Talk: October 3, 2021 Talk 4 : Invited vs Chosen WE’RE back to our exciting study of Matthew. We continue our series, The Clash and today we tackle Talk 4: Invited vs. Chosen. Today, I want to preach the wonderful message, Come to The Feast. At the start of the talk, may I recruit your imagination? Picture you were a Jew living in Jerusalem, around the year 90 AD, the same time the Gospel of Matthew was written. Since you were a tiny kid in diapers, the Torah was drilled into your skull; The 613 Laws of Moses were your life and oxygen; They were your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You ate Kosher food—no pork, no crabs, no shrimp, no tulya, tahong, adidas, bopis, Betamax, IUD… You observed the Sabbath to the letter—you didn’t even light a fire to cook anything on Saturdays. And then you met Jesus. He revealed the Father to you in such a revolutionary way, you were never the same again. And you followed Him. But you remained a Jew, still following the 613 Laws of Moses. It was easy because The Feast Light (He-he)— okay, house church—you were attending, out of the 16 members, all were Jews like you. But one fateful day, strange people started to join: A Greek guy with tattoos and a few earrings, an Ethiopian guy with a funny accent, and a woman who admitted working as a prostitute. They all wear funny clothes, didn’t speak Hebrew, and even smell different. But they say they believe in Jesus. Obviously, you get the shock of your life when they don’t know, much less do any of the 613 Laws of Moses. You fall off your chair when you learn they all eat dinuguan, gambas, crispy pata—all unclean food. They don’t know who Abraham is. And they all work on Saturdays. OMG! You pull the Feast Light Leader to the corner and complain. “I don’t like those new guys,” you say. “How can they follow Jesus but not Moses? This is wrong. We’re destroying our church!” But in truth, God was building the Church. And Matthew’s Gospel was speaking into this divisive situation. Today, we have the same problems. When we meet someone with different beliefs and practices, we think we’re better than them. But Jesus is condemning this elitist attitude. God is building a Kingdom that embraces everybody. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Jesus is saying: In God’s Kingdom, He Favors the Underdog Let’s now dive into our key passage: Matthew 22:1-14… The first line says: Because this parable belongs to a set of three parables: You can call these the “underdog parables” because especially in the first and third parable, there were two groups— a top dog and the underdog—and by some twist, the underdog wins. Why? God always favors the underdog. Today, in your situation, do you feel like an underdog? Do you feel like David fighting Goliath? Dear friend, God is fighting beside you.
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Talk: September 26, 2021 The Clash TALK 3: Greed vs. Generosity WE continue our Feast series titled The Clash. Our Talk today, Talk 3, is titled Greed vs. Generosity-- about the clash between the greed of the Pharisees and Sadducees and the generosity of Jesus. We tend to be greedy because we think and act like we own our Life. Let’s start with something really basic: I’ll answer by sharing how I read the Bible. Every morning, before I read, I start by making the Sign of the Cross. Sometimes, I imagine the Father touching my forehead, the Son touching my heart, and the Holy Spirit enveloping me and embracing me. And then I pray, Why? It’s my date with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Here’s my point: God must speak to me about my here and now, in my present situation. He knows what I’m going through. He knows the burdens I carry in my heart. He knows my joys and tears. I’m His beloved, and I expect Him to speak to me. The Missing Step But there’s an important step many persons miss: Before you personalize, you must contextualize. What does that mean? For some reason, God did not ask an angel to ship the Bible to our mailbox. The Bible didn’t drop from Heaven on a silver platter. God used human authors to write the Bible. Hundreds of them. And God didn’t zap these authors into a half-conscious trance, control their hand or dictate every word. God