The Royal Wedding – A Meditation

By Reah Bunsoy-Padla

“Where are you? The wedding is about to start!” This was my husband’s text message to me while I was at the grocery that dreamy Friday afternoon. I had been telling him that I was be preparing for the royal wedding. I planned on wearing a pretty dress instead of the usual, boring house clothes I’m always in. I even wanted to buy a fascinator (a.k.a. a hat) to put on. Call me crazy but I was too excited to witness what could be the Wedding of the Century.

All those plans didn’t materialize. I was too busy buying our groceries that I forgot I had to be home by 4 pm that day. When I finally got home, there were my husband and son in front of the TV. So I sat on the throne that is our sofa and started to watch intently a “fairy tale come true”.

Prince William was on his way to the Westminster Abbey, all handsome in his Irish Guard uniform. He reached the church to wait for his beautiful bride and princess-in-waiting, commoner Kate Middleton.

Every girl I know was excited to see what the lucky lady would be wearing. Her dress didn’t disappoint. The Grace Kelly-like wedding dress is now expected to be copied by future brides. She was beautiful. She even did her own makeup and still turned out to be the most beautiful woman in the world that day. Oh, how she naturally glowed!

Catherine Middleton preferred to ride a bridal car in keeping with usual tradition. She would arrive a commoner and leave as a royal, in a royal carriage. On her way to the abbey, Kate was waving to the people. It must have been exhausting—waving to your future subjects just before walking down the aisle.

As she arrived at the church she waved to the people again and walked down the aisle. She captured every guest’s attention. Kate once again made Prince William fall in love with her. She was so beautiful, every bit a princess.

Watching the first time they held hands in front of the altar reminded me of my own wedding. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. I could tell my husband remembered too, as he was glued to the TV.

Other than our own wedding day, the Royal Wedding, which showcased the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s obvious love for each other for all the world to see, also reminded me of another great event in the future – the Wedding of Christ as the Groom and the Church, His Bride.

Soon, we, His Church will be united with Him for all Eternity. Now that will be magnificent… Our very own Royal Wedding! That one will be the grandest Wedding of all weddings; the Day when Christ’s great Love for His Church will be fully made known.

For we are His Heavenly Bride. Christ has set us apart and has cleansed us from all our impurities by sacrificing His life for us. His death and resurrection proved that.

When our Lord Jesus Christ returns, the Bride will be ready, like Catherine Middleton, but so much more. We, The Church will even be more lovely because we shall have been made holy and blameless, pure and unblemished, radiant and divine by His most precious Blood. The blood of Christ that was shed on the Cross cleansed us. His righteousness and forgiveness became our beautiful wedding garment. The Church made Beautiful!

God’s love prepares the Bride for her Groom. Even now, The Church is being prepared for the coming of Christ, and It’s something I don’t want to miss! I look forward to being united with my Christ, as should all of us.

Someday, soon, our Groom shall kiss His Bride. And all shall Be as they were meant to Be.

When God Writes Our Love Story – Part 3

By Dr. Claire Celiz-Pascual

It’s a mixture of the old and a new love. A new chapter of our love story has begun to unfold, one that I still couldn’t believe I am writing about at this time.

When asked to write something about our anticipated bundle of joy, I thought about what was the most dramatic part of the story. But then I realized that there was no complexity as to how I became pregnant. We waited for the time that I was done with pediatric residency, and then at the first month into my “duty-free” year I already saw two lines in the pregnancy kit. The months that followed were actually unremarkable, just the usual symptoms. My ultrasound revealed normal results. So I am finding it hard to write this piece, fearing that you might actually skip this as there is nothing exciting to read about.

But I think it is in the simplicity of the events that I am once again overwhelmed by God’s favor in our lives. It was a tremendous favor that we were granted the timing that we have chosen to have a child. It was through His favor that I am having an uncomplicated journey into pregnancy, allowing me to enjoy every change and, at the same time, continuing my regular activities. Favor is a word we see very often in all the chapters of our love life, and we still continue to hold on to the promise of God’s great favor- unwavering and eternal.

No one knows what the future will hold. We are soon-to-be parents with all the usual anxieties. But we also know that our small circle of love, with God as the center, will soon become a little bit bigger, our gang of three will soon become a gang of four. I look forward to the day that, as I will aptly put it, hold “God’s promise” in my arms.

We are continuing to ask for the prayers of our church family, as we walk into this new stage of our lives.

IGNITE!


By Gary Jay Engcoy

“… but to wait for what the Father had promised, which,” He said, “you heard of from Me… you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses… even to the remotest part of the earth.” – Acts 1:4-5, 8 NASB

And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Acts 2:3-4 NASB

IGNITE!, the Young Adults (YA) Ministry retreat, which was held last April 21-23 at the Asia-Pacific Theological Seminary (APTS) in Baguio, was a great experience for everyone who attended. Being away from the business of life and in a place of solitude with God is a wish come true. Indeed, it was a chance for all of us to encounter God in different ways. leaving the place remarkably impacted by the Holy Spirit.

