Talk 9

Two Ways To Live a Full Life

I want to thank our Worship Team.

Give them a big hand. Thank you so much. Amazing, guys. Beautiful, beautiful.

I want you to turn to somebody beside you, maybe around, maybe around 700 persons, just tell them, “You’re amazing. You’re amazing, you’re amazing.

You really are. You’re God’s child. Oh, yes. God lives in you. God dwells in you.

How many of you want to live a full life?

Wave with me. You want to live a full life? You need to do two actions. I was reflecting and chewing on this yesterday and I want to share with you there are two ways to live a full life.

First, you’ve got to work hard. No surprise there. You’ve got to work hard.

Really. Like you’ve got to do it. Work hard in your job. Work hard in your business. Absolutely. Work hard in your family. Yes. Work hard in your marriage. Work hard in your relationship with your kids. Work hard in your health.

Work hard in your spiritual life. Work hard when you serve in your Ministry.

You know, I just want to thank God for all the servants who are here working hard. You bet. People in the Production, people in the Ushers Ministry—they’re giving their best. People serving coffee. —They’re working hard. They’re giving their best.

Tell somebody beside you, “Work hard.”

But you see, you cannot only work hard. You’ve got to do the second way.

Second, you’ve got to pray hard. Just two actions. You want to live a full life? You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to pray hard. Why?

You see, if you want to be very simple about it, there are only two parts of this Universe.

Only two.

One part: Those you can control.

And the second part: Those you cannot control.

So, when it comes to those that you can control, work hard.

On those that you cannot control, you pray hard. You surrender to the Lord.

There is an invisible line between these two parts. It is invisible. You do not see it. And that’s why we sometimes cross that line and we’re still working hard. And that’s wrong.

Do you know when you know when you cross that invisible line? If you cross that invisible line, you will feel worry in your heart.

Because you’re still trying to control what you cannot control.

It’s a signal. When you feel worry in your heart, that means, “I crossed the line.”

And what you do is you go back and you say, “This is only my domain, Lord.

I’m going to work hard. I am going to work like crazy. I am going to work with intensity. I’m going to work hard here. But I am not going to cross that line. Because that line, Lord, I surrender. I cannot do anything, anyway. I surrender everything to you.

“Bro. Bo, Bro. Bo, meron akong narinig na iba. I heard something different: “Work hard and play hard. Saan, where is the play hard?”

Ah, you want to know where? Playing is part of praying. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Leviticus says: Playing is part of praying.

My dear friends, we’re going to receive the Word. And I want you to please welcome our preacher for the day, the one and only Didoy Lubaton!

DIDOY LUBATON: Together we sing to the Word:

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet And a Light unto my path.

Put your hands on your heart and just pause.

The Lord is speaking. Here, each one’s heart is open, Lord, one’s mind wanting to be renewed, one’s spirit wanting to be refreshed. Speak to us. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

I would like to preach on this simple message today: Live the Sabbath Life.

Sabbath. Shabbat, in Hebrew, is a beautiful, beautiful— not just a concept, not just an act, but it’s a lifestyle.

Today, we are going to discover that playing is part of praying. We are going to discover the seven festivals of the Jewish culture in that time, especially described in the book of Leviticus—we are still in Talk 9 of our study of Leviticus.

And the festivals are fascinating. I’d like to unbox them one by one with you.

Practical Notes

In the undertone of everything that we are going to discuss today, here’s one good truth:

Parties are like communion of people. Give me some images of what parties look like: food, music, dancing.

These festivals, as we go through them, we are going to see that the Hebrew word for festival is appointed time and place.

There is a setting, for time and place for everything. I love that it is right time and place to remind us that everything is not about all work. And it’s not all about our daily grind.

Yes, it is good. But once in a while, there is a set of appointed time and place so that we can appreciate what we had worked on, so that we can appreciate what God has been doing for us.

You know, God wove a rhythm of

It is part of us as God’s creations—that there is rest, recreation, recommitment, rejoicing.

Some practical notes: Look at your calendar. If you are not using a calendar, do it now. I used to not look on a calendar– but when I got into the habit of putting notes on my calendar, it was a very powerful move in my life.

Here’s a fact: your calendar speaks a lot about you. Your calendar–what is there– what is not there—speaks a lot about what

you value. Show me your calendar and I’ll show you your values.

