BRO. DR. DIDOY LUBATON: Who’s ready to hear the Word of God today?

Let me declare it first. From Deuteronomy 6:4-5:

I invite you to make this prayer today. Let’s close our eyes and just meditate on that Word: Hear, oh Israel, the Lord our God. Our Lord is one. Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Lord, today, we open our heart, our life, our whole being to You. Speak to us. We want to listen. We’re hearing You. And not just hearing You through words but really listening, receiving Your Word, changing us. We receive it, we thank You for it. And yes, we’re obeying You. Thank You for welcoming us home today. You are welcoming us home again. Speak to us more. May Your Holy Spirit transform us through Your Word today. This is our prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet

And a Light unto my path.

Our one big message today is Come home!

We’re starting a new series today and the title of our series is Dear Prodigals. We’re talking about the whole book of Deuteronomy starting today. It’s going to be a few weeks.

We have to appreciate as well that we’re finishing through the series the Torah, the first five books (Pentateuch in Greek) of the Bible which are:

We’ve been doing this for a year. It’s been a year since we started the series and it’s amazing. The Torah contains the 613 laws of God and today we’re going to learn that Torah is not just laws. Because when we think of laws, we are like, “Hala, ayan na ‘yung pulis. Hala, ayan na ‘yung sundalo – Oh, my, here come the police, the soldiers.”

We’re thinking that if it’s about laws, it’s going to be hard, so restrictive. No. (The word torah in Hebrew means teaching, direction, guidance, and law). Today, when we think about the Torah, we’re thinking about teaching.

It’s meant for us– not just to follow what is the commandment. Because the teaching of the Torah, the 613 laws, don’t necessarily apply to our situation now…

We’re not to live life like the ancient people did before. But we’re using the Torah up to now as a teaching.

The lessons are not to restrict us. The lessons are for us to have a full, beautiful, satisfying life. That’s what the laws are. That’s what the teachings are.

Again, the 613 laws in the Torah are written at a specific time and a specific place.

it’s about laws, it’s going to be hard, so restrictive. No. (The word torah in Hebrew means teaching, direction, guidance, and law). Today, when we think about the Torah, we’re thinking about teaching.

It’s meant for us– not just to follow what is the commandment. Because the teaching of the Torah, the 613 laws, don’t necessarily apply to our situation now…

We’re not to live life like the ancient people did before. But we’re using the Torah up to now as a teaching.



The lessons are not to restrict us. The lessons are for us to have a full, beautiful, satisfying life. That’s what the laws are. That’s what the teachings are.

Again, the 613 laws in the Torah are written at a specific time and a specific place.

Not Law…But Relationship

So, we have unpacked the Torah, we’re now ending the Talk series with the book of Deuteronomy. Our question when we reflect on the teaching–not just on the laws– to make it practical for you, the question we ask is, “Lord, how do you want me to love you today?”

By the way, if you came to The Feast thinking, “Lord, I need this, I need that…” It’s okay– especially if you’re just starting your journey with the Lord. But we believe that God is not Sta. Claus.

One of the most important relationships that you will ever have is the relationship you have with God. And here in The Feast, as we’re feasting on the Word, as we’re feasting on our experience of meeting one another, we’re feasting with the relationship we have with God the Father.

Deuteronomy literally means Second Torah. Because the First Torah are the laws written in Exodus at the start, and it’s being mirrored now in Deuteronomy.

Because the Israelites to whom the First Torah was given were already dead. (Flashback: A worldwide famine drove the Israelites, God’s chosen people, to Egypt which earlier had stored food in preparation for the famine. The Israelites became slaves in Egypt until God sent Moses to set them free and bring them to Canaan, the land God promised to Abraham, the Israelites’ patriarch. It takes only 11 days to travel from Egypt to Canaan. But because they’d been disobedient to God, the Israelites struggled through battles with tribes along their way. So, they wandered through the desert for 40 years—and this generation passed away.)

Now, there’s a new generation born out of the desert, now about to enter the Promised Land. So, there’s a need for a review, a reiteration of the Torah– because there’s a new audience, a new group listening. They are the ones who grew up in the desert and their mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, they had passed on. Reviewing the teaching is very important because loving God in the desert may be different from loving God in the Promised Land.

‘Hear, O Israel…’

Have you experienced that when you are in need and God gave you what you need, you become so in love with Him? You have a very good relationship with the Lord. But when everything is okay, and everything does go our way, sometimes, we forget that it all came from the Lord.

I’m setting this all up because it’s a whole series ahead of us about prodigals–and that’s you and me — and God is welcoming us home again.

The heart of the book of Deuteronomy is called Shema and it means hear.

This is Moses’ opening speech in the whole book of Deuteronomy and it’s the essential message of the whole book:

The Shema is very sacred to the Jews. They pray it at the start of the day, they pray it at the end of their day. They keep on singing it over and over and over again.