didn’t bypass the author’s idiosyncrasies, personality, intelligence, culture, and history. Meaning? I too should not bypass the author. I cannot just pluck out a Bible verse and read it with my modern eyes. Before I personalize the Bible, I must enter into the world of the human biblical author. Bottomline, If you notice, this is what you’ve been learning at The Feast—contextualizing before personalizing. Yes, it’s harder work. It’s so easy just to read a few verses that can make us feel good. But I promise you—if you do the hard work of understanding the original intent of the author, the spiritual fruits you’ll bear are all worth it… Two Benefits of Respecting the Human Biblical Author First, if you contextualize, you’ll avoid the extreme errors of Bible interpretation. Hey, it’s super easy to be deceived. For 2000+ years, many religious persons sincerely believed that God told them to do crazy things, like abandon their wife and kids, or marry 18 wives, or kill themselves in mass suicide, or massacre a million persons— because God told them to do so in the Bible. Second, if you contextualize before you personalize, you’ll get God’s fuller message for your life. Like the parable we’re about to read today. It’s actually mind-blowing, if you understand the context. Are you ready? An Infographic of The Bible Welcome to our empowering exploration of Matthew. Today, I’d like to preach the message: Once again, the common mistake we want to avoid is
Talk: September 19, 2021 The Clash TALK 2: Righteousness vs. Repentance WELCOME back to our inspiring study of Matthew. Today, I want to preach the simple and comforting message, “God’s mercy is bigger than all your mistakes.” Today, we continue our Feast talk series, The Clash, with Talk 2: Righteousness vs. Repentance. I’ve met a lot persons who think that just because they made wrong choices, God won’t bless them anymore. But the truth is that we’ve all made mistakes. Perhaps you gave yourself to addictions. Or you were a rebellious child and made your parents unhappy. Or you married the wrong person. Or you didn’t raise your kids well. Or you made poor financial decisions. I want to give you hope today. Your future is brighter than your past. How do I know? Because God’s mercy is bigger than all your mistakes. Have You Missed Your Chance? I’ve met so many who think they’ve “blown” it. Persons like Jordan and Cindy. While still single, Cindy got pregnant at 18 years old. They rushed into marriage and both had to drop out of college. Today, every day is a struggle to survive. When I talked to them, I realized that the lack of money was not just their problem. Jordan and Cindy lacked of hope. Guilt was eating them up. At the back of their mind, they felt they deserved their poverty as punishment for their sins. They told me, “Brother Bo, we blew it. We missed our chance at a happy life.” Meet the God of Second Chances I told them, “You’re wrong. Your mistake can never be bigger than His mercy.” I then talked about a few not-so-perfect persons in the Bible. About Jacob—how he lied, deceived, and swindled. Yet God named an entire nation after him. About David—how he became an adulterer and a murderer. Yet God still made him the greatest king of Israel. About Elijah—how he ended up depressed and a coward before Queen Jezebel. Yet he was there with Jesus and Moses at the miracle of the Transfiguration. About Peter—how hot headed, temperamental, and out-of-control guy he was. Yet God made him the head of the Church. About Paul—how he was a murderer of saints. Yet God made him one of the greatest apostles of the Bible. I told Cindy and Jordan, “If you read the Bible, the biggest stars were the biggest sinners…” This reminds me of something that happened some years ago. My Experience as a Father One day, when my son was 5 years old, he said, “I want to cook pancakes!” While he was in the kitchen, it sounded like the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When I followed him, I saw the chaos mentioned in the book of Genesis. Like a tsunami hit our kitchen. There were broken eggshells everywhere, flour on the floor, spilled milk on the table. He made so many mistakes. But then again, I expected him to make mistakes. Not just in cooking.