I’ll show you where you put your time, energy, attention, your love, your care—they depend on what is written on your calendar. If you follow that trail, put them all together– where you give most of your time, energy, money— you know, that there is something or someone that rules your life.

What or Who You Worship

What’s on your calendar leads to a throne – and that is who or what you worship. That is why, your calendar is actually a religious document. It is.

If you look close on your calendar, you’ll discover that your life already contains a liturgy. You have rituals. You have ceremonies. You have habits.

Here’s another practical example: A 2022 survey showed that 71% of the population – 7 out of 10 persons—pick up their phone first thing in the morning.

Guilty or not guilty? That’s a liturgy. That’s a habit.

I am in the struggle. Welcome to the struggle. We’re not a place of perfect people. We are a place of people carrying their crosses.

Welcome home, everybody.

I read a book, Atomic Habits (by American author James Clear, a practical guide on ow to create good habits) › atomic-habits

And (folowing the guide), I did at least five minutes of my time, first thing in the morning, getting up, giving myself cold shower, it wakes me up, it’s a good health story. It allows me to wake up, go down, put my shoes on, turn on a podcast or Worship music (on mobile device) and then I walk for 20 minutes. That’s a power morning habit that I am in a struggle, trying to do. And it has changed my life. In seven days, sometimes I get seven , sometimes five, sometimes 2 or 3, but I am in the running. Because I want my day life to be a win. And I win my morning, I win my day, I win my week, I win my life.

Change your (bad) habits. What rules my mind first thing in my morning?

Is it what other people would post about their life, or is it me listening to learning, me spending time with the Lord?

The best time in my morning is when I do nothing. When I find myself in a park in my village, and there’s that morning sun, and then I do breathing (exercise)—that’s for another health talk.

Then, what’s on my mind? None. Nothing. I’m just there—breathing in the love of God. This little shift has really changed my life.

I am talking about, you know, your life. It’s all about your minutes. Where do you put your minutes?

Parties and Vacations

Let me talk about the parties andvacations that God wants to bring us into. So, here’s the Word– Leviticus 23: 1-2, 4:

I love it that the God of the Universe, the God of Israel, the God whom we serve, the God who saves us all, gives specific appointed time or proper times to be in celebration. And that is giving you a picture who God is. He loves parties. He loves celebrations.

So, above are the seven festivals that we are going to unpack one by one.

If you look closely at the list, you’ll see the Festivals are not just seven.

As mentioned, every seventh day is Sabbath Day. There are 52 weeks a year—52 Sabbath Days– plus six more festivals, so, 58 parties, vacations, every year.

As we dive into the festivals today, you’ll discover that they are not just festivals—they’re really party, vacations.

It’s God making time for you to enjoy.

Here’s the heart of the talk: We have an amazing God who loves to throw parties. He’s not a party pooper. He’s a party popper. He allows us to have fun, enjoy, make the most of life. Life is so hard that we cnnot take it too seriously.

First Festival is Sabbath. It is the heart of all these festivals.

We’ll spend more a bit unboxing it. Once we get this, we move forward to the rest of the festivals.

Let’s do it. Leviticus 23:3 says:

Things work well when they are in rhythm. Everything has a rhythm— even in business, even in relationships, even in the different seasons. Without rhythms, chaos will rule. Even if I can sing pitch-perfect, if I am not in the right kind of rhythm, it’s still not good singing.

So, today, you, we, will discover that Sabbath is God establishing a rhythm of our relationships.

Sabbath is our weekly time with God.

This is our time with the Lord.

We’re doing this by going to the weekly Feast—especially if you can come earlier.

Sabbath is a weekly Feast– but also, it’s a daily Feast. It’s our daily time with the Lord.

Does it happen that only on Sundays that you can have a Feast time? No.

I believe that we can have that nourishing Feast time with the Lord in our daily prayer—when there is silence in your prayer time, or adoration time. Or maybe when you’re doing Rosary on your way to work. Or maybe when you’re listening to Worship music when you are in the UV Express (utility vehicle or van).

Sabbath, as expressed in the previous talk, is not just about resting. But it’s also about trusting. I believe we can be resting if we are really trusting. It’s not just about specific hours and things to do in your life, on your calendar, but it is more of the inner attitude of resting in God’s love.

Time out! And when you’re doing time out, it’s like just trust.

When I am sleeping, when I am resting, I declare that God is working in my life.

And here’s another practical point: Relationships are like organisms. We are living things.

