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Messy Saints: Talk 1 – Love Thy Neighbor


TalkExcerpts…BRO. AUDEE VILLARAZA:We’re starting a new series today called MESSY SAINTS. We’re going to take a deep dive into 1 Corinthians-- a letter from the apostle Paul to the people of Corinth.What’s awkward about this letter is that Paul is revealing the ugliness of what’s happening in Corinth. (Located in Peloponnese, Greece, now known as Archaia Korinthos.) He’s revealing skeletons in the closet. The letter was a private conversation between Paul and the Corinth community. The community was like a home church, like our Feast Lights which has 10-30 members per home. Most probably, a total of 150 parishioners.There are a few lessons to learn from 1 Corinthians:Paul knew the Corinthians He lived in Corinth for 18 months.Even if it’s labeled1 Corinthians, this is not the first letter. This is more like a reply to a letter they sent to him.After Paul lived in Corinth, he moved to Asia Minor. There, he received a letter from the people of Corinth. The letter said that there was a conflict in the community.So, Paul addressed them through 1 Corinthians. Paul addressed these five issues that were happening in church.Is something familiar to you? These are the same problems in home churches today.What was Paul trying to tell us? He was simply blasting our false idea that the church is perfect, like Heaven on Earth. If you expect the church to be perfect, you’ve got the wrong idea. As long as you are living on Planet Earth, the human church will always be chaotic.You don’t have to look far for proof. Look at your own life. Did your life become perfect when you started attending church? No! Then why expect church to be perfect? The people who head church are imperfect.Have you ever been questioned by some people, “Why do you get angry?You go to the Feast, right?”The perfect answer to that is this: “That’s precisely the reason I go to church-- I’m imperfect. I need God’s grace. I fail but at least, I’m in church. I learn from God.Let’s lift our hands as we all sing:Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my pathCorinth ‘Saints’When you’re writing a letter or an e-mail today, the first thing you do is you write the name of the one who’s going to receive the letter, and then you put your name in the end.Back in the day, it was different. They wrote their names first and then addressed the people they were talking to.But what’s interesting in this Scripture is how Paul addresses the people of Corinth:Wait a minute… You mean to tell me that these guys who are disobedient, disunited, self-righteous people are called to be saints? There’s a disconnect somewhere.I might say the same thing about you. Did you know that you’re called to be saints? May I give you an analogy…If you’re building a house, the first thing that you’re going to do is you’ll go to your architect so he can draw designs. But the moment

Messy Saints: Talk 1 – Love Thy Neighbor2024-03-09T03:19:32+08:00

Special Feast: You Belong in God’s Home


Talk We’d like to open the Book of Luke, Chapter 4. We’re going to take a page from this amazing piece of Scripture that talks about why Jesus came into our world: How many of you believe that? May I share with you my favorite core memory here at The Feast? It happened many years ago. I think I’ve shared this a couple of times. If you are new here, I pray that you receive this with fresh ears and an open mind. Many years ago, I was serving here at The Feast. One day, at the end of our session-- we had two sessions in the morning-- I was on my way to my car out there in the parking lot when somebody came up to me-- somebody I had never met, somebody I had never seen ever. I knew that he was a first-timer and that he didn’t know me. Why? Because he called me Brother. That means he is a first-timer. And because he called me only Brother, he didn’t know my name. He said to me, “Brother, may I talk to you for a few moments?” I was like, “Sure. How may I help you?” Before I knew it, he was already telling me his whole life-- about the struggles that he was going through and how he was a recovering alcoholic. And because he was living with the bottle for many years, eventually his wife of eight or nine years, left him and she took their two kids with her. For Whom Our Church Exists To cope with the loneliness, the pain, and the loss of his family, he became addicted to drugs. And at the time we met, he had been taking shabu for almost eight months. That morning, he decided to take a stroll around the Cultural Center complex with no agenda whatsoever. Then he saw a group of people, many people just going to a single venue-- and he got curious. So, he followed them, and before he knew it, he was being ushered to a seat in this big, massive hall by some of the most well-dressed and well- mannered people. By this time, he felt completely out of place. He had no idea what he attended. Eventually, the Mass started. And there was a part of him that wanted to stay but another part wanted to leave. But that part of him that stayed eventually started participating. He listened and by the end of the Talk, he shared with me, he was reduced to tears. Because for a long while, he hadn’t felt the love of God in his life. And he knew right then, at that moment, that he wanted to fix his life. He said something that I will never forget. He said, “Brother, do you think that there’s a place for someone like me in your church and your community?” And at that moment, you know, I thanked the Holy Spirit spoke through me because the

