Talk 7


Questions: Do you want to live in freedom? Do you want to experience abundance in every area in your life?

I’ve got good news for you: You’re not alone in wanting that you live a full life.

I’m telling you now: God wants you to live a full life.

I need you to do this: Put your hand over your chest and declare the truth— just make it first person, and say: God wants me to live a full life. One more time: God wants me to live a full life.

I want to say thank you that you’re giving me this opportunity even just by video to do a short intro to the Talk that we will be having today which is amazing, powerful, controversial– but you know, if it’s not to be given by The Feast, who else will do it. So, you need to hear this life-changing Talk.

By the way, I need to do this by video because I have to leave the country again. But I hope to see you this coming week. So, here we go:

For the past 17 years, I have been teaching people how to gain financial freedom. And to gain financial freedom, they need to follow certain rules. Simple rules.

My question to you—this does not apply only in finance but in every other area of your life: If you want to be successful in your career, in your physical health, there are certain rules that you have to follow – if you want success.

If you don’t want success, then you don’t need to follow the rules.

Same thing here. I teach people simple financial rules to retire rich.

I’ve been doing it for so long that I actually see the lives of people when they follow the rules. They become millionaires. People who don’t follow the rules, they end up poor.

Two Simple Rules

I’ll give you a sample—I cannot give you all the rules—but let me give you two of the many simple rules.

These two rules you already know. I’m sure you know. You’ve heard this, you’ve read this—even you’ve told other people about this.

The rules are simple, but they are not easy to do.

No. 1: Stop borrowing and live below your means. Do not be trapped in consumer debt.

Get rid of it. You don’t want that. You don’t want the greatest miracle in the world– compounding interest– to be your enemy.

You want it to be your ally. But when you borrow, you’re making it your enemy– this greatest force– according to Albert Einstein.

So, live below your means. If you do use your credit card, pay it at the end of the month. Do not borrow from your credit card. Just use it.

No.2 Invest 20% of your income every single month—consistently. If you do this, and if you invest in the right way, here’s what is going to happen: you will end up a millionaire.

Now, overtime – 20 years, 30 years overtime—here’s what’s going to happen: It’s so important for you to earn money—of course. But more than earning money, it’s what you keep from what you earn that’s more important. Because this is what will spell your future. Now, here’s the thing…

Oh, by the way, just a little story… I was in Tel Aviv, Israel, two weeks ago.

I was walking on the street and then somebody recognized me – a Filipina— and she was so happy: “Bro. Bo!”

So, she greeted me, and the first thing she told me was music to my ears.

She said, “Bro. Bo, because of you, I am investing in the stock market, I have been doing it for a number of years.. Wow. I’m so happy. I’ll tell you why.

Because I’ve met many OFWs – Overseas Filipino Workers– who did not do that. You know, working 20, 30 years abroad only to come home poor. Broke.

It’s a tragedy – a tragic story.

This woman I met in Tel Aviv, she’s not going to make that mistake. And so, it’s beautiful.

Here’s the thing: Are these two—the two samplings of rules that I gave you— are those two rules, will they constrict you? Will they limit your freedom?

Will they crimp your style, or your spontaneity?

Yes! You know, let’s admit it. From one perspective, yes, it’s true.

The problem is this: That perspective becomes your reality. You’re going to be bombed out, right?

Another Perspective

I’m going to introduce to you another perspective. What if—from another perspective– rules create freedom?

What? How?

Well, if you follow these simple rules, if you follow all the rules that I tell you so that you will gain financial

freedom, here’s what’s going to happen: you will grow older but richer. You will have money to do what you want to do. You’ll be able to treat your kids

to a Boracay trip—and your grandkids. You’ll have money. You’ll be generous even until you grow older.

I have another story to tell you…

Last year, a friend of mine called me up—she’s in her ‘70s.

She said, “Bro. Bo, I need to tell you, just to inform you—I wrote my last will and testament. When God calls me home, Anawim, your Ministry for the abandoned elderly, will receive 10% of my money.”

Wow. Now that woman, that friend of mine, managed her money very well. So well that even when she dies, she continues to be generous. That’s amazing.

But if you do not follow these rules…

What if you say, “I don’t like these, you know, ‘Live below your means…’ ‘Invest 20%…’ Hello?! I want to live. I want to live today. I want to spend, I want to buy this and that—now.”

So, you shun these rules. Guess what? A time will come when you’ll be depending on your kids, and your relatives for your food and for your medicine.