Relationships need tender, loving care. Relationships need nourishment, time, and attention. If we do not nurture our relationships, they wither, they die, they lose out. That’s why relationships are failing.

The Survey Says …

A 2021 survey by Cigna (an American multinational healthcare and insurance company) showed that 61%– 1 out of 2 adults—feel that they are lonely.

And if you apply that in this room—look at your left, look at your right, who’s lonely here?

Is that percentage high or low? It’s getting higher.

It’s 7% higher than the previous year. Is the percentage of people feeling lonely high or low?

It’s tremendously high: 1 out of 2 persons—61%! — say “I’m lonely.”

Of course, it’s subjective. But come on, we have this generation where people are feeling lonely despite supposed to have “connections.” In social media, it’s easier to call people now. It’s easier to connect—supposed to be—through technology. But the more “connected” we look like in technology, the more disconnected we become.

Sabbath gives us back that rhythm.

To be with the people we love, we need to stop working so that we can re-connect with our friends, with our loved ones.

I believe that Sabbath—including each of the other festivals—are like bursts of the Garden of Eden into our ordinary life.

Remember that in the Garden we enjoyed God’s abundance. In the Garden you were just there– living your life, enjoying the love of God.

Some practical examples:

I’m guilty of not doing that. Sometimes, most of the time, I go home late. Sorry,

my wife, my darling. So, tomorrow, I’ll go on leave. I think I need to do this more often.

We need to re-commit regularities into our relationships as well.

We need to commit Sundays as Feast Days. In The Feast Family, we have what we call Light Groups – a group of friends coming together, regularly meeting in different houses, or here, after The Feast, or wherever they can meet together.

I agree. I will never be who I am if not for these people who I spend life with.

We do Life together. And that’s a beautiful gift of the Church. It actually saved our life.

So, rhythm with God, rhythm with others.

This is for you also. As a doctor, I see a lot of persons really emotionally exhausted and lost. They’re like running on the treadmill of Life, wondering, “When is this going to end? What am I doing?”

Do you feel that way sometimes?

Sabbath is such a powerful concept and a lifestyle. Because if you do it, and keep it in check in a very consistent way, you will find the compass in your life. You find your inner compass.

The Guidance System consists of three aspects:

  1. Life Purpose: It is during rest time that you can get back to Why?
  2. Deepest Values: What am I standing up for?
  3. Core Identity: Who am I? And whose am I?

Take a pause, right here, right now. How are you? How are you in your internal guidance system?

And it’s great for you to hear this. Maybe this is something that could be refreshing for you: Sabbath Life is a beautiful life. It is not a wasted life.

It is worth doing and applying it in your daily life. The God of the Universe tells us to have parties, take vacations, take times out. When is that next time out that you’re doing? Would you like to do a time out with us every single Sunday? Would you like to put it in the many holidays this year—long weekends?

The Second Festival is the Festival of the Passover and Unleavened Bread. (The Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt for a long time. The Egyptian Pharoah did not want to grant them freedom until the Lord sent a plague –where an Angel of Death would slay all firstborns—including the son of the Pharoah.)

The Festival of the Passover and Unleavened Bread is a celebration of the historic night when (to make sure the firstborns of the Hebrews would be spared),

God instructed the Hebrew slaves to have a meal and smear blood of the lamb on their doorposts so that the Angel of Death, passing by, would skip (or pass over) their homes—that’s why the Festival is called Passover (Exodus 12).

That’s the common understanding of the Passover.

God’s Protection

Bible scholars believe that Passover, or in Hebrew, Pesach, means more about God’s protection. Remember the significance of this one. The plague was the final push so that the Pharoah would let the Hebrew slaves go.

Did you know that Jesus was crucified on the Feast of the Passover? If you look through your Bible, you’ll read it there. (John 19:31) (Mark 15:42).

Jesus chose to die on that day to announce that He was rescuing the entire world from our spiritual slavery. As Catholics, Good Friday is our Passover.

In the Festival of the Passover, people still ate unleavened bread for the next seven days. Yeast, which makes the bread rise– is a symbol of sin. So, by eating bread without yeast– you can eat and live without the yeast– they are declaring they can give up anything— legitimate comforts and ordinary conveniences— that may pull them away from God or push them to sin again.

So, that’s why during Lent, we abstain from meat and fast from food because we’re training our spirit to give up good things for much, much better things.