Special Feast: You Belong in God’s Home2024-03-03T14:35:40+08:00

Table Talks: Talk 6 – The Greatest Metric


Talk TODAY, I want to preach the message Love like Jesus.There is a person beside you who may need Jesus, who may need His love. Might be your husband or your wife. Might be your son or your daughter. Might be your mom or your dad. Or might be a friend. Or might be a stranger.Whoever that person is, I want you to be Jesus to that person and express the love of Jesus to that person. Either by handshake or a big hug, it doesn’t matter. Just express the love of Jesus to that person. Love like Jesus today.Fr. Mario loved us like Jesus this morning. Thank you so much. Always does. Thank you for the Word. Thank you for the Eucharist.So beautiful! What a gift!We want to thank our Worship Team for loving us like Jesus. Thank you.Thank you so much.Meet Engineer JunI want to tell you a story… Two weeks ago, I met this guy.His name is Engineer Jun. And his story is that at a very dark season of his life, he entered The Feast in Cebu.You see, Engineer Jun is a contractor. And you know, as a contractor, you give a little… I won’t bore you with the details…But two weeks ago, he was telling me that at that point, you know, things happened in his business thatwhen he entered The Feast in Cebu, he owed P120 million.If you were Engineer Jun, and you were buried under P120-million debt, how would you feel? Devastated. Hopeless. That’s how he felt.When he entered The Feast, not only did he have P120-million debt, he was being sued right and left by his suppliers.So, in his mind, he was saying, “That’s it. My life is over. It’s gone.”That’s when he walked into The Feast. And he started praying and he started worshiping. And then guess what happened?Somebody gave him-- of course, you’re a first-timer at The Feast, what do they give you? The Novena to God’s Love booklet.And that’s what he has there in his hand. There are spaces in the booklet for seven dreams you want to be fulfilled, right?He wrote: I will pay all my debts.He did not know how. But he wrote it down.The second he wrote was: All my court cases will be cleared.He did not know how that would happen. Okay?So, he kept writing his dreams. And then, No. 7, it was empty.And the first thing that came to his mind was: My wife, my family and I will go to the Holy Land.And as he was writing that, he was saying, “Ang dami ko ngang utang, paano ba ito?-- I have so many debts, how can this dream come true?”It was like impossible, right?Miracle at The FeastEngineer Jun walked into The Feast in Cebu in 2014. The servants there, they cared for him, they loved him.The leaders there spent coffee time with him. They just journeyed with him.Two weeks ago, Engineer Jun and I chatted, and he said, “All my debts have been

Table Talks: Talk 6 – The Greatest Metric2024-02-24T14:23:24+08:00

Table Talks: Talk 5 – Church is God’s Idea


TalkWe are going to take a page from the Book of Acts today. It’s beautiful reading.But before I do that, I just want to ask you this question: How many of you here are introverts? The textbook definition of an introvert is somebody who prefers to be alone, not be with other people. Introverts are the kind of persons who prefer to be in a smaller group instead of a large group.Some of us are introverts and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m an introvert myself. But for some reason, the Lord trusts me enough to push me out of my comfort zone. But you see, one problem is when you’re an introvert, you struggle with small conversations. Like you have difficulty when it comes to small talk.Like you don’t like gaps in conversation. Are you like me-- who likes to fill the gaps in a conversation with random things because you feel uncomfortable in that moment, that brief moment of silence?The problem with introverts, when you come to church, is that sometimes, the preacher likes to say, ‘Touch your neighbor,’ or ‘Talk to your neighbor’.And some of you, you prefer having church online. I’m speaking to the ones who are in that virtual space because you prefer not having somebody right next to you. Not having to, you know, eyeball-to-eyeball and talk with somebody.So, there are people who are introverts. But there are also people who are extroverts. Praise God for people like you who make the world fun to live in.Two Reasons God Involves You in Building His KingdomYou see, I used to think like this: If the Lord can do anything-- and He can do everything-- why is it that the Lord requires introverts like me, introverts like you, to have to do something out of our comfort zone?In Tagalog, kung kaya naman ni Lord, bakit sa akin pa ipagawa? -- If the Lord is able to do it, why make me do it?You ever think like that sometimes? That the Lord is so powerful that He can just snap His finger and solve all of your problems and give you all that you need?And in case you’re somebody who thinks like that, let me just say this:If that’s the kind of God that you want, somebody who will just grant your every desire, you don’t need a heavenly Father. You know what you need?You need a sugar daddy. Somebody who's just going to give in to your every whim. But God is not like that. He’s a parent.Two reasons God wants us to participate in building His Kingdom here on Earth:God wants to grow you. The only way that you can grow is to step outside of your comfort zone. Because that’s where growth is. It’s outside your comfort. It’s in the grinding where we It’s in the working where we develop our faith.And so God wants you to grow.God loves you. Imagine a father who couldn’t care less… He would simply let alone his child,