Fire, throughout humanity’s history, has been an integral part of our lives. It has proudly crackled in the midst of royal gatherings. Its humble flicker has inspired poets, writers, and leaders in their solitude. It has ravaged cities and yet has helped bake the very blocks to rebuild them. It has led armies into battle and has guided them home. Around a warm hearth stories, odes, and mysteries have been passed on to children, grandchildren, and great grand children. Legends were born under its watchful glow. It has been a symbol of destruction as well as a symbol of hope.

So now ask a very basic question: “What starts the fire?”

Ignite – to cause to burn, to set fire to, to subject to great heat, to arouse the passions of, to excite.

So often in the Bible the Holy Spirit is associated with fire. In the words of John the Baptist:

“John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” – Luke 3:16

The Holy Spirit was likened unto fire at Pentecost. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” – Acts 2:3

Clearly, fire has been chosen to symbolize the Holy Spirit, no doubt, because of what it does – Fire burns out the dross. Fire gives light. Fire gives warmth.

Oh, to be on fire for God!

Every engine needs an ignition to start it up. Every blaze starts with a spark. One match stick is enough to set a forest ablaze.

In YA, our vision is to produce best professionals; sharp, skilled, biblically founded, prayer driven; people who are spiritually empowered, excelling in their workplaces and inspiring people to know Christ; burning in the Spirit and, by that same Holy Blaze, igniting the whole world on fire.

We encountered God more than we expected. We pray that ICS, in God’s perfect time, would see its community ignited by His Holy Fire as well.

Shalom.
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Reflections – Two campers share their insights after the camp

Realization
I realized how selfish I had been for keeping myself to myself. I did not belong to myself. I belong to Him. I belong to His people.

A few days after the retreat, I still found myself very much overwhelmed with so many realizations in my life – a sudden realization that my life, the rest of it, or at least at this point in time – could be much different than its beginning. It came to me so suddenly, so clearly and completely that it brought me to tears. Honestly, it scared me.

My prayer was very simple – to feel His presence and to have an intimate conversation with Him – how to manage my life better and talk about some priority issues as well as my unfulfilled commitments to Him a year ago. I was very emotional when my turn came to share some of these with my fellow YA’s. As much as I wanted to, I was not able to contain the cries of my heart. I was pouring it all out and didn’t really care.

It was a beautiful afternoon just worshiping God and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. I decided to take a walk around the place; breathe some fresh air and be still. It was in my stillness when I felt Him close to me… comforting me.

As I opened my bible to refresh my spirit, I came across this beautiful passage from Isaiah 52:13-15. I’ve read it several times without really understanding its essence; I’d bookmarked and forgot about it before. But now, but now it was different.

Hours after the “Empowerment” session, I took time spending the last night being silent and intimate with Him. I found myself sitting in front of two lamp posts. When I opened my eyes, I noticed one of the posts was busted. “The owner would be sad seeing this post not working, not serving its purpose,” I thought. “These posts were created for a reason: TO BRING LIGHT. I can’t imagine myself walking in darkness without a light.“

My thoughts progressed. “What would the owner do to his busted lamp post? Destroy it? Replace it? Or just not mind it? As a responsible owner, he would call a technician first, the best technician he knows to repair it.” As I related it to myself, I realized that I could be that post. That there was a beautiful plan in my Creator’s mind for creating me. That I was born for a specific reason, not just to live. “

I went back to my Bible and read the passage that was revealed to me. The passage had a solid message for me, to my surprise. All the realizations and my encounter with Him that night started to make sense. It said:”You are here on this Earth to pursue this aim in your life. It is your purpose. That is all you are here to do. It is why your soul reached out. It is your destiny.”

Now, I feel so loved. I’m amazed how God works, how He answers my prayer and how things unfold in such a beautiful way. And so I pray, “Yes Lord. Prepare me. Lead me. Consume me. I belong to You.” – Lovely Rose Magdayao, Entrepreneur

Outpouring
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened,” Matthew 7:7-8

This was the promise that God carved deeply in my heart before heading up Baguio for IGNITE. I knew for sure something special and extraordinary awaited us. I kept holding on to His word and expected great things to happen. Personally I desired to be baptized and filled again by the Holy Spirit.

From the opening session, God was showering me His Presence – I felt the Holy Spirit throughout my body. I tried to contain Him as much as I could as the “empowerment” session wasn’t until evening. My efforts were futile. The Holy Spirit’s presence was so powerful; a gradual tremor as unto a volcano on the verge of eruption. My whole body trembled to the point where I couldn’t contain it any longer – I erupted. I yielded. I let go.

The next thing I knew, I was in one corner; kneeling, weeping, conversing and encountering God in my own intimate way. An unforgettable and wonderful experience it was indeed – beyond expectations, beyond imagination. Words can’t express how awesome it is to be in God’s presence.

Being baptized by the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop there. To quoted Pastor Abe Visca’s sermon, we are a “lion chaser”. Now that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, it’s time for us to let God use our lives to empower those who needs to be empowered – Dr. JJ Mendoza, M.D.

DVBS 2011: GOD’s CHAMPIONS!


