingdom founded on a humiliaterd and killed King?

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Message for the Day

Philipiine Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Update

November 18th, 2013
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Dear GCI brethren in the Philippines and overseas,

Since the Super Typhoon Yolanda struck central Philippines last November 8, the situation remains bleak. The death toll statistics from different agencies vary, but the official report from the government as of this writing said it is now about 4600, and rising.

In the hardest hit area of Tacloban City, as well as in other affected places in Leyte, Samar and Kalibp, Aklan, thousands have died while others are half-alive from fatigue, hunger, and disease from infections and scarcity of hygiene supplies and medicines. These people would like to flee to neighboring cities, like Cebu and Samar, and even as far as Manila to seek temporary refuge from an otherwise deadly situation in Tacloban City but there is a lack of transport facilities.

We praise God that most of our GCI brethren in Tacloban and other disaster-hit areas are already accounted for; and while their homes and belongings have been damaged, they are safe.

This is really an overwhelming crisis for the Philippines government and considering the scale and scope, there is a need for everyone to join in this humongous effort. Thank you so much brethren for the outpouring of prayers and willingness to help in service and in kind. These updates will give you some of the ways our brethren have been helping and the other needs emerging.

Kalibo and Antique

In the last several days, I have visited the brethren in Kalibo, Aklan. By God’s grace there were no casualties.

I had the chance to personally see the extent of the damage they sustained in their homes and properties. Thirteen families had damaged houses. Three of those were totally damaged, and the affected brethren are temporary sheltered in relatives. One family lost their poultry houses, their main source of livelihod. Two families lost their retail store business. I saw the overwhelming destruction of infrastructure, including facilities for telecommunications, transport and money transfer.

Over a short Wednesday service on candle light, I have relayed your love and prayers for the brethren there. During my visit to them, I represented you all in delivering to them the first wave of support for food and initial help for building material.

Next week, we will also be delivering the next wave of support primary for providing generators, for restoring power and communications through phone charging, and support for housing reconstruction and livelihood transitioning.

Relief Operation Team to Tacloban and Samar in Visayas

A team consisting of Dr. Rey Tanajura, Ptr. Tom Sotalbo, Ptr. Jonathan Jimenez, Atty. Cielo Vidal, and Orly Osillios, left Manila on Friday, November 15, for over a day’s drive to Samar and Tacloban. They are going to check on and minister to our brethren there, provide prayers and counseling, and gather more information of needs on the ground. They left bearing relief goods for affected brethren and their families, with supplies to last for a week, as well as a power generation set. Donations from our churches and brethren have contributed towards these supplies, which will go a long way.

This will be the first of other batches of relief and counseling to be dispatched to the Visayas region. Please pray for travelling mercies and special protection for our team, especially as they approach the worst-hit areas where security is also a concern.

Outreach at Villamor Airbase, Manila

Villamor Airbase is the drop-off point in Manila for typhoon victims arriving on the government’s C-130 planes. Brethren mainly from Sta Rosa Church and joined by others, have also started volunteering to support Tacloban refugees coming into Manila. They have been busy providing relief goods, counseling and other manpower support. From their report, they still need donations of food, medicines, slippers and transport vehicles to shuttle the victims to public transport hubs to reach their families.

As of this writing, we are mobilizing to send more tents for use of our brethren, doing the outreach in Villamor, as well as slippers and food. We are also calling for volunteers are needed for various tasks including crisis counseling, marshaling, goods disbursement, feeding efforts, and other work, especially at night because the operation is 24 hours.

SEP Community Volunteers for Re-Packing Efforts

Staff and campers from the SEP Luzon community also recently volunteered for re-packing of relief goods at Ateneo de Manila University, one of the satellite sites of the Philippines’ Dept. of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). They joined other young people and volunteers in putting together family packs to be deployed by the Philippine government to Tacloban and surrounding areas.

Moving Forward

These are just examples of ways by which our church and our brethren are taking action, and allowing themselves to be used by God as instruments of love and provision to our brethren and countrymen who are badly in need of help.

We would also like to thank our churches and brethren from all over the Philippines and around the world, for the outpouring of prayers, encouragement and help. To the churches and brethren who have already responded with donations in cash and in kind, your contributions are going a long way to help our affected brothers and sisters. We praise God for your compassion and selflessness.

Our gratitude also to our brethren and partners from the GCI headquarters and across the US for their generous donation, which will help our brethren rebuild their homes and address their immediate basic needs. We are truly blessed to part of a worldwide family, through whom we powerfully experience God’s love, despite the distance.


PS Donations are being raised in all local churches in Australia.


Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 236 | Wed 13 Nov 2013

November 13th, 2013
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 Representatives from Burma’s various ethnic rebel armies came together in Myitkyina, Kachin State, on 4 November for two days of talks aimed at brokering a multilateral peace agreement with the regime. The parties have agreed in principle to sign a nationwide cease-fire and to establish a framework for political dialogue.

The main obstacle to peace will be the 2008 constitution written by the military to serve the military’s interests. It mandates centralisation while the long-marginalised and persecuted ethnic nations are seeking autonomy in a confederation.

The Burmese army continues to wage war and commit gross human rights abuses and violence against the Christian Kachin as punishment for their resistance to Burmese-Buddhist exploitation. Talks will resume in December. Please pray for believers and that God will bring peace to Burma.

To read full report please click here.