Table Talks: Talk 5 – Church is God’s Idea2024-02-18T17:08:21+08:00

Table Talks: Talk 4 – Damascus Road


Talk Friends, this is the Word of God. It’s alive and it’s active. And if you allow the Lord to speak, He is going to speak to you over whatever situation that you have. And I know you’ve got a situation that needs wisdom, that needs guidance. And so, we pray: Lord, that You will speak today through this message.  Let’s all sing together: Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.  Let me just lay down the foundation of our Talk. We are in Talk 4 of our series called Table Talks. We are talking about the beauty of our Spiritual Community, The Feast, to which you belong. Whether you like it or not, you’re part of this spiritual family. We’ve been telling you about the uniqueness of our Community. Today, the title of our Talk is Damascus Road. There is this 500-year-old chismis-- gossip-- about a debate that is still talked about to this day. You’ve probably heard this at least once in your life. And it’s about a very strange topic-- about this question: How is a person saved? You might say, “Bro. Audee, so deep question, so early in the morning.” Well, this is not your regular Sunday lunch topic, you know, with your fellow gossips. This Topic Is Very Deep The reason I need to bring this out is I think the problem with a lot of us Christians-- I included-- is that we’re so at home in this world. Do you agree with me? We’re so at home in this world that we forget that this is not our permanent home. Our permanent home is with God and so, we need to talk about topics like this: How do you save your soul? There are many, a few schools of thought, that would answer this question. But I’ll give you the two most common ones. People say that you can be saved by faith. That’s one thought. Other people would say that you can be saved by good works. By good deeds. But because we’re Catholics, I’ll share with you our Catholic belief-- our stand on this issue: How we are saved. St. Paul teaches us this: That we are saved by grace. From Ephesians 2:8-9: Paul was saying you cannot earn salvation by your good deeds alone. It’s only by the grace of God that you are saved. And that is true. But it’s not the complete picture. It’s true that God saves you by His grace. You cannot earn it. But here’s the thought: Does it mean that if I give my life to Jesus, if I say that He is my Lord and my Savior, starting right now, I’m saved? Yes. That’s true. So, does it mean that I can go home and kill my very annoying neighbor-- but still be saved? It doesn’t make sense… What Grace Does That’s true: Grace saves you. But that’s not the only thing that grace does. Grace

Table Talks: Talk 4 – Damascus Road2024-02-09T22:22:39+08:00

Table Talks: Talk 3 – The Greatest Party in the Universe


Talk We’re going to take one of the most famous Scripture stories in the New Testament that unless you have been living in a cave all your life, chances are you have heard the story at least once in your life. It’s called the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It’s a beautiful parable of Jesus and if you’ve heard it many times, I pray that God will give you fresh ears to hear, and new eyes to see His wisdom today. Let’s read: That’s all of us here: We want the blessing of God sometimes right now, instead of waiting for it. That’s the younger son. Here’s Surprising: His father agreed to divide his wealth between the two sons. And then, Hungry for Love That’s what happens when you’re hungry. You’re so hungry for affirmation of love, you’re going to get love from the wrong place, even from the wrong person. Because when you’re hungry that's a dangerous place to be in. And no one gave him anything. Verse 17 says: I declare that there’s somebody here who has been away from the Lord for so long, I want you to know that God sees you where you are right now, and as He sees you coming, He’ll be the first one to come running to you. And then, in Verse 21: I declare a party will begin here right now. But you know, the older brother, instead of celebrating, he became angry… The father looks at the older brother… Big Message Today Look at the neighbor beside you. Once upon a time, those brothers and sisters of yours, they were lost. But the day came when they were found and we praise God for that. Thank You, Lord, for Your love. Here is my big message for all of you today, and I hope you can help me preach this to someone next to you. My message today is this: Join the party. Fr. Mario would say, “Join the Jollibee party.”J Let’s pray: Father, Thank You, for this Word will come alive and it will change us today. That’s what You want. You want us to be transformed according to who you have called us to be. Whatever distraction or hindrances that might prevent us from hearing Your Word, Father, we let go of that-- shatter our expectations today. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen. One more time, Everybody. lift your hands and sing… Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path. Life Comes in Stages A few years ago, we (my wife Kristel and our three-year-old son Ethan) were in the middle of traffic on EDSA. All of a sudden, there was this Harley Davidson motorcycle that came up right next to us. You know, those big bikes that are so loud you cannot help hearing them. I don’t drive a motorbike but if I could I would do it. If I had the resources, yes, I would buy a motorbike.