And I want to point at the first truth: that the Shema says the Lord is one.

I want to give you the context of this one. This is a revolutionary thing to say at their time and place because during that time, more than 3,000 years ago, Israel

lived in a polytheistic universe– the people had many gods. For example, in Egypt where they’re from, they worshipped Ra, Osiris, Isis. The Canaanites worshiped Baal, Asherah, Anat. Mesopotamians worshipped Marduk, Ashur, and Anu.

And these major gods still have lesser gods, deities with them.

So, to say that the Lord is one, that is revolutionary! That’s different.

That’s so new! Can even be laughable.

Our gods Today

Think of it in context: If there was Facebook at that time and you posted, “The Lord is one,” you would be cancelled. Nobody would believe you.

So, I want you to appreciate the text and get to know the context. When we say, worshiping God alone, it is not just a problem 3,000 years ago. I want to declare to you the truth: that yes, doesn’t the world still worship other gods? Don’t we?

If we search our heart, we might see there maybe gods that we’re worshiping—to whom we give our all—our time, energy, effort. We serve them. But they are not God.

For example, how many of you, when you wake up, the first thing you reach for is your phone? When I was younger, I was taught that the first thing I should rich for is my Bible. But now, I’m one with the bandwagons.

Sometimes, there must be a message. There must be an important thing… So, I’m one with you. And guys, have you ever experienced losing your phone?

It’s like you’re going to have a heart attack. Di ko pa nababayaran yun!—I haven’t fully paid it yet!”

Or, you got out of the house and you left your phone. You feel so naked. You want to go home. That is just a phone—it gets old, you can change it. Even if it’s powerful, it has its limitations.

Recently, I gave a talk in our youth camp called Camp Kalye. I found out they had a rule there: For three days, the kids would not have phones. They surrendered their cell phones to the organizers. Wow! I challenge us adults: how far can we go without our phones? Can we admit these phones are getting so much of us?

We worship a lot of gods today. Sometimes, you post something on Instagram, Tiktok, Threads, and if you don’t get enough likes or shares, you feel so unloved. Sometimes, you’re waiting for people to react—and that will be your validation. We also worship power, popularity, possessions. And if we don’t get them, we grumble. We think life is not fair. Life is bad. We worship our addictions. We worship our distractions. Sometimes, on the mirror, we worship ourselves.

An Ongoing Relationship

Today, God’s message for you is to Come Home. Come to Him just as you are. We need to pray the Shema more. And again, and again:

The Lord is one.

We read in the Bible that Jesus gave Shema as a compass.

One day, a religious leader asked Jesus, “Out of the 613 laws of Moses, what is the most important one?”

They wanted Jesus to be trapped in a debate with them. They wanted Jesus to pick something that was controversial so that they could pin Him down. But He didn’t. Instead, He said this, from Mark 12:29-30:

The word Shema means hear. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you receive the sound waves into your ear. It also means listening. Iba yung narinig ko, iba ‘yung napakinggan ko.

We do not just listen once– we do not just stop at listening. Listening, hearing, leads to obeying.

And I want to end by saying, “Please keep on listening because our relationship with God is an ongoing relationship.” It is not a stale or a stagnant relationship.

God is telling us something different to today, yesterday, and in the future. It’s a relationship– it’s alive. It’s not just a title. It’s an ongoing relationship.

How is your relationship with God?

Today, we declare that The Lord is one… He is kind. He is gentle. He sees you, more than you think, as a son, a daughter, an heir to the Kingdom of God.

And on behalf of all the leaders of our Community today, I say,

Welcome Home!

You’re part of God’s Family. It is an ongoing relationship.

To get the message going, let’s give a big hand to the next preacher, Audee Villaraza!

BRO. AUDEE VILLARAZA: You know what I find amazing about Deuteronomy is that it is said that the author who wrote this is the same author who wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. And the question I was asking as I was reading this is: Why in the world does he need to rewrite the whole thing again?

I mean, he talked about it already, he mentioned it in Leviticus–maybe all the lists and laws of God. Why the need to rewrite that book?

And I’m so glad I wasn’t the one who did that. But if that was me, I would just put there, “Refer to Page 3 of Leviticus and see the fullness of God’s laws.”

Because that’s how we are, right? We like short cuts.

I remember, in college, professors were like, “Give me a 5-page reflection on this book.”

And I’m like, “Sure! No problem. Consider it done!”

1.5 spacing, Arial font, 14.5 size– just to get it done.

Why in the world do you need to create and make a big deal again? Rewrite the whole thing. We found out from Didoy, that is because the author is talking now to a different market–it’s a different audience.

