BRO. AUDEE VILLARAZA: We are in this wonderful Presence. As we break open the Word of God, Everybody, lift your hands, and let’s sing together:

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

You Look Like God

The Scripture I’m going to read is not new.

You’ve heard this Scripture time and time again. I’m choosing this passage because it encourages me so much to know how God sees me.

To those who might be new here, if you don’t know how God sees and loves you, this Scripture will change that:

 It’s plain and simple. According to the Scripture, you look like God.

The biggest problem with many of us is that we don’t usually like ourselves, especially the way we look. If you’re young enough and have the time

and resources, you’ll probably have something done to yourself.

But here’s the thing: that’s how God made you. You were created in His image and likeness. For everyone who is in here and even those watching online, you made the right decision to come to church today.

The enemy doesn’t want you here. He doesn’t want you to hear from the preacher that you are created in God’s image and likeness. The enemy wants you to hate yourself for who you are. But God wants to tell you that you are perfectly, completely, and absolutely loved– because He created you.

The enemy is shaking because you’re here in church and you’re bound to be encouraged by this message today. When you start loving who you are and how God made you to be, you’re likely to do great things for God.

Here’s our big message for today: Let’s pray…

“Father, this is Your Word. We thank You that you are here with us.

Thank you for creating us in your image and likeness. Teach us how to love and appreciate ourselves the way you appreciate us.

Teach us that because Jesus is in us, we can do great things through His Name. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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

Surprise: Two Lessons!

Copying has been a practice in every culture.

For example, you copy an original song and you try to make it your own.

You copy something so successful, and you try to bank on that.

Copying can be good especially if you copy the good stuff. There is, however, also danger in copying.

When I was in high school, our Science teacher announced that there would be a pop quiz. Of course, we were not prepared for it– 50 percent of the students in the room started grumbling.

There was only one guy who was grinning from ear to ear. Ernesto (not his real name) was the smartest guy in our class, and he was probably prepared for the quiz.

Suddenly, something crazy happened for the very first time. Ernesto, who always sat at the front, discretely showed his paper on the side and prodded people to copy his answers. We were shocked because he had never done that before.

Of course, no one hesitated one bit. Everyone copied his answers– including yours truly. This was before I was saved.

By the end of the test, we were so proud because we would pass the test. We generously thanked Ernesto for that unbelievable act.

Two days later, the same teacher came in and handed our test papers back. We were so excited to see our test papers. But to our surprise, we all failed. We couldn’t understand. Even Ernesto had that discouraged look.

A week later, one of our female classmates asked if she could borrow a pen from Ernesto. He gladly said yes and told her to get the pen from his bag.

When our classmate opened the bag, she saw Ernesto’s test paper — with a perfect score of 20/20. She was surprised because we copied his answers, didn’t we? Why did Ernesto pass and the rest of the class fail? As she looked closely, she noticed that each answer had an erasure. Ernesto let us copy his wrong answers– then erased them and wrote the right ones.

What are the lessons from this story?

  1. Study hard
  2. Be careful what you copy

1. You may be copying a copy from a For example, back then, original cassette tapes were expensive. If you didn’t have the budget and resources, you would just buy a blank cassette tape because you could record over and over on that tape. But if you didn’t have access to the original tape, you could resort only to a copy of the original tape. But you would have incoherent recording ever.

In the Book of Judges we read that there was a time when the Israelites were already in the Promised Land but their leader wasn’t Moses anymore. It was Joshua. During the reign of Joshua, there was prosperity in the whole land. They were obedient to the Lord– until something happened…

The first settlers in the Promised Land* were obedient to the Lord because they received the law of God directly from Moses. As years passed, the succeeding generations never even saw Moses. They had never seen the Tabernacle. They didn’t know about God. So, the quality of faith dropped. They were copying from another copy of another copy.

Why? Because the parents failed to teach them about God. They did not know that what they were worshiping was somebody else’s golden calf– no longer God.

Copying Conflicts

Parents today can make the same mistake. What you do as parents, especially when your kids are young, can affect them when they grow up. Whatever you give priority to will eventually be what their priority too when they become parents.

When they see you going to the mall instead of going to church, they’ll copy that and do the same, and their children will copy them. Don’t blame your teenagers when they do not pray– if you never taught them how to pray when they were younger.

*Editor’s Note: In Genesis 12, we read that Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews (or the Israelites) was so faithful to God that God promised Abraham would be the father of nations and He promised He would give Abraham and his people a land of their own.

The Promised Land was the land of Canaan– the region south and southwest of the Lebanon mountains, north and east of Egypt, east of the Mediterranean coastal plain, and west of the Arabian desert.

In the ancient world, people known as Philistines occupied a small part of southern Canaan called Philistia. Later, the Greeks called the place Palestine.

As we know, to this day, Israel and Palestine are still in conflict over territorial rights over the place, not to mention, as some accounts point out, unsettled differences in religious beliefs.

2. Imitating When we’re not conscious, we copy the injuries of people. Sometimes, external factors such as our parents, siblings, and environment, create a ceiling that tells us to stop because we’re limited.

“This is the way your dad did this.”

“This is the only way your mom showed you how to do this.”

Some of these limitations are lies and we’re very loyal to some of these lies.