I love it. And as Catholics, again, we believe that the unleavened bread is fulfilled at Mass – because unleavened bread becomes the Body of Jesus.

Unlike in the other Festivals, where the Hebrews could already celebrate immediately, here, you’ll see in Leviticus, that the First Fruits Festival can be done only until they enter the Promised Land.

Here’s the Word from verse 9:

This is different from their tithes.

But if we can fulfill the meaning of the Festival of the First Fruits, we can make our tithes our first expense. This is where we put our First Fruits.

And when you do this, the practicality of it is this:

You declare: “God, You are the source of my everything. And my First Fruits is Yours.” And you also declare: “My second, third, fourth—if I seek You first, You’re going to bless the rest…”

That is the heart of the Festival: We honor God with our First Fruits.

Count seven weeks or 50 days after the Festival of the First Fruits, they celebrated Pentecost.

Pentecost is the Greek word for fifty.

Those 50 days would be 7 Sabbaths where everyone in town shared meals together. This is beautiful. Neighbors invited neighbors—“Let’s share a meal, friends.”

It’s a Festival. For seven straight weeks, abundance was flowing. Eden was alive again.

Here, in The Feast, we believe that we’ve multiplied around the world, not because by holding Grand Feasts—productions like this we’re having now. No.

We spread around the world because of the Light Groups—the Feast Lights that we’re doing—the small communities that meet after this big event is over. We have a lot of persons committed to build communities of loving relationships under the Light of Jesus Family. And that’s how we’ve grown.

On a spiritual level, on a practical level as well, for the Hebrews, Pentecost was to thank God for their harvests.

Centuries later, something familiar happened during one Pentecost Festival.

Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, God came down also in the form of fire. And this happened in another kind of mountain (Mt. Zion outside the old city walls of Jerusalem) and there, in a cenacle or dining room, called the Upper Room, the 12 apostles and Mama Mary gathered. And the Holy Spirit came down in tongues of fire on them. And the Church, the New Israel, was born. (Acts 2:1-4)

Today, we want God to continue to come unto us with His fire.

No. 5 Festival: Trumpets.

I’d been to Israel, and I saw the trumpets there. They are not brass trumpets. They are like horns of rams. And I even tried to blow one. I could not. There had to be a lot of lung power to get it done.

The Festival of Trumpets happened on the first day of the seventh month— which is very important. Because in a year, the seventh month is the Sabbath month of the year.

And the Festival is called Trumpets because it starts by blowing the ram’s horn 100 times. It was their prayer to God– for God to send rain for their crops.

It’s like their trumpet prayer to the Lord: “We’re making noise, Lord.

Hear our prayer.”

So, this Festival recalled how God forgave them after they became unfaithful by worshipping the Golden Calf during that time.

On this day, the Jews received God’s mercy and they recommitted themselves to the Lord.

Beautiful celebration. Celebration is when we remember the goodness of God.

No. 6 Festival: The Day of Atonement.

This is the most solemn Feast. And it happened nine days after the Festival of Trumpets.

In Talk 6, we heard the high priest took two goats– the first goat was offered as a blameless sacrifice and the second goat was sent away towards the East gate—like a spiritual garbage truck carrying their sins away from the family, away from the people, into the wilderness.

So, that was the one that goataway. ☺

We declare that both goats were fulfilled in Jesus through Calvary. So, understanding all of these makes us appreciate our faith.

Atonement brings us back to Sabbath because remember this:

Real Sabbath is not just a rest from work— but also rest from sin. That is why you can really just be there with God. God wants to set us free. Do you want to be set free?

As Catholics, for us, the Day of Atonement is fulfilled in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During this Lenten season, I invite you, have a good confession. Fr. Bob McConaghy is there waiting for you. And there’s going to be another priest at 12:30 p.m. We are offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation every single Sunday to stay true that we are Catholics– that the forgiveness of God is right there waiting for you. I hope you take it.

The last Festival:


Oh, this is interesting.

We don’t see this anymore.

The Feast of Tabernacles also called Booth or Shelter Festival.

During the Festival, the Israelites would stay in temporary shelters with roofs made out of branches of trees – for seven straight days. They were reenacting the life of their people way before, when their ancestors were wondering in the wilderness, living in tents (above).

And in this Festival, they recalled how God provided for their needs.

Of course, the Festival also recalled the Tabernacle—God’s Tent (right) among His people in the wilderness.