Talk: Big Day September 12, 2021 The Clash TALK 1: Prophet vs. Provocateur Part 1 TODAY, I want to preach the message, “God wants to restart your life.” In the Jurassic era of the 1990s, I bought a “homemade” owner jeep. In one sense, it was “brand new”. And yet in another sense, it was as old as when General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines in 1944. It was brand new because it was newly assembled by Manong in his talyer. But it was as old as MacArthur because every spare part came from scrap vehicles, dating back to World War II. But if there was one thing I was proud of my jeep, it had strong air-conditioning (AC). I asked Manong to enclose my jeep with doors so I could have it air-conditioned. I specifically told him, “Make my AC really powerful.” And that’s what he did. The air-con he installed was huge. So, it was freezing inside. And because my jeep was painted All-White, I called it Ref. But alas, the air-con was the only good thing about it. Everything else was a disaster. The engine itself was so old, my top speed was 40 kilometers per hour (kph). If I went above that, the jeep’s body would shake so bad, little bolts and rusty bits fall off as I drove. I may not get caught for speeding— but littering. Even the jeep’s brakes were bad. Three times, I pressed on the brake and nothing happened. I had to step on the road a la Flintstones. (No joke.) Trivia: The Flintstones is an American animated situation comedy (sitcom) produced by Hanna Barbera Productions broadcast on television by ABC from September 30, 1960, to April 1, 1966, and became popular in the Philippines up to the 1970s. The show is a comical version of the Stone Age combined with technologies in America’s 20th century. The lead family, the Flintstones, and their rival neighbor, the Rubbles, live in a town called Bedrock. They have cars made of wood and rock— with no fuel. The drivers make the car move by running while inside the car. Somehow, like my jeep! I kept bringing the jeep back to Manong for repairs every other week. So, I actually funded the college education of his four kids. I felt my jeep had self-esteem issues. Matampuhin siya. Whenever I’m driving and see a modern, super car, and tell myself, “I should have bought a car!” At that moment, my jeep’s engine would just stop. I had to pat the dashboard and say, “Joke lang. I really like you…” for the engine to come back to life. But one day, I had it. I was pushing the jeep more than driving it, my biceps and calf muscles were getting extra-large. I brought the jeep back to Manong and asked, “If you owned this jeep, what would you do?” He motioned me to walk 50 meters from his talyer.“Why are we talking far away?” I
Talk: Big Day HI, EVERYBODY! Welcome to The Feast! And I pray that God will just pour out love and His blessing into your life. We have three stories I want to share with you. Before I do, let me share my message: How we see something changes that something. How we perceive that something changes that something. Let me apply that to God perceiving us, looking at us, seeing us with His eyes of love. Because by the way He looks at us with love, we get changed. Here are my three quick stories: A Cheesy story; A Shopping story; and A Love story. The Cheesy Story What’s the Cheesy story? Here it is: It is about a dying girl with her barkada, gang-mate with other guys doing stuff together-- loving God, serving God. Beautiful, beautiful group. Now the guy is on that stage when he needs to move on-- start a family. So, he starts praying, “Lord God, who do you want me to marry?” Then the image of his friend, his girl barkada, flashes in his mind, flashes before his eyes. And he is like, “Really? That girl? But she’s just my barkada.” So, he keeps on praying and praying. And he looks at the girl and says, “Yeah, it’s possible.” Because he checks the criteria (a list of qualities, character traits which in our Light of Jesus Family we recommend singles to check out so that they will make the right choice for a spouse). The guy begins to tick off the qualities and he says, “Right, this is the girl I’m looking for.” So, he starts courting the girl. And man, this single girl comes up to me and says, “Bro. Bo, si ganito, nililigawan ako… Yuck!” She looks like she wants to throw up – not because she doesn’t like the guy, but that she regards him just as a friend. So, when he starts making the moves, she just can’t handle the situation. I tell her, “I’m not gonna give any advice— except one thing: Just bring this thing to prayer.” That’s what she does. She brings the matter to the Lord. And the Lord says, “Yeah, give him a