Talk

CAN everybody just say this: “God will fill us up.”

Say that in Tagalog to the person beside you: “Bubusugin ka ni Lord.”

Today is the last talk of our series, CITIZEN.

But it’s not just a talk.

We’re going to be praying for our nation.

At the end of the talk, we’re going to turn over the Philippines to King Jesus.

But before that, we need to have a clear vision of what the country will be if Jesus is King. Tha t’s what we’re going to clarify today. We’re going to ask the question: What will happen to a place when Jesus becomes King? What will happen to a country, a city, a province, a barangay, a home, a business, a company, a life—if Jesus becomes King?

Remember the story, in Genesis, of Adam and Eve? They did not trust God. And because they did not trust God, they were banished from Eden. But from right there, from that moment, when they were banished, God was trying to bring us –all of us– back to Eden.

All throughout the history of Israel, the kings were trying to bring Israel back to Eden. But they did a horrible job. Why? Because they were far away from the Lord, and they were idolatrous, and they were corrupt.

But there were beautiful, brief, moments.s

What is Eden? Two meanings. I mean, I can talk about 10 things but I just want to focus on two meanings:

No. 1: God and Man hanging out in the garden.

Basically, it’s divine fellowship.

Cross your two fingers.

Twist those two fingers together.

Show those crossed fingers to the person beside you, then tell that person, “Ganito kami ni Lord.”

 

That’s what Eden is.

That is how beautiful Eden is : Divine Fellowship.

But not only that. Here’s No. 2…

No. 2: Man can enjoy the fruits of the garden: Abundance. Overflow. Excess.

The kings of Israel tried to recapture th at. They could not– most of the time. But there were brief, beautiful, shining moments when they were able to get a taste of Eden. A glimpse of Eden. So, here’s the reading:

Put your hand on your chest and say this with me:

Father, I want You to be at the center

of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Be King. Amen.

 Before David, there was a king named Saul. He neglected the Ark of the Covenant. They used it once in a while when they would go to battle. They would bring it—like an anting-anting, like an amulet. Do you know what happened? They lost those battles.

You lose battles if you fight battles that God never sent you to fight.

And what happens is, let me say this to you: that there is a huge difference between using God as a religious prop, and serving Him as King. Huge difference.

I catch myself many times—using God as a prop. Going into battles that He never asked me to fight.

But I would ask Him, “Can you go with me?”

God is not King. My pride is king. My ego is king. And I do things trying to justify it, by saying, “God come with me, bless my plans…”—when what God wants me to do is to serve Him as King. And to fight battles He wants me to fight.

What is the Ark of the Covenant?

Someone told me, Bro. Bo, di ba ‘yung Ark malaki? Wasn’t the Ark big? Noah’s ark?”

That’s a boat. That’s very different. What is the Ark of the Covenant?

It’s a box. A golden box. It’s the most sacred relic of Israel.

And on top of that golden box is a lid. And it’s called the Mercy Seat.

So, in essence, the Ark of the Covenant is the Throne of God.

God sits on the Mercy Seat on top of the Ark. So, it’s His throne.

The Ark of the Covenant is the physical expression of God’s Presence in Israel.

Saul neglected the Ark.

What King David did was he brought it at the center of his reign. Brought back the Presence of God at the center of his reign. And this is what happens:

Remember what I said what Eden was?

No.1: Eden was Divine Fellowship —God and Man hanging out in the garden.

No.2: Man enjoying the fruits of the garden.

In this beautiful, brief, shining moment, King David gives to every Israelite—man and woman—a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. What do they all mean?

This reminds me of a story.

I was with my driver, we were travelling. It was lunch time. And we saw an Italian restaurant on the road.

And I told my driver, “Diyan tayo kumain.

Sabay na tayo. Let’s eat there.”

We walked in, we sat down, we looked at the menu… I looked at my driver’s face, and I noticed that he was not at peace. On his face was written an existential question…

Finally, as we were looking at the menu, the waiter came, and my driver looked at the waiter and with a nervous voice, he asked: “Sir, may plain rice?”

The waiter said, “Naku, Sir, wala. None.”

My driver, he looked at me, and he said — begged me, “Sir, sa labas na lang ako kakain, sa karinderya. I’ll just eat at a cafeteria.”

I asked him, “Try something new.”

And his answer was profound—at least for our message for today. He said, “Sir, hindi ako mabubusog. I will not feel filled up.” And you know what? That’s our message for today.

What is rice for Filipinos, is bread for the Jew. And so, when King David gave a loaf of bread to every single Jew, can you imagine the meaning of that?

One more time: God will fill you up. Bubusugin ka ni Lord .

What does the piece of meat mean?

During ancient times,

95% of the population did not have meat on a regular basis. It was very special .