Is that freedom?

And the answer is “No.” It’s misery.

Poverty is bondage. So, what am I saying?

I’m saying that laws don’t restrain you. Laws release you to your abundance. Now, this is just one example—your finances, your financial life.

Now take those rules—the concept of rules, the concept of laws—and see that it applies in every area of life.

Talk 7 and Talk 8, we will be talking about the laws. Holiness Laws in Leviticus 18-20. So, if you are ready to change your life, and to receive God’s Word, I want you to open your heart and say, “Yes, Lord, speak to me today.”

Jesus’ Framework for a Full Life

BRO. JOHN BEN RODRIGUEZ: We will begin by raising our hands and honoring the Word of God: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path.

And today we start by reading the Word from Leviticus 18: 2-5:

I’d like us to just dwell on that last line for a while: …you will find life through them.

Say this in the first-person perspective: …I will find life through them.

I love what Bro. Bo said that rules and laws are actually designed by God not to limit you but to actually allow you to live a full life.

But many years back, I didn’t agree with that – especially when I was a teenager. I felt that the rules and the laws of my parents were a bummer.

I was like, “Kill joy, Ma. Why am I not allowed to have freedom?”

But now that as I am maturing in my faith and now that I am a father, I realize that rules and laws are important—especially if you have children, and if you love your children. Because in your maturity and in your capacity, there are things that you can perceive that they cannot yet. Do you agree? And I believe that with God, in His maturity and in His infinite wisdom, He has things that He can perceive already that you cannot yet perceive. That’s why He is establishing a framework for you to operate. So that you can live a full life.

The Leviticus Laws

Just a short background about Leviticus 18:2-5.

God was telling the Israelites not to live like the Egyptians and the Canaanites. Because you know what? The norm back then was that the Egyptians and the Canaanites were doing pagan rituals.

And those pagan rituals included sexual acts. In this world where this is also the norm— you watch it on television, you see people doing it, they think it’s good, then you think it probably must be good.

But God is telling you otherwise today: My laws are here so that I can ensure that you will have a full life.

Put your hands on your heart, pray with me:

Almighty Father, open my heart to receive your laws with openness and trust. May they change my life

for the better. This I ask in Jesus’ Name. 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.

Give the Lord a big hand and praise Him. Praise His Name.

So, going back to the context of the verses that we were reading: God was telling the Israelites they need not live the way that the world lives.

Specifically in the way the Egyptians and the Canaanites were worshipping God. Do you remember our talk last week? It was about the word AAtonement.

So, it was the start over for the Israelites—God was teaching them that if it’s your start over, I’m calling you now to holiness.

And one phrase for holiness is being set apart. So, if you are already set apart for God, how should you live?

That was the question God was asking the Israelites.

And this is what we’re exploring: the five groups of Laws in Leviticus:

Leviticus verses18-20 have many laws. We will start with item No. 1: The Laws on Sex.

One morning, a little girl– around five years old– went to her mother and she asked: “Mommy, can you tell me about sex? What it is and what it is about?”

The mother was shocked: “Oh, my God, what do I tell my young daughter? She’s too young to comprehend this. How do I explain the complexity of this?

…Ah, I know my answer…”

She told her daughter, “Baby, go to your Dad and ask him.”

So, the girl went to her father and asked him: “Daddy, can you tell me about sex? What it is and what it is about?”

The father started scratching his head: “What do I do?”

And suddenly, he thought of a way… He asked the girl: “Honey, can you spell that for me first?”

So, the girl said, “S-E-C-T-S.”

Relieved, the father said, “Ahh, sects. Okay, I get it.”

But would you agree with me that somehow, among us Pinoys, it’s taboo to talk about this? This is a difficult talk, but here in The Feast, I am actually glad that we are not afraid to talk about topics like this. And I want to bring to you the truth that according to the Bible, according to our Faith, dictated by the Catholic Church, here is the reality…

Who are parents here? What you learn here you can pass on to your children when they ask you… just ask them first to spell it for you so you know it’s the same thing you’re both talking about. Okay?

Because if they don’t learn about these from us, they will find ways—because of their curiosity— to discover the meaning of those things.

And sadly, if they get it from mainstream media, social media, movies, their view will be distorted.

That’s why I love it that we get to talk about this topic here.

Our first declaration: Sex is not evil, bad or dirty. Sex is God’s idea. Sex is good.

And the purpose of God for sex is to bring forth life in two ways.