shot.” You know, these guy and girl are now married. They’ve got kids. They’ve got a fantastic family. They’ve got a beautiful marriage. So, did the girl and the guy actually change? No. What changed was their perception. When your perception about something or someone changes, that something or someone changes. The Shopping Story Here’s my second story: This friend of mine calls me and says, “Bro. Bo, I need help.” He describes his financial difficulty and adds, “I am not asking you for money. I am asking you to help me by buying some of my stuff I wanna get rid of. Then he gives me a list of his stuff, and the only kind of useful for me was a guitar… So, I bought the guitar. Two years later, I
Big Day THE Healing Love of God is flowing into your life right now. I’m declaring it. I’m speaking forth these words: The Healing Love of God is flowing into your life. Amen and Amen. If you want to receive the Healing Power of God, if you want to pray for healing power of God, you need to act in three ways. Number 1: Seek God. All throughout the Bible, God heals. In the Gospels, Jesus heals thousands. The same Jesus walked in Galilee 2000 years ago is the same Jesus here living with us. You pray as you go to Mass, as you go to The Feast. Jesus and His healing are the same yesterday today and forever. I say it again: God’s Healing Love is flowing into your life. Seek it. But when I say seek God’s healing, I’m not just saying pray for God’s healing. But seek it, work for it, cooperate with His Grace. I’ll tell you a sad story… I was praying for someone with lung cancer, and then we chit-chat, and we ate together, and then after we ate, I saw him go to the back of his house, and I saw him smoking. No judgment. I don’t know why he still does that. He knows it’s wrongand all that. He has lung cancer but he still smokes. No judgement. I am not condemning this particular person because I don’t know his reason, and I don’t know his situation. All I am saying is, generally, when you say I seek God’s healing, you’re not only praying for it-- but you’re finding ways by which you can cooperate with the grace of God that brings healing. So that means finding a way to live a healthy lifestyle, finding ways to have healthier habits, learning how to take care of your body. I just needed to say that. Number 2, very important, you need to surrender to God’s Plan. I connect this to what I shared last week: God knows better how to heal you. He knows if the healing would be instant—or would it be gradual? Would it be with the help of medicines, would God use a doctor, or surgery? You know, we just need to leave that up to God-- even leave the chance that… what if God does not want to heal you physically, but He wants to heal you spiritually, or some other ways? You know, we have no control. There is no formula. But that’s the message we shared with you last week. And I’m going repeat it today: Do not trust any formula. If there’s a preacher or any healing book that says there’s a formula —“You do this: A,B,C,D, and the healing will happen. Guaranteed!” Hmmm, do not trust a formula. There is no formula. Trust in God. Trust that He knows best. And there are times that He does not answer the way we want Him to answer. You say, “I surrender myself to Your
Big Day THERE are times when God answers my prayers and gives instant healing right there. You know (there are cases when) the doctor says to a patient, we can’t see the tumor and the tests have turned negative. You know there was a lump there… now there is no lump. You know, there are times when (the healing) is instant. But there are times when God decides to heal one slowly, though time. And the person recovers. And praise God! But why was it not instant like the other time? I don’t know. There were times when God would heal without medicines. You know, we just prayed and when she was going to the doctor… But before she was on her way to the doctor, the healing happens. But there are times when God will not answer my prayers in the way I want Him to. Because that person I was praying for did not get well physically. You ask me why? I don’t know. But this I know: He knows what is best. And I go back to the very simple teaching that in human life, there are two domains: the domain that I have control of, and the domain where I have zero control. Meaning to say, in this area I control, I’m going to take responsibility. And I’m going to take care of myself. And I’m going to find a way to heal myself. And I’m going to pray earnestly. And then I am going to take my medicines. And I’m going to do radical self-care. But at the end of the day, I will leave