If in the first time the audience were slaves that escaped from Egypt, now the target audience is the next generation of people far removed from slavery. These are people who have never experienced slavery itself.

That’s why you kind of think that now it’s a new audience. The author needs to remind them about God’s laws.

God’s Laws Are Eternal

One thing that you’ve got to learn is this: God’s laws will forever be eternal. That you need to obey even though you’re the new generation. It’s generational.

It’s transferred from one generation to the next.

But here’s the thing: God’s set of laws — in the way that you apply them—it’s situational. Like it’s different how you would apply it in your life in the season that you’re in right now.

I’ll give you an example. Didoy said that the first law is Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul. That’s the first commandment— and that’s good.

But I realized this: When I entered Community, I was a 28-year-old guy.

And the way that I did ministry was so different – in the sense that I attended all of these pastoral programs, left and right. I was so busy. I remember, every Monday, I would attend Music rehearsals where they would teach us Music lessons. Five of us in that class.

Every Monday in Cubao, Quezon City, on Chicago Street, at the Lighthouse (headquarters of the Light of Jesus Family). Every Monday at 7:00 p.m., we would have Simon Santos teach five us—me, John Ben Rodriguez, Mike Viñas, Carlo Lorenzo, and Francis Yanga. We belonged in a group called the Pray Boys…

But little did Simon Santos know that five of us had a condition, a serious condition, called FCS. And this is a condition that happens to 1 out 10 Filipinos. And you know what FCS means? Filipinos who Can’t Sing. Globally, Filipinos are known to be talented singers but you have 1 out of 10 Filipinos who can’t carry a tune. I mean, we could sing but the problem is we could never do harmony.

Imagine five guys singing on top of their lungs. But you know, my favorite part about that was the fellowship right after. We would end at around 10 p.m., 11 p.m., and we would always have fellowship over Chicharon Bulaklak, Sisig…The fellowship was food for the soul. But the Sisig was food for a stroke.

And then Thursdays, I would have to attend rehearsals for the service that Sunday. And then, I remember, in between days, I would, you now, go Feast hopping.

But then I got married. And then we had kids. Now, Ministry looks a bit different for me. Because now, I would have to choose the programs and the events that really required my presence– because now I need to also take care of my family.

My point is this: The way that I showed my love for God when I was single is different from the way that I show my love for God now that I’m married, and I have kids. If before I would show my love for God by going to all these events. Now it’s a bit different. The way I show my love for God is not by going, but by staying with my family. Do I feel guilty? No. Because I believe that God is very much present in my season right now as a married person, as a father, and as a husband, as He was also present in my time when I was single.

So, again you’ve got to ask this: “Lord, how do you want me to love you right now?”

Ask: Lord, how do you want me to love you in this season of my life? Today that I am married. Or that I’m still single. Or that I’m a student. Or that I’m a worker. Or that I’m a business owner.

But you know, this entire book of Deuteronomy, it kind of makes you confused.

Because it seems like Moses is talking to the first generation of slaves– but then you realize that that’s not really the audience.

Four Audiences of Deuteronomy

I’ll give you four different audiences of the book of Deuteronomy.

First, the free people of Israel who are at the doorstep of the Promised Land– because they wanted to get into the Promised Land. So, they could be the audience.

But the second group of audience could be the Jewish exiles who, when Babylon conquered Jerusalem– remember that this happened 900 years after the time of Moses– that was the time that Deuteronomy was finally compiled right after Moses died. That could be also the audience because they wanted to get back to the Promised Land.

But then, another audience, the third audience, could also be the Jewish people who are now in Jerusalem because the reigning king, King Jairus, allowed them to come back there. But now they find Jerusalem in ruins and it’s no longer their city.

They might had been asking, “Lord, is this the Promised Land that you want us to be in? Because it doesn’t look like the Promised Land to us.”

So, they could also be the audience.

But when you think about all these people who wanted to return back to the Lord, you can actually say that the audience of Deuteronomy is every person who wants to return back to God. 

Guess what, isn’t that you and me? That’s all of us!

How many of you, at any point in your life, have run away from the Lord?

You’ve turned your back against God? You’ve disobeyed Him. You’ve forgotten Him?

That’s all of us. So, in a way, the audience of Deuteronomy is every person who wants to make a way back to the Lord.

That’s why the title of this Talk series is Dear Prodigals.

Can you turn to somebody beside you, and say, “Hello, Prodigal?” Now you probably already know the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

But I want to tell you the story again from a different perspective.

I know this has been preached by many preachers already: The story of a young man who goes to his father and asks for his share of the wealth early, and he finds himself in trouble.

But I want to share with you this conversation that they have, in Luke 15:11. To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them the story. The man has two sons…

Two Reasons the Younger Son Leaves

Why does the son leave the house? I’ll give you two reasons:

Look at the way he says it: “I want my share of your estate now.”