  1. Physically, through a new born baby. Look at the person beside you. That beautiful person originated from a wonderful act of Is there someone here who just sprouted from the ground and your parent just picked you up? None, right? So, sex must be good because its brings forth life to more people – beautiful people.
  2. Spiritually, it can bless married couples. The Catholic Church declares that sex in its God-given design is both procreative and It creates life and also unites the life of married couples.

My wife and I had an argument. And Bro. Didoy Lubaton and his wife Mayi, gave us a tip: You had a quarrel, you didn’t speak to one another. Something happened at night… The next day are you still enemies?

Yes, in the morning, we were no longer quarreling.

Because marriage is unitive. The challenge of marriage is hard. The challenges of raising a family and running a household are hard. But I believe God designed something so good and something pleasurable so that even when you are fighting each other you get to do something that unites you.

As we read in Leviticus 18: 6:

Nowadays, for us, this is already obvious. We know chances of genetic diseases can happen, can ruin relationships.

But in the context of people back then, this was something new to them.

Because the norm then was the Egyptians believed that the gods they were praising were marrying intermarried with their relatives, practiced incest—they married their daughters, they married their brothers, siblings got married with one another, cousins married with cousins.

So, God was teaching them to worship in a new way. This—intermarriage— must no longer be part of their norm.

This also happens today. That’s why I want to thank you in behalf of our Jeremiah Ministry. We fund this Ministry through your giving. Jeremiah is a shelter for abused, sexually assaulted girls. Do you know that we have there victims as young as nine years old raped either by their father, uncles, neighbors. That act alone has broken them.

So, we love them, we give them a home so they could be brought to their healing.

That’s the difficult happening.

That’s why God says that this should not be allowed.

Leviticus 18:20 says:

I’d like to point out the first part: Do not defile yourself. The damage, when adultery happens, begins with yourself. I guess some of you are familiar with

the macro level of how adultery leads to broken families, and how broken families lead to children not having sufficient love from father and mother raising them, and how that contributes to crime rates, and how that contributes to a broken society in general. I’m sure you know those facts.

Adultery destroys yourself and your family. But today, I’d like to share something different because I experienced this. No, it’s not I committed adultery— my wife might be watching… Oh, my God. J

Those of you familiar with my background know that I came from a broken family. We were the second family of our dad. Later on, we found out we were not the second family. We were actually the fourth family.

This is sensitive to me. I have a little request… I’m sharing this not for you to hate my dad or to judge him. I have forgiven him. He’s a great father to me.

But I want to share with you what I saw—with his life and my life– and how it affected my family. When Dad became older, I went out on dates with my Mom, because Bro. Bo taught us that—to build a wholesome relationship with your parents. Just spend time with them—they want time with you.

lead to children not having sufficient love from father and mother raising them, and how that contributes to crime rates, and how that contributes to a broken society in general. I’m sure you know those facts.

Adultery destroys yourself and your family. But today, I’d like to share something different because I experienced this. No, it’s not I committed adultery— my wife might be watching… Oh, my God. J

Those of you familiar with my background know that I came from a broken family. We were the second family of our dad. Later on, we found out we were not the second family. We were actually the fourth family.

This is sensitive to me. I have a little request… I’m sharing this not for you to hate my dad or to judge him. I have forgiven him. He’s a great father to me.

But I want to share with you what I saw—with his life and my life– and how it affected my family. When Dad became older, I went out on dates with my Mom, because Bro. Bo taught us that—to build a wholesome relationship with your parents. Just spend time with them—they want time with you.

The Effect of Adultery

In line with having this good relationship with parents, a lot of times, I would give my dad a portion of my income, telling him, “Dad, here, for your expenses.”

He would always decline accepting the money and say, “No. Just keep that to yourself.”

I would tell him, “You don’t want to buy clothes? You don’t want to eat out—somewhere?”

He’d say, “No. I’m okay. Itabi mo na ‘yan.– Keep that.”

After he said “Itabi mo na ‘yan,” he would always tell me, “Ibigay mo na lang sa Mommy mo. Bumawi ka sa Mommy mo.—Just give the money to your Mommy. Payback your Mommy.”

At another particular time, because we were already accepted by the first family, they invited my siblings and I to a trip to Palawan. We were also inviting our dad. But he did not want to come along.

He kept saying, “Walang magbabantay sa bahay. No one will take care of the house.”

I said, “Daddy, the house has a lock…” Still, it seemed he didn’t want to join us.