everything in the hands of God. Because there is a territory where I have no control over. And that’s why there is anxiety. And that’s why there is fear. And I need to trust in God. Today, God is asking you: “Trust Me. From beginning to end, trust in Me. I love you. I know what is best for you.” We’re still reflecting on this beautiful story about this woman touching Jesus and getting healed, receiving the healing power of God (Mark 5: 21-29). I want you to know that she didn’t touch Jesus. And that’s what we need. So, here’s the thing: Let’s pray that we receive the healing of God through this series. But I’m also praying another prayer… That you become the cloak of Jesus. Today, you’re going to hear from my fellow preacher, Philip Sumera, our Feast Builder for young people in Feast Manila. He is an amazing preacher and you will be very, very blessed. Talk: Big Day August 22, 2021 HOW are you? Kumusta po kayo? I am all set to serve you today. Allow me to start with a story. I remember when my wife Sally and I were invited to be guests in this amazing Father and Son Tandem at Fast Talk where we had a great time with Bro. Alvin Barcelona and his son Aio. There was a segment
Big Day THIS is my joy that I am able to serve you and I am praying for us as we are going to enter into a very special series. God knows what you need. He knows what you need to hear. So, I’m praying that you are going to hear it right now in Jesus’ Name. Amen. Our one big message today is this: Love is on the way. And I am praying that Love is on the way toward your direction right now. Where does this come from? Okay. Let me breathe. Because this is going to be difficult. Love is on the way. This one big message is in my reflection on the passing on of a dear, beloved friend, Fr. Michael La Guardia. We honored him last week. I just want to tell you one story about him. Sigh…Yes, my heart is grieving… Can you imagine… He was only 56 years old—so young… His passing so sudden… Like, we were just exchanging messages online a few days ago… And all of a sudden… So, yes, sometimes, when I think of Fr. Michael… I’m sad, I am very sad. But there is this beautiful moment when I smile. And the reason is this: I remember how much he loved us and how he loved me. Because he is so personal in his love. Mike Viñas, one of our preachers, posted this about Fr. Michael: “You know, akala ko lang ang special sa iyo…I thought I was the only one special to him. You know, Fr. Michael…he made you feel like he loves you, like you are special to him. And akala ko ako lang ang close sa inyo. ‘Yun pala, lahat ng tao—which is amazing.” Anyway, I was sick with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID). When I was recuperating, you know what Fr. Michael would do? He would visit me, give me Holy Communion. And I’m telling you, I would tell him, my wife Marowe would tell him, “Fr. Michael, you know, nakakahiya… You’re very busy…” And then, he would say, these are his words: “It’s okay. You’re on the way.” And that struck me, as in, “Wait a minute…Waaait a minute…” May I share with you what he did? He said he was supposed to visit his mom. Now, I want you to think with me… Geographically: Fr. Michael is here… he is in Bicutan (a barangay in Taguig City). We are on Sucat Road, Parañaque. And Fr. Michael’s mom is in Mandaluyong. Okay? So, when he said, “It’s on the way, you’re on the way,” I am like, “Fr. Michael, you’re brilliant. Man, you’re a great theologian. You’re an amazing Bible teacher. But right now, your logic is failing you because I’m not on your way. You’re there in Bicutan, in the middle (in between Sucat and Mandaluyong) and all you have to do, from Bicutan, is turn right to get to Mandaluyong. You know what, he turned left toward Sucat to get to
Talk 17: Commitment and Service WELCOME BACK to our deep dive into Matthew’s Gospel. Today, I want to preach the crazy message, “We go up to go down.” I know what you want to ask me: “Brother Mike, okay ka lang? Stressed ka ba? You’re blabbering gibberish.” I agree the statement makes no sense. But in today’s Feast, I’ll explain that this non-sensical message was the core message of Jesus. The Problem of Not Listening In our Bible story today, Jesus predicts His coming death. Again. And every time He talks about His dying, the apostles don’t get Him. They hear His words but not His heartbeat. Which is our problem too! The first time Jesus predicts His death, Peter says, “Over my dead body!” or something to that effect. And Jesus calls him Satan. The second time, the apostles do something worse: They argue who was the greatest among them. The Entire Scene Is a