To avoid copying the wrong identity as well as the injuries, you have to reclaim and restore your Imago-Deity, or your God-identity.

Here are four ways:

1. Embrace creativity, not just consumption

Have you ever sat on a couch and looked at your phone? Before you know it, three hours have passed by and you were just scrolling through your phone for messages.

The thing is that you’re not meant to overconsume because when you do, you neglect your God-given gift to create.

2. Embrace possibilities, not just liabilities

We have a God who is unlimited. He came and tore open the ceiling. He broke the tradition because He wants to tell us that nothing is impossible.

3. Embrace personal encounters, not secondhand rumors

God is inviting you to come and see Him. Don’t just anchor your faith on the faith of another person. Don’t base your salvation on somebody else’s story. Have your personal experience of God.

4. Embrace character, not image

Once upon a time, I asked our Worship team why they signed up for the Ministry. They said that they did so because it looked cool to be onstage to sing or they did so because they wanted to sing like the singer they saw before.

Those are logical answers, but I wanted them to go deeper into that reason.

If you’re here onstage and singing every Sunday, I want the people to be inspired by your faith more than by your singing.

When I started preaching at The Feast, like many other preachers, I thought the trade secret to learning the craft was to copy from how other preachers do it. You borrow the style and the technique. I studied the way our other preachers did it. I tried some of the things that they did until I realized that I was just going to be a poor version of them.

Copying Preachers

For instance, I’m a poor version of Bro. John Ben Rodriguez who is good at comedy. He can instantly tell a joke– on the spot. In my case, I must prepare my jokes a week before I go onstage. I practise it in front of a mirror.

I’m also a poor version of Bro. Ryan Capitulo. Have you ever heard him sing his version of Thy Word? It’s like he is in a singing contest. It’s that amazing.

I’m also a poor version of Bro. Lep Sumera with the way he connects with the young people. He knows the language of the young.

I have to take a crash course to understand your language.

I’m also a poor version of Bro Didoy Lubaton who is a good mentor when it comes to crucial conversations.

He knows about “carefrontation.” (a combination of the words care and confrontation). I’m not really good at it in a face-to-face manner.

I’m also a poor version of Bro. Alvin Barcelona who preaches so eloquently in Tagalog. It’s deep and heartfelt. If I preach in Tagalog, my brain will buffer every five minutes.

I’m also a poor version of Bro. Bo Sanchez whose wisdom is beyond me. Plus his K-Drama game is untouchable.

He’s amazing, right?

I’m just the worst version of all these preachers. I can’t be like them.

But you know, I’m the best version of Audee Villaraza.

Let me say the same thing to you:

You’re the best version of you. Nobody can do you. With all your complications and with all your uniqueness, nobody can be you.

Be the Jesus in You

My message is Be you. But don’t just be you. On your own, you’re just an imperfect version. Be the Jesus in you.

Did you know that you cannot be played by any other person other than you? You’re so unique.

My son has friends who are triplets named Faith, Hope, and Love.

I can’t tell them apart but Ethan can.

Hope has the smallest face.

Faith has a birthmark on her arm.

Love is a hugger. She’s the one hugging Ethan.

We’re all unique in the eyes of God. No matter what labels have been placed on you and the names that you have been called, that’s not who you are.

You are a child of God. You carry that image wherever you go: Imago Dei.

“Father, as we lift our hands to acknowledge that Your Presence is before us. Help us to reclaim our lost identity. Because the world has projected all of these labels, insinuations, and brandings on us, we got lost. But today, Lord, we realize that underneath the veil, we are just like You. We are loving, good, and holy like You. We embrace this image. We need Jesus to be inside of us and that identity to be locked in our hearts, where nobody can take it from us. Thank You for loving us and for being with us. We pray for more of You in our lives. Come and be with us as we worship You in spirit and truth. Come, Jesus, come.

How God Sees You

The Spirit of the Lord is here with us today. Before we commit our life to Jesus — our past, present, and future– let me just preach this Word from the Book of Matthew. This will speak in the season of your life when you are questioning some things — whether God loves you, whether there are some things that you hate about yourself.

This is how God sees you:

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

This was the time when Jesus had not performed any miracles yet. This was the time when His public ministry was not activated yet. Suddenly, God showed up in a voice after John baptized Jesus.

God said, “This is my Son, with him I am pleased…”

I’m telling you this is a game-changer. This changes the way you see how God sees you. This changed my life– about how I see how God sees me.

Before Jesus did anything for the Father, God said “This is my Son who gives me great joy.”

So, my Friends, listen to this:

Before you do anything for God, know that He already said, “You are my son.

I am well-pleased by you. You don’t need to do anything to earn my love, to be accepted, because you already are…”

While you are still a sinner, God already forgave you. God already loved you.

You don’t need to earn it. You just need to accept it, to walk in it, to receive it.


Are you ready to walk in the great favor of God? Raise your hand if that’s you. Hallelujah!

Father, look at all your children who love You, who worship You, who want to be with You. At this moment, I pray, Lord, that You would shift their hearts and return their identity, that identity that has been in their DNA since the beginning. You created them for a purpose and You love them so much…

Everybody, say this: Lord, Thank You for loving me, for accepting me, for embracing me– not for what I did but for what Jesus did. Thank You that You are my God. Change me like only You can. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (April 21, 2024)


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