If I will compare it today, it’s the Lechon in a party. Our party, without the Lechon, is still a party. But if a party has Lechon, that is paaarttte eeh!

Making sense? That when David gave a piece of meat, during his time, it was special. It was so absolutel y special.

Cake of raisins. May dessert pa. Plus dessert.

So, that beautiful moment where King David gives a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins — this meant trying to recapture Eden.

One more time: Where there is no hunger. And there is abundance.

And there is overflow.

By the way, may I just insert this here:

Isn’t this the message of the Eucharist? It is! It is the Eucharist.

Except, the difference is that God Himself becomes the food.

What is Eden? It is you and God together, you and the people together. May pagkain pa— Plus there is food. That’s Eden. And that is the reign of God. When God reigns, there is abundance.

So, what happens when the country is placed under King Jesus? What happens when your home is placed under King Jesus ? What happens?

That’s what we’re going to answer. Two answers…

No. 1, First Message: The King that we worship, and we follow, is generous. We go back to the Garden of Eden—I want to be graphic here:

God tells Adam and Eve you can eat from any tree in the garden —except 1. Did He say that? Absolutely. So, imagine if there were 10,000 trees in the Garden of Eden—what does that mean? It means that they could eat fruits from 9,999 trees.

But let’s read what the serpent told Eve:

Did you get that? God said you can eat from any tree — except 1.

The serpent changed this, saying, “Psst. Sinabi ba ni Lord, bawal kumain maski anong prutas? Did the Lord say you’re forbidden to eat any fruit?”

May I say this to you: Every time you go through temptation, when you are tempted—whether it be to pride, whether it be to lust, whether it be to gree d – the temptation is this: It s tarts by inserting in your mind this insidious idea that God is stingy. That if you want something, take matters in to your hands.

And if you have to, lie, cheat, steal —because God is stingy.

At the very core of all sins is a lack of trust that God is generous. That’s at the bottom of all sins. And so, we fight that —by believing the King is generous.

Everybody shout, one more time: The King is generous!

And when the King is generous, here’s the second message:

No. 2: Life is abundant.

Let’s go back to the Reading. It says that King David gave three things to the people. He gave bread. He gave meat. And he gave cake.

Now what do all these mean? Simple: When God is King in your life, it means that you will never go hungry. And if there’s anybody who understands this, it’s definitely the Filipino. Why?

How many of you love tinapay?

Raise your hand. Come on, bread is life. Tinapay with coffee. You know, you’re good with that. Tinapay with milk. I know somebody who likes tinapay with water—he dips tinapay in water.

I’m like, “Pare, para kang isda, a. Isda lang ang may gusto ng lumulitang na tinapay. You’re like fish. Only fish like s bread floating on water! ”

The Bible says King David gave also meat. Be honest, we’re meat lovers, right?

And here’s how I know this is so Filipino. At the end of the meal, there should always be cake.

When God is King in your life, you get a full stomach. You get the full course meal —the appetizer, the main course, and then some cake, some dessert. And we all love that.

You see, Jesus says this: He wants you to have abundance.

When Jesus is King in your life, there are resources, there are supplies— there is abundance.

But then some of you might say, “Bro. Audee, the only abundance I’m experiencing is just an abundance of utang– debts.”

Or maybe: “The only abundance I’m experiencing right now is an abundance of messy relationships.”

Or maybe: “The only abundance I have right now are cellulites in my legs.” But let me just say this to you: Abundance doesn’t just mean money.

It can be many things. Let me share this with you…

When he was young, my Dad’s ultimate idol –when we were growing up— was none other than the legendary Frank Sinatra. And so, we literally grew up with his music in our home. So, we grew up with having Strangers in the Nightnot in a creepy way– but if you got that reference, that means only one thing: you’re my tito or my tita. You’re that old.

And so, I happened to pick up a book of Frank Sinatra, one time — it was a biography talking about his life, you know, and how this amazing man shaped the music industry of his generation and even beyond that. And it talked about all his successes as a musical genius.

It also talked about his personal life —just like a biography would do. And to my shock, finding out that this man that his friends and his peers admired so much, did you know that he also left a trail of broken relationships in his life? He had mistresses left and right, so many extra marital affairs —and so that resulted in aloofness and distance from his kids. From the onset, you would think, this is a guy of abundance. He was so successful in his career, and yet in the background, there were many missing, lacking in his life.

See, money is not the only thing that matters. When we say abundance, it’s not just about money. There are persons who have money but then they don’t

have peace of mind. There are persons who live in big houses but they don’t have a good relationship with people.

The truth is, my friends, you cannot substitute a good house , a good career, a good bank account with good relationships. We always say that our treasures

in life are our relationships. They are our real treasures —not the material things that we own. Having a good life versus having a great relationship with your spouse, for instance, or with your children, with your parents, and ultimately, with your God.