Table Talks: Talk 3 – The Greatest Party in the Universe2024-02-03T01:53:41+08:00

Table Talks: Talk 2 – Matthew’s Table


TalkWELCOME to Talk 2 of our Table Talks: Community Recipes of Love.Today we are going to talk about Matthew’s Table.And the big message of the talk today is this: God loves sinners.And it’s true. Who among here has committed sins or mistakes? Have you ever felt this: Do you sometimes really think:“Lord, have You really forgiven me? Do You really love me-- despite my sins?” And sometimes, they are repeated. You know that --because when you confess. you tell the priest the same sins over and over again.But today, I want to remind you that God loves sinners. Period.Even before you repent, even before you change your ways, even before you stop the wrongdoings and follow God.Why? Because that is called grace-- grace that is freely given. You do not need to do anything. You just have to receive it.And my question to everyone today is this: Do you want to receive that grace of God today?If you want to receive that grace from God, I invite you all to raise your hands to the Word of God, as we sing:Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path. This passage is the very foundation of why we do our Feast and how we do our Feast.What’s the status of your heart today? Who among here needs Jesus’ healing and grace?I believe that His invitation is at this place today:Come, dine with me. I am your healer. I can heal you.Put your hands over your heart and let’s pray:Thank You, Lord, for loving me despite my sins, my past, my failures. And Lord, teach me to see myself the way You see me. Amen.Let’s raise our hands to the Word of God and sing:Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path. So, I guess that passage we just read pretty much sums up what we want to do here at The Feast. Because our goal here at The Feast is to gather sinners to experience Jesus’ love.Have you experienced Jesus’ love here? Yes!Did you notice that we read from Mark that the tax collector who invited Jesus was named Levi?Then, why is the Talk titled Mathew’s Table? Do you know who Levi is? Levi is the tax collector who later on would be called Matthew the Apostle.And in their context, it was very controversial what Jesus did. Back then, Israel was conquered and governed by the Romans. And imagine, Levi, or Matthew, working for the Roman Empire as a tax collector-- imposing heavy taxes on the people.So, people would think, “He is a traitor. He is a Jew but he is following the Roman Empire and oppressing us…”So, what Jesus did was very controversial. Why did Jesus dine with Matthew?The nerve, right? But that passage is saying God told us that Jesus came for everyone. Everyone included.Tell the person beside you, “Kasama ka.--You are included.”Even your officemates. Sometimes, we hate our officemates who boss us around… Sometimes, we hate