Later on, I was processing, processing… Maybe because of his sins, now that he is old—and the libido is gone—the remorse started coming in…

So, that’s how I interpreted it.

That even as we were there, we wanted to pour out love to him, it’s difficult for him to accept it.

So, I think firsthand, that would be the effect of adultery to you.

Husbands, boyfriends here… Can we help out each other? Can we pray for each other? So that we would be the most loyal, most loving, most caring, husbands and fathers that we can ever be. Amen.

Thank You, Lord.

That’s why Community is here. That’s why

The Feast is here. Because we help out each other as we journey closer to God.

Leviticus 18:22 says:

A little context: The norm then – pagan rituals. There was a certain pagan practice about cultic prostitutes. There was a prostitute at the Temple.

For example, you’re praying for a harvest and you want to offer a sacrifice, you must pay and have sex with the cultic prostitute – regardless of the gender of the prostitute. So, at that time, homosexuality was happening whether you are inclined to it or not.

That’s the context of this verse.

But today, we want to make it clear: Homosexuals, and those having same sex attraction, first and foremost, you are a child of God– therefore God loves you and wants to journey with you and bless you.

So, the truth is here:

The physical sexual act between the same genders is a sin. But being a homosexual, or being attracted to the same gender is not a sin.

An Apology

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church —there are many other verses, you can read up more if you want to know more about this. I just want to quote this part: CCC No. 2358.

Why am I saying this? Because even I, when I was new in my Faith, I was confused over how to really address this matter, this issue. But as I mature, I feel that God’s message for you, if you are a homosexual or an SSA, we have servants like that who have been struggling with that but who have found their joy in their life and meaning, and a full life with Jesus and the Community. Doing their profession and being excellent in it.

But to those here, on behalf probably of people who have bullied you, or your uncles, aunts, parents, teachers, colleagues, who have discriminated you who made you feel that your existence is wrong, or your person is wrong, I’d like to apologize – on behalf of them.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not lowering our standards. I believe your call is to chastity and purity. But I always believe that your journey must always start with acceptance, love—genuine love from the Community, from the people around you, and from God.

I want to declare that you’re not a failure. You’re beautiful. You’re amazing. And your Divine Calling is the same as mine. He calls you to follow Him, to live a great life, and be a blessing to the world.

Leviticus 18:23 says:

One perversion’ back then was having sex with animals — because again, it was part of pagan rituals.

But today, modern versions of the perversions still happen.

Modern Versions of Ancient ‘Perversions’

No. 1 Perversion: Pornography

Do you know that the porn industry is worth almost triple or quadruple than the Hollywood industry—in valuation?

Hollywood makes 450 movies a year. Bollywood makes 1,000 movies a year.

But the Pornwood creates 13,000 movies a year.

So shocking facts.

That’s the macro-level perspective.

Long-term Damage of Perversion

I want to give also a micro-level perspective.

I also struggled with porn in my life.

I started watching those movies when I was a teenager because I grew up in the culture.

You know—your uncles, cousins are like, “Hey let’s watch this on Betamax.” Or when you pull up the cushion of a bed, there are porn magazines there.

I struggled with porn until I experienced spiritual renewal.

Bottomline message for men– because I think this is a weakness mainly of men, although also of some women, but mostly of men:

You know what’s the long-term damage of Pornography? I believe it’s this: it takes away your resolve to do the hard work—in all aspects. Because it’s a quick fix. Instant gratification that feels good, pleasurable– in no time.

I noticed that in my performance at school, my performance at work, when I’m stressed—I wanted a quick fix. No longer resolve to work on things that matter.

My relationships back then, no resolve to work on properly caring for my girlfriend. That was my experience.

So, if it cannot be avoided, it can be stopped altogether. I think that’s why it’s part of God’s Laws.

No. 2 Perversion: Casual Sex

I believe I want to address this especially to single people. Because it’s the time and age of, you know, FUBU (For Us, By Us—an acquainted person who offers sexual intercourse without romantic commitment), Momol — Make out, Makeout lang (only)– or “friends with benefits”.

But I tell you, sex can never be casual because it’s sacred. The only right place of sex is actually in marriage. For you to realize its God- given beauty and design.

Because sex is not only a biological act but a highly spiritual act. Life-long marriage is the only place for sex.

Practical Tip

Practical tip, boyfriend-girlfriend: If you are here together, hold each other’s hands and tell each other: “It takes two to tango, three to mambo, and everybody to party.” Joke.