News Flash: God doesn’t want just to give you a fat bank account.

He doesn’t just want to fill your belly. He wants to fill your life with His Presence. God wants to fill your life with his abundance. He doesn’t just want you to know Him as a Provider. Because God is more than that. God is more than just a provider in your life. And I’m telling you, when you have Jesus as your King— you know there is a kind of fulfillment, this deep satisfaction that nobody and nothing in the world can ever give you.

You know what, I mean? You can have something missing in your life but when Jesus is your King, you can feel richly blessed.

But on the other hand, on the opposite spectrum of that, if God is not King of your life, you know what happens? There is this hole in your life that you try to fill up, and the more you try to fill it up — with things and situations and experiences, and material things , or even with people, you know what happens? You become hungrier for more. It feels like all those are not enough.

It’s just like that song that goes:

All the shine of a thousand spotlights All the stars we steal from the night sky

will never be enough

Towers of gold are still too little These hands could hold the world

but it’ll never be enough for me.

When Jesus is not King, it feels like there are so many things lacking in our life.

And you know, sometimes I cannot help feeling like that’s how it is in our political life. It’s not enough. You try to research, you try to discern, to pray, to support, to rally, to vote for the right candidate — and yet sometimes, it feels like it’s not enough. Do you feel like that sometimes? Like your country is corrupted?

There’s still so much evil happening in the systems– and I’m not just talking about government. I’m talking about organizations and companies and even relationships. Sometimes, it feels like it’s not enough. People are still hungry.

Meanwhile, the rich still keep getting richer and the poor still get poorer. That’s how I feel sometimes. Let me just say this: I believe that political change is important. It’s good that we get to change our leaders every six years, every so often. Political change is important.

But here’s the truth: Political change is not the ultimate solution to our country’s problems. It’s not. We cannot solve our country’s problems simply by changing our rulers or our leaders. And you know, historically speaking, we’ve been through so many governments and we’re still in some ways in the same kind of system that we’ve had many, many years ago.

What is the ultimate solution? Political change is just part of the solution.

But the ultimate solution is this: that we all need a heart transplant.

We need to change our heart.

That’s God’s promise: That He’s going to put and insert a new heart in all of us.

But sometimes, you get to feel like, “Bro. Audee, you know, it’s terrible.

It feels there’s no hope for our country. The level of corruption that’s infested our government…”

And yet, from time, to time, you know, you will see glimpses of hope.

Just like the story I’m going to share. I’m deeply blessed by the story that one time – it happened many years ago– I happened to talk with one of our

Music Ministry servants —who, by the way, is no longer here with us. He’s now the Lord.

I’m glad I heard this story and I hope that it will encourage you.

Because one time, he spoke to me, and he said, “You know, Bro. Audee,

I happened to work with one of the most corrupt government agencies in the country.”

I’ll leave it to you to guess what agency that is. Because I don’t know either.

But he said to me, “Not a single day would come, that not even just one person would not offer me a bribe in exchange for, you know, a service, a signature.”

And so, I asked him, “Bro, how do you deal with it? I mean, every day you got one guy, one girl approaching you, yes. One guy, at least, one girl. And so,

I said to him, how do you deal with it every single day?

And he just smiled as me, and he said, “I deal with it every single day.

One person at a time. One battle at a time.”

Change is not going to happen overnight. When change happens, it’s not going to be like a nuclear explosion, like an atomic bomb in your life. That’s not how change happens. Sometimes, it does—but oftentimes, it doesn’t.

Change happens very slow, very subtle– incremental changes. You don’t notice it. But it’s steady. When you do steady change, you know what happens? It’s sure. It’s consistent.

Right now, I’m thinking of one of our leaders in the Community: Bro. Jon Escoto, our district head of LOJ Laguna.

You know, Bro. Jon – he’s an amazing guy.

And often times, how amazing people are is based on how much they love God and how much they love people.

Bro. Jon has this amazing Ministry. You won’t believe this:

He has a Ministry for prisoners. And you know what he does? He goes to the prison not just to visit them. Not just to give them a gift.

But he preaches to them.

Look at these photos. This is Bro. Jon preaching to the prisoners behind bars. He’s preaching to murderers and rapists, extortionists, thieves, and addicts. You know how difficult that must be to be rejected by people ? It’s hard. You don’t even know it– if people are understanding you or listening to you. But he does it.

Why? Because he loves God and he loves people. And you know what’s happening? Change. Little by little. People who used to hate people, who used to rob people, who used to hurt people—now, little by little, people are turning their heart to God. It’s beautiful .

I’m also thinking right now of another person by the name of Bro. Darwin Susano.