This was like family camping, Jewish style.

The Transfiguration

Just a little side story:

During the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Tabor, with Moses and Elijah, Peter said:

“Let us build three tents.”

Peter was referring to this Festival

of Tabernacles. At that moment, Jesus became the New Tabernacle – Emmanuel, God is with us.

So, what do we do? Why explain all these Festivals? Well, as we said at the start of this Talk, look into your calendar. Are we saying pattern your calendar after the Jewish calendar? No, no.

What I am saying is bringing back a rhythm of parties-vacations to your life is going to be a huge blessing for you. Put parties-vacations on your calendar—

if they are important for you, and if you believe that God has redeemed you, God has chosen to dwell in you. Put (days of resting in God) on your calendar.

Seven days. How do we do this Festival?

Well, you can have your own camping trips with your family, with your friends.

I know of a lot of people, for them, it’s so refreshing when they hike up a mountain, or just spend time with nature. Nature is actually good for you. Dr. Green, we call it. Spend time there, appreciating nature.

What Is Important

I mentioned to you that every morning, I try my best to get up, just wash my face, go out, walk, spend time appreciating nature, get some sun, trying to have meals with my family, trying to have a once-week date with my wife Mayi, every single week, starting also date-times with my daughter Haeli and with my son Hosea…

It’s hard – but it’s important.

At different times each month, we see our friends, Light Groups, friends dining together, connecting with one another.

At different times each year, family vacations. My wife and I just went on many trips.

How many are newlywed couples here? Yes.

How many here are couples with young children? Yes. May I speak to you:

The most refreshing time with my wife is when we’re not with our kids.

And I’m telling you, we need it. Let me normalize it. We need time for us.

And that’s the best gift we can give to our children—when we, as a married couple, continue to have that intimate relationship. Not just sex. But really, good time away. Because that’s our biggest gift to our children: our loving marriage.

I hope that you do so. Put it on your calendar.

You know, the most loving thing that I recognize now that my wife does?

When she puts on my calendar: “We’re gonna go here…We’re gonna take this vacation…     I was able to invite this couple, this family to our home…”

I will just say, “Yes.”

She sees my calendar, anyway. You know, she is the ruler of my calendar, next to God. It’s just practical.

Center of the Rhythms

Today, remember this:

The center of all these, the rhythms in our life – all of these point to Jesus.

Only Jesus can make our rhythms life-giving.

Only Jesus can be our power source.

St. Paul says:

All the festivals we talked about were prequels to Jesus.

Jesus is our Passover.

Jesus is our Unleavened Bread.

Jesus is the First Fruits of the Father.

Jesus is the Author of Pentecost. Jesus is the One being announced by the Trumpets.

Jesus is the two goats of the Atonement. Jesus is the new Tabernacle.

Jesus is the real Sabbath.

Only He can give us real rest that we are praying and hoping for.

Trust in Him.

Warning: Tiredness Can Kill

Yes. When you’re driving, you’re not sharp when you’re so tired, when you’re not fully rested, when you’re sleep-deprived– it’s not safe

And I am not talking about just physical tiredness. This is a warning because when we’re going out there, life is tough. It’s hard.

Our relationships can exhaust us. What’s happening in the environment can also drain us, can get into us again. Maybe today, you are physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially drained, exhausted. And if you do not take a break, you might just have a breakdown.

But I’m happy you are here. You know why? Because Jesus is here. Because He is refreshing us again, and again, and again.

From Matthew 11 He reminds us:

He will not only give you that rest, He

will give you that restoration.

That recalibration, that refreshing, that re-energizing time to be with Him. Guys, rest in the Lord today. Not just today – but each and every day– for all eternity.

One last practical thing: As we Worship, don’t think. Just trust. When you raise your hands in surrender to Him, you’re accepting “Lord, I am going to rest in You. I’m going to live that Sabbath Life. I’m going to have that vacation time, party time. This is You and me, Lord. I am Yours and I am Yours forever. God, lead me into a rhythm of always restoring relationship with You, with others, and most especially with myself. I am Yours.

Are you ready to live a Sabbath Life? Are you ready to go out there? Put it on your calendar. Put what you value most. It is God’s command. Trust in Him today.

Father God, we rest in You. Restore us, revive us, renew us, refresh us.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.                     

Published by THE FEAST (March 26, 2023)


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