Isn’t this a picture of all of us? “I want the blessing now, Lord. Not tomorrow. Now!” And so, we take matters into our own hands–

because of our pride. Our arrogance gets to us and we think we can do it on our own. So, we define good and evil in our own terms.

Doesn’t that remind you of somebody? Adam and Eve. They left the Garden of Eden because they wanted to do things on their own. They were arrogant.

The son didn’t know any better.

Sometimes, we think that the grass is greener on the other side.

So, I try to think on my own — but not thinking of what am I leaving behind. Maybe the thing I’m going through, maybe the thing that I want, maybe the thing that I’m dreaming of is maybe just an illusion—fooling me that what I have in my hands is not what God wants for me.

But then you reach that other side, and you realize the reason the Garden was growing better where you were is God was there. But now you’re outside the Garden– and because of your ignorance.

But then after you overcome arrogance and ignorance, you know what happens next? There’s acceptance.

It says further in the story:

You know, my prayer for you– there’s somebody here who’s returning to the Lord just now– I pray that God will make you come to your senses that you realize that there’s no place better than the House of God.

God Is Our Natural Environment

There’s arrogance, there’s ignorance, and finally there’s acceptance.

But I want to give you this little analogy…


What happens when you remove fish from water? It dies.

What happens when you remove a tree from the soil? It dies.

So, what do you think happens when you remove yourself from God? You die. Maybe not a physical death, but a spiritual death.

Have you ever felt that? When you’re disconnected from God, there’s a semblance of life, but it’s not really living?

Because you’ve got no purpose.


God is our natural environment.

The Bible says that in Him, we move, we live, and we exist.

We live for God, through Him. That’s why when you disconnect yourself from the Father– you get lost and you can’t find yourself anywhere.

Come Back!

I share one last story.

A year ago, just after the Coronavirus Disease (COVID) lockdown was lifted, the Pandemic was still there but we managed to find ourselves in Boracay. My wife and I, our family, we took our kids, Ethan and Ellie, for a vacation because we needed it. We needed time away.

The thing with Boracay is it is a beautiful island. But the problem is that in Boracay, there are separate stations– Station 1, Station 2, Station 3—one station separated from the other by one kilometer.

We were staying in Station 2. So, when we needed to go to a restaurant in Station 3, had to walk for long kilometer.

My problem is that my son loves the beach but he hates sand.

I was like, “Son, you can’t have the beach if you don’t like the sand.”

Every single place we went to, we had to carry our two kids. So, my wife and I had to take turns carrying them. And by the end of the day– first day– we’re already tired. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful trip– it was fun. But on our way home, the air-condition system at the airport wasn’t working. And then, we arrived in Manila and it felt like the entire Philippines was sizzling. So, to get to our condo, we took a taxi– but alas, its air-con wasn’t working properly.

By this time, the two children, so tired, had already fallen asleep. So, imagine: Walking to our condo unit, we were carrying the two kids, we had luggage, we had bags. By the time we got to our unit, we just wanted to lie down. I was carrying Ethan and because I was rushing to get to our unit, I accidentally hit his head on the elevator door. And he cried non-stop. And by this time, my wife was already mad, I was also mad, the baby was also mad.

The joy we experienced in Boracay just vanished into thin air.

Days passed by and now, we have a little reflection on the incident which I’m sharing to all the parents who have young kids. I need you to realize this: That if you’re looking for a vacation with your family, the real vacation is not in a different place. It’s in your home. It’s at home!

At home, we can lie down, we can sleep. And we don’t have to be in traffic. A lot of us tend to go outside our home—we look for love, we look for joy, we look for peace, for purpose. But then, we find out that actually, everything that we need is in God’s House. It’s been there since the very beginning!

I didn’t need to go into a relationship to find love. It’s been there ever since.

You belong in God’s House. You need to come back if you’ve strayed away from the Lord.

And the Party Goes On!

And here’s a beautiful breakthrough that God promises in Luke 15: 22-23:

And he says this:

This is how the story ends.

But wait… Actually, it’s not the ending. Because it says, “So the party began.”

So, it’s not an ending. It’s a beginning. So, every time you come back to the House of the Lord, the Lord throws a celebration. He throws a feast.


Because it’s a chance for you to begin again. For you to start again.

For you to have the opportunity to be with your Father again.

So, every time you come to The Feast, my goodness, God throws a party for all of you.

Come on, we’re going to declare that this is the place, because God is here. And wherever you go—it doesn’t have to be in a church setting—any place that you go to, when you declare that God is your King in that place, God sets up His Tabernacle.God sets up His altar.

And that’s the place where God dwells in you.

You don’t need to look for God because God is in this place. He is waiting for you. Hallelujah!

Published by THE FEAST (August 13, 2023)


This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.