DAILY VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Date and Time: May 2-5 at 9am-4pm
Venue: ICS Mayflower St. EDSA Central, Mandaluyong City
Open to kids 3-12 years old
2 options for Registration Fee:
A. Stay-in – P700.00 (will stay under church premises for 4 days and 3 nights)
B. Bring and Fetch – P400.00 (will be brought by parents at 9am and fetch at 4pm)

Registration is ongoing…

DVBS Oranbo:
Date and Time: Apr. 25-29 at 8am-12pm
Venue: Oranbo Elementary School
Open to kids 3-13 years old
Free admission

DVBS Ugong:
Date and Time: Apr. 25-29 at 2pm-6pm
Venue: Francisco Legazpi Memorial School
Open to kids 3-13 years old
Free admission

For more information please contact:
Sweety Tejedor (09067084631/632-1093)

Give your kids an excellent and fun way to spend their summer days…Let them join to our summer school of fun!

Thank God I’ve Finished – A Graduate’s Testimony

Thank God I’ve Finished
By Kristoffer John D. Tayco

“Thank God I’ve Finished!” These are the words that I shouted from my heart on our graduation day, when I had finished all the hard work and attained all my achievements. Thanking God always makes my heart feel glad and complete.

Four years ago, I entered college life as an Entrepreneurial Management student of Rizal Technological University.  It was also four years ago that I first heard from a friend about the true, great and wonderful love that only comes from God, who is my Creator and Lord.  I was amazed by this unconditional Love that my friend shared with me, about what Jesus had done for me. It was then that I first went to ICS as a first-time visitor.

Now four years have gone by and, through all my experience and hard work,
I have graduated as a college student. I now feel God’s kindness, goodness and mercy in my life and I am convinced that God is good in my life, both as a student and as
His servant.

There were times when would I help other people with their tasks. When they
would express their words of appreciation, I would feel that I had done a job well and there would be a smile in my heart for I know that I helped another person.

Then I would realize that it is the same as what God has done to me in my life, not just as a student but also as person in this world. God always helps me in all my circumstances, good or bad. He would help me without any complaint, just one act of love and joy after another, helping me in everything. Giving Him thanks brings a joy to my heart and creates strength in me for I know that there is a God who is the truereason for my success and victory.

Even when circumstances may cause me to fall, a word of encouragement rises in me, causing me to not give up and assuring me that God has a plan for me – a blessed life full of hope and a wonderful future! For this, I give thanks to the Lord! Continue reading

JESUS GIVES US A FRESH START

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By Rick Warren

Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life, and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven (1 Peter 1:3–4 MSG).

The apostle Peter says several things happen once you give your life to Jesus:As we enter Easter week, I want to make sure you thoroughly understand that Jesus is in the business of giving people a fresh start. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; it doesn’t matter where you’ve been; it doesn’t matter how bad you think you’ve blown it: Jesus will give you a fresh start.

You open up your life to God and get to know him.
You’re given a brand new life, which gives you everything to live for.
You get a future in heaven. Continue reading

God’s By-Product, and Yours

By Peter Petallo

I am the fourth of five siblings in our family. I was forced to stop going to college when my family faced a financial crisis. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by the Lord when He opened the way for me to become part of the ICS Scholarship Program as a source of financial support for my education.

I have always considered myself a strong, competitive and independent person who never needed somebody to lean on. But through our crisis, the Lord broke me and drove me to my knees. I learned to pray and cry out loud to Him. Ultimately, I humbly expressed to Him my debt of gratitude for His love, hope, provision, joy, satisfaction and favor and purpose.

Now, I speak as one who has grown and learned to fight in spirit through your efforts, values, words of wisdom, presence and prayers.

My dear ICS family, this is the heart you helped put in me – a person from a non-Christian family, who was once lost, empty, imprisoned – a nobody. But now, thanks to you, I am a person who has graduated college through your God given provisions. I have finally been reconciled to my family, and shown them how good and faithful our God is. By God’s grace, I have brought them, one by one, to the loving presence and salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

ICS, continue to be part of the molding of more people who will grow in passion and boldness in Christ, conquering and ministering in His Name! Let us never stop loving God and one another for there is an entire world outside, desperately looking and waiting for us.

These are the people have no time to rest, who are lost, who are empty, who are suffering in pain and from injustice. These people are blind, handicapped and wounded; they completely need the Jesus we already have. Even now they are starving for the truth we know, desiring to find the light, freedom and God’s unconditional love that we have encountered and who are still seeking for the salvation and promise which we now possess. Continue reading

The Graduate-Level Test: Self-Defense

“He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” – Psalm 37:6

As a believer grows in trusting obedience and love, God often brings a test that seems uncharacteristically cruel. The test: being wrongfully judged by those close to you. It is not for the reactionary. It cannot be passed over by simply gutting it out. Supernatural grace is the only means of passing this one. It is one of those tests the Savior had to experience Himself when being tried by the court of public opinion, the religious community, and the government of His day. His response to the government was silence. His response to the religious establishment was silence at the final judgment. To the rest of His accusers He remained quiet and left vindication to the Father. He lived the commandment He gave to the disciples: Continue reading