Table Talks: Talk 2 – Matthew’s Table2024-01-27T01:46:58+08:00

Table Talks: Talk 1 – Lost Sheep


Talk WELCOME to Table Talks. For the next few weeks, we are going to talk about Community Recipes of Love. We’re going to talk about us. We’re going to talk about The Feast. We’re going to talk about Community. We’re going to talk about our Family identity, our Family vision, and also our Family strategy for fulfilling that particular vision. For those of you who are new here, at The Feast, some of the things I will be saying will be very surprising-- maybe even shocking. Why? The Community that you joined is radical. It is controversial. It is wild. And it is not only this Community. But we belong to a revolutionary Kingdom that is turning this world upside down. We are not worshipping or following a king that is wanting to maintain the status quo. No. We are following a Commander-in-Chief. His name is Jesus and he wants to turn the world upside down. We are His soldiers and we say we will do what He wants us to do. Now, for those of you who have been in The Feast for quite a while, for a few years already, you will be hearing stuff that you’ve heard before. That’s okay. Because like anything in life, if you want to be successful, if you want to mature, if you want to be whole, repetition is the mother of all skills. Marketing Rule of Seven There is a guy, a business author, his name is Jeffrey Fox. And he talked about the Marketing Rule of Seven. He says that you need to hear a message seven times before you take action. Now, he’s talking about selling soap and selling shampoo. But I am going to talk about eternal truths like the incredible unconditional love of God; God’s plan for humanity; and God’s mission for you and me. So, we are not going to hear this only seven times, we’re going to hear this seven million times-- we want to absorb it, and embrace it in our hearts. Especially if you understand what’s happening in the world: The Church is shrinking. Attendance is going down. In a survey done, they were saying that in Spain, for example, there are only 31% of the population who go to church. In Germany, it’s down to 16% of the population. In France, it’s 10%. It’s 9% in Australia. T he Philippine Experience In the Philippines, would you believe, a Bishop was telling me, quoting his studies, that only 15% of Catholics go to church on a Sunday. Now, if you think about it, you might say, Bro. Bo, it doesn’t seem like it. You know when you go to churches, parishes are full. You know, there are many, many Masses on a Sunday and they seem full. How is it possible that only 15% of Catholics go to church on a Sunday? The idea is like, yeah, it seems there are many. So, what I did, I said, let me confirm this

Table Talks: Talk 1 – Lost Sheep2024-01-20T20:44:00+08:00

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time


Reading I 1 Sm 16:1-13 The LORD said to Samuel: “How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons.” But Samuel replied: “How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me.” To this the LORD answered: “Take a heifer along and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.” Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired, “Is your visit peaceful, O seer?” He replied: “Yes!  I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet.” He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves and invited them to the sacrifice. As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel:  “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel, who said, “The LORD has not chosen him.” Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.” Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.”  Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, “There–anoint him, for this is he!”   Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.  When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah. Responsorial Psalm 89:20, 21-22, 27-28 R.        (21a)  I  have found David, my servant. Once you spoke in a vision,             and to your faithful ones you said: “On a champion I have placed a crown;             over the people I have set a youth.” R.        I  have found David, my servant. “I have found David, my servant;             with my holy oil I have anointed him, That my hand may be always with him,             and that my arm may make him strong.” R.        I  have found David, my servant. “He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,             my God, the Rock, my savior.’ And

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time2024-01-17T05:01:10+08:00

Let God Continue The Good Work He Began In You


Talk BRO. AUDEE VILLARAZA: Happy New Year, Feast! I want to lay down the foundation of my talk first. Quick question: How many of you are ready and fired up for this year? I’m sure you are. And you know, a lot of us, whenever we enter into a new year, we’re ready to leave behind everything else last year. And I’m sure you’re ready to leave behind, you know, moments of failure, moments of mistakes, stuff that you want to leave in 2023. But may I negotiate with you just a bit? You know, sometimes, I feel like in our excitement, we miss an important step that God wants us to take -- before we leave the previous year. Because He transforms us in that process. What do I mean by that? Let me just share something very personal and private. This message I’m bringing this to you is somewhat of a struggle because, during our break in the last two weeks, I was praying whether I would share this or not. And God compelled me to do it. Were you here during our Feast on December 17, 2023, where I announced that I'm going through a personal crisis, a midlife crisis? You remember that? Oftentimes, you will never hear people announce that, much less even acknowledge it before a thousand people. And that’s what I did. But there’s a reason I needed to do that. What is funny is that whenever I would prepare a talk, I would gravitate toward a topic that already happened. I would talk about challenges that I already defeated, trials that I already overcome, battles already beaten. But in this case, this trial is something that’s happening in my life. Midlife Crisis The reason I’m sharing this is I believe that we bond in weakness, never in strength. Let me say that again: we bond in weakness, never in strength. We connect all the more when we know that we’re not the only ones struggling in this life. When you know that the person sitting next to you is going through the same storm and the same problem as you are, it kind of makes you feel that God also loves you. And God is fair. Am I correct in that? It makes you connect to know that hey, we’re the same. If the preacher in front of you whom God loves has some struggles that God is helping him to overcome, then maybe, just maybe, you will think, “God also loves me and God is also doing something about my trials.” So, that’s the reason I’m sharing this. You know, my good friend Mike Viñas, during our Christmas Light Group (Caring Group) meeting last December, asked me this question: “Bro, how did you know that you’re through a mid-life crisis?” That’s a good question. Because how in the world would you know that you’re in a midlife crisis? Is there like a rapid test kit that you buy from the drugstore?

Let God Continue The Good Work He Began In You2024-01-13T23:53:23+08:00