Seriously, it’s a team effort: you, with each other, and God. Because there will be times when one person is weak, there will be other times when the other person is weak. I hope the time will not come when both of you are weak. But when both are you weak, God is there. Pray.

In reality, it’s common – even our mothers, grandmothers know—that it cannot be avoided. It’s what we call in Tagalog bugso ng damdamin— burst of emotion.

So, sometimes, parents tell their daughters, “Huwag kang magkakamali.— Don’t make a mistake… Huwag kang mabubuntis.–Don’t get pregnant.”

It’s like saying, you can do everything else…just avoid getting pregnant.

But hat is only addressing the pro-creative aspect. We want to change this to what God is calling it. Because if you’re not yet married, don’t pro-create.

The Catholic Church teaches that all acts of sexual intercourse, to reach their most authentic God-given meaning, must be both unitive (bring the couple closer to each other and to God) and procreative (open to the possibility of a new life being conceived).

Consequence of Casual Sex

There’s consequence of casual sex– that is the unitive factor. And I want to illustrate it by doing this:

Cycle of Consequences

So, imagine:

Since the separation already happened… You find a new FUBU — a new partner.

More demanding, more toxic. You quarrel, you separate.

Another person comes into your life… You find a new one on the social media.. swipe, swipe, swipe…

After a while of doing it over and over, this is what happens to you…

The Reality

When people consult me when they are in sexual trouble or they had lived a promiscuous life, they always say,

“I feel that my life is incomplete. I feel that my life is disorganized, why is it this way?”

Because in reality, certain portions of your being, of your soul are ripped apart from you.

And you carry a lot of broken pieces also from other people that are not intended to be there. Probably, their hurts, their traumas, you also bring with you. So, that’s how it destroys you.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because at one point in my life, I was like this—broken.

Because I came from a broken family, self-worth issues, I retorted to porn, promiscuous life, jumping from one relationship to another, casual sex… You know, one, in a way, fun fact, when Bro. Audee got married, on his wedding day, I was there, standing beside him… The door opened, his bride stepped in, and as she walked toward the altar, I started crying…

Note, at the time, I was just courting the girl I hoped to marry—my wife now.

So, first of all, in my mind, “Lord, how can I afford this expensive wedding…?”J

Second, I was telling God, “Lord, will I ever deserve something good as this— eventually in my life?”

Fast forward today, I can say with 100% confidence that the Lord is very good. That in my journey, in striving to move closer to Him,

He has blessed me with a wonderful family, a beautiful wife, a beautiful baby girl.

What God Wants for Everyone

And I am here to tell you that it does not end with me. He wants to do this for everyone—regardless of gender orientation, or anything.

He wants you to experience life to the full.

I love the story (in John 7:53-8:11) where Jesus saved the woman caught in adultery The leaders (a group of scribes and Pharisees) brought her to Jesus, and told Him, “Lord, look at her. She has many colors, we could hardly count them. Moses (Mosaic Law) said the punishment for someone like her is stoning.

What did Jesus say?

“Let the one with no sin cast the first stone.”

So, the woman was ready to be stoned. After a while, she noticed no stone hitting her. She looked around…

And the Lord told her:

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

What God Will Do Today

And this is what God will do for you today:

He will take away every piece that is not meant to be there —one by one. Your worries, your fears, your pain, your trauma, your wounds, your neediness.

He will bring back the things that are actually part of you.

Return your goodness, your self-discipline, your worth, your dignity.

He will return them one by one…

This is God’s invitation to you today.

That New Life can happen. You may have broken the rules for so long and you feel, “I’m not worthy, Lord, today.”

But God is telling you today: “More than My rules, My Love is greater. Your journey always starts at the door of My Heart. My Mercy overflows.”

If you feel that God is speaking to you today– to end that relationship that you must end– to be able to start following Him—it may not happen in an instant.

I tell you, it may take years. But I invite you to come here every single Sunday, offer yourself to God every time we do this until you will reach a point that you can say, “Lord, You are enough. I can let go of these unintended things that give me a quick fix, these useless things that give me short-lived pleasure. Because

I know now Your true joy – genuine, one hundred percent joy, joy that cannot be taken away by anything, joy that cannot be shaken by challenges and temptations, joy that is guilt-free and life-giving.”

If you want that, raise your hands as we sing and worship God— because God wants to heal you today. Hallelujah!

Published by THE FEAST (March 5, 2023)


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