Comedy For the third time, Jesus predicts His death and what do His disciples do? They jostle for political power. It’s so hilarious, I bet Matthew expected his readers to laugh. It was a sitcom. Here’s His prediction: As usual, His disciples didn’t get it. This is how they respond: Just in case you’re thinking Mama Zebedee is an overzealous Stage Mom who is dragging her reluctant boys to sing in the birthday party, think again. In Mark’s version of this story, there was no Mom. James and John were the ones who asked for the plum positions. This was a family plot to grab power. They wanted to go up to stay up. We’re Going Up for a Purpose Jesus said, “We’re going up to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was the capital of ancient Israel. That’s where the big shots were. If you wanted a seat among the powerful, that was the place to go. And who doesn’t want to go up? We hear this all the time today: “Aim for Number One,” “Go to the Top” and “Climb the Corporate Ladder”. But that’s the craziness of His Kingdom: Jesus was going up so He could go down. He was going up to become powerless to serve the powerless. And did you notice? He said to His disciples, “We’re going up…” not “I’m going up”. It was like Jesus saying, “Guys, I’m going to suffer to rescue the suffering. I’m going to die to give life to the dying. That’s my plan. May we do this together? Will you also go up to go down?” Jesus’ version of “Going Up” is very different. It actually means two not-very-appealing actions… Listen to how Jesus replied to Mama Zebedee and the Zebedee Boys: But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” (v.22) Cup of suffering? I’d rather have a cup of coffee or tea or hot cocoa. But suffering? We live in a culture that hates inconvenience. We don’t
Hidilyn Diaz at The Feast AT 3 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, Hidilyn Diaz sent a text message to our founder, Bro. Bo Sanchez, thanking The Feast Family for praying for her. By this time, the world already knew Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday, July 26, 2021, as she won the first ever gold medal for the Philippines since our country has been competing for close to a hundred years in the Olympics. In the recent Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan, she snagged the top place in the women’s 55-kilogram class, after she lifted a combined weight of 224 kilograms, breaking Olympics record in that category of the women’s weightlifting competition. And, yes, among the first to whom she expressed deep gratitude for her victory is our Feast Family through Bro. Bo. That’s because Feasters prayed for Hidilyn before the Olympics. More on pages 6-7. Actually, we have always been praying for Sis. Hidilyn. Yes, we call her “Sis” because she is a member of our Feast, and thus our sister in Christ. In 2014, a friend invited Sis. Hidilyn to The Feast which in interviews after her victory, she has well acknowledged as instrumental in her faith journey. Bro. Alvin Barcelona shares Sis. Hidilyn’s blessings at The Feast, pages 3-5. Here, we share with you this Special Report on the success of Sis. Hidilyn, of The Feast, and above all, of our God of Victory! All for His Glory, Randy Borromeo Feast Blessings for Sis. Hidilyn By BRO. ALVIN BARCELONA SIS. Hidilyn Diaz has been a Feaster since 2014 when she was just starting to compete in weightlifting events. She was invited by a friend to The Feast Bay Area at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) afternoon session, where I am preacher and she has been a regular attendee-- even now during this Coronavirus Pandemic, via our online gathering we call Feast-at-Home. She always asked to be prayed over every time she competed… Then came her first big win-- the silver medal in the Rio Olympics in 2016. We invited her onstage where she gave her testimony right after her Rio victory. I prayed over her onstage as I had been doing for her offstage for years. We prayed and claimed that in her next Olympics competition she would get the gold…And before the big event, led by Bro. Bo, we mounted online posters with the cheer, “Go Hidilyn!” Loving Life Sis. Hidilyn is an active Feaster, and she started serving at the Feast Bay Area afternoon session as among our ushers. She even joined our Love Life Retreat for single members. Above, that’s her at the front row of this souvenir photo of the Love Life Retreat Batch 28. Many times, we invited her to have dinner with us after The Feast. And as part of our pastoral care, we counsel her and extend actual help to her during her struggling moments. She has become a close friend as we