One time during the Pandemic, during the lockdown, Bro. Darwin

was in his condo. He looked outside his condo building and he saw in that random parking lot a few drivers who were stuck because of ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) And so, they were hanging out. They lost their job—you know, their livelihood plying the streets of Makati…

So, you know what Jon did? He went down. And then he talked to them.

He bought little snacks and he offered the food to them. And little did he know — that single moment would turn into many moments of priceless memories because he soon realized that they were hungry not only in their belly but also in their heart. They were hungry for the Word of God.

So, you know what happened? Darwin and his group started a Feast Light (little version of The Feast) for the jeepney drivers.

This is what they look like during the lockdown. The drivers are watching, hearing the Word of God from a jeepney —at the back of the jeepney. And then after that, they would have a little feast — they would have a snack.

And you know what happened? After the lockdown was lifted, they went back, of course, to their livelihood. But every single time they could gather themselves together, they would still worship the Lord. You’re going to see them at our Grand Easter Feast, next Sunday, April 17. They’re going to come.

I’m telling you, little by little, people change. Those jeepney drivers now recognize that there’s a generous God through the generosity of people like you.

The money that you would donate here at The Feast we use it to bless people like them—to feed them, to encourage them, to let them know, that, “Hey, there is a God who loves you and He is generous.

And so, with these stories, you know, we’re given hopehope that there is change. But this is how we’re going to change the world, my dear friends. Not overnight. How are we going to change it?

Through you. We love people one person at a time. One battle at a time. One day at a time.

We change our country by loving people one at a time.

You know, this election season is very messy. It’s dirty, it’s downright filthy. And sometimes, you get to think: We’re supporting our candidates.

You know who your president, vice president, your senators are. That’s good. If you don’t, study, research, pray about it.

But if you’ve got already somebody that you’re supporting, give your all out to support that candidate.

Let me just say this: Because there comes a point in our life where sometimes, we give so much support to a candidate—a person—because we believe in that candidate. And we know that this person has been anointed by God to lead us, to lead our country, to be our next representative, to mirror God’s love in our country.

There is a little campaign — one of the retail chains did this.

It’s a very creative campaign—it also promoted sales. And what they did was they put the face of each candidate for president on paper cup s. And so, they would have an informal survey: the biggest number of cups sold determines who wins as president—in the survey.

And here’s the thing: You’re campaigning for a candidate.

You’re campaigning for a person. You’re campaigning for a party list. You’re campaigning for a belief or an ideology. You’re campaigning for something that you truly believe will take us to the next level of progress, to the next level of growth.

But there’s also a sense in that, in all the campaigning that we do, we sometimes forget one thing: that the people that we look up to, they’re only persons. They’re imperfect. They’ve got selfish motives—just like me, just like you. They’ve got pride, they’ve got ego, they’ve got people surrounding them. They’re just persons. What we’re forgetting, sometimes, is that in the pursuit of what we want to have a good life—not just for us, but for our kids and their kids, we forget they’re not the Savior. Jesus is the Savior.

Let me say that again: Jesus is the Savior. Nobody else. Jesus is the King.

And so, as we deliver this message today, we say, let God fill you up. Bubusugin ka ni Lord.

Here’s the alternate message: As Jesus fills you up, here’s what I believe: That Jesus will fill your cup.

He will fill your cup to the full.

To the overflow in Christ starts with you. It cannot start with the person beside you. It cannot start with your leader.

It can’t start with me, or with Bro. Bo, or with Bro. Didoy, or the rest of our leaders—but it starts with you.

Only God can change you. I can’t do it. I can try to convince you as much as I can but it’s you who will make that decision.

We’re praying to the Lord, “Lord, change this leader.”

But before we pray to the Lord to change that leader, let’s pray:

“Lord, change my heart. Give me a new heart. Give me a heart transplant.”

I there’s anything besides Jesus that you placed on the throne of your life as your King, I want you to set that aside. Scrap it out. Push it aside. If you need to exert some effort, especially if it’s deeply rooted already in your life– as a habit, as an addiction– you need the power of the Holy Spirit to do that.

But I want you to know that’s where change happens. That’s how it begins:

When you allow Jesus to take the seat in your life and say, “Lord, I will worship You and You alone. You are my King. You are my Savior.”

I want you to put your hand over your chest right now as we pray and remember this monumental and pivotal moment in our season where we get to choose our candidates. But we start deep within, to search deep ourselves.

Say this with me:

Jesus, You are my King. You are my Savior. Nobody else. If there is something that I put my trust on, and I’ve depended on, I surrender this to You now. I give this to You. I know that You will replace this with a new thing, a better thing, and the best thing. I want to have life with You, Jesus. I want to know You. I want to serve You. I want to worship you, and I want to obey You.

Lord, I invite Your Power, Your Presence, and Your Glory to reign in my life now and forever. In Your Name, In Jesus’ Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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