Talk 4: Reluctant Preaching vs. Repentant People

BO SANCHEZ: Jonah 3:1 says:

Put your hand over your chest. Everybody say:

Jesus, speak to me.

Thank You for Your Word.

I will change because of Your Word. I’m claiming it . I’m receiving it.

The Word is powerful.

Today, I want to preach the Word:


How many of you can tell me that in your life, bad things have happened? How many of you can admit that you yourself had done some bad things in the past?

Now, this talk may not apply to you if you’re a very holy person. So, if that person beside you is very holy, just tell that person this talk may not apply to you. I want you to know that I am a semi -old man and one of the gifts, one of the jewels of being my age is I can look back at the past and really have perspective – the breadth of wisdom that I have. I love looking back at the past and looking at the lessons that I learned.

Now, I want you to know that The Feast is 42 years old. Long time!

And so, just looking back, and appreciating all that had happened, I realized

Yes, I preached, yes, I wrote lots of books, yes,  I pioneered ministries… I did lots, and lots, and lots of stuff —good stuff.
— and this is confession time :

But they were not always done with pure motives. I am a person who stands before you as a mixed bag of good and bad.

So, this talk is for me.

Fans Club

You know, when I was a young preacher, I had a growing fans club— predominantly female. Because I was single. And my wife Marowe knows this. Before she became my wife, she was my secretary. And so, she received my mails. And she would go through them. And no, we were not in any kind of relationship. No.

She was just my secretary, and she would come up to me and she would say, “Bro. Bo, maraming nagsusulat sa iyo ng mga love letters—Many are writing you love letters.”

And she could not stand it. Not that she could not stand it…But she could not understand because she was not attracted to me at all. She would put the letters in front of me– some of them were scented, folded in heart shape… And on occasions, I would receive wedding proposals.

I remember distinctly one time, after my talk, a beauty queen —somebody who won the local beauty pageant– came up to me.

She says, Bro. Bo, can you pray for me?” I said, “Yes.”

She said, “ Because I had a dream and I don’t know what the dream meant. I dreamt that I was getting married. But , Bro. Bo, I’m so embarrassed to say this, but you were the groom in my dream. What do you think is God saying —to us?”

You know, those were the kinds of questions that you could …

I don’t care if you’re the most intelligent person in the world —you just don’t know what to say.

You just say, “He-he.”

She was this gorgeous woman, you know, with model anatomy… And then I, yeah, was like, “Let’s pray for that.”

Broken Guys

Anyway, I just want you to know that I began to examine myself. And there I caught myself … During all those early years—just catching myself — I have to say this in Tagalog:

“Bakit ko ginagalingan mag-preach?—Why am I trying to give my best in preaching.”

Then, I caught myself saying, “Hmm, I preach because of the Word, because I love God, because I love people — but also because I want my fans to be happy.”

And I began to admit that to myself. And I think it worsened. This whole situation worsened because… You know, I was molested as a kid. I was eight years old , 13 years old.

I was molested as a child. And so, I hated myself.

One of the unfortunate results of being molested is that you don’t like yourself—you hate yourself, you blame yourself irrationally for what happened. And because of that, I needed people to like me. I needed people to lov e me.

And I would bend over backwards so that people would like me. So, there I was trying to gain the love of people. That’s what happened.

My dear friends, what you have in front of you is a guy who’s very successful in Ministry, but who was very broken.

And that’s exactly the guy that we are preaching about. This prophet, named

Jonah, was a very broken human being. And yet being presented in this story . Yet, I want to tell you this: Despite my brokenness, God blessed the work of my hands– over these 42 years.

A Veeeeeery Lame Five-Word Sermon 

God can turn our bad into good. And that’s exactly what happened here.

So, we read this point in the story…Remember, Jonah runs away from God when God told him to go to Nineveh. Then he gets thrown out from the boat. Then a sea monster swallows him up. He prays– nice prayer, from the book of Psalms, every line from different psalms—but no repentance.

Then he gets spat out on the beach. And God gives him a second chance…

And so, this is where our story picks up:

Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” 3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command, sort of. — Sort of – I’ll tell you why….

And he went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days for him to see it all.

Meaning to say, the city was so large that you have to walk for three days to reach from one end to the other… And then, it says here:

4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds…

It’s not very clear in this version, but in other versions, if you look at the original Hebrew, they show that Jonah preached only for one day.

Now, how big was the city? How many days you have to walk into city to go from one end to the other? Three days. But Jonah preached only for one day.

In Tagalog, ang tipid naman.—How stingy.

Passive-Aggressive Obedience

This is what Jonah preached— he shouted:

Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” (Jonah 3:1-4 NLT)

A total 8 words in English. But in the original Hebrew, only 5 words. It was a five-word sermon.

Again, I have to ask in Tagalog: Bakit ang tipid?—Why so stingy?

Because Jonah did not want to be there. He did not want to obey God.

The author, the brilliant author of t his book, was trying to tell you:

This guy, he was obeying sort of. And if a psychologist today will look at the story, he would point out this was passive-aggressive behavior —an indirect way to show your reluctance through procrastination, or through being sullen, or through being stubborn.

And when I read that, it reminded me of my nine-year-old self—really.

When I was nine years old, my definition of happiness was sitting in front of the television, watchin g cartoons, eating cheeze curls, and beside me, a tall glass of iced Coke– you know, Coke with lots and lots of ice cubes.

That, for me, was happiness. It rarely happened, by the way, because my allowance was very small, could not afford those things.


There was this one day when the stars aligned, and I was able to save up for my cheeze curls. So, from school, I went home with cheeze curls.

Then, low and behold, the impossible happened. My sister, one of them, had leftover Coke in the fridge. Very little.

I poured it into a glass—filled just almost half of the glass. No problem. Five ice cubes. Ahhh…

I walked in front of the TV, propped up my feet on the little couch, put the glass and the cheeze curls (on a side table), and then, I turned on the television .

Voltes V! Tatoe arashi ga hukou tomo, Tatoe oonami areru tomo…

Wow! I was in paradise.

During recent birthday of Bro. Bo, Feasters dress up as characters in Voltes V, Bro. Bo’s all-time favorite.

The ‘Worst’

Then, the worst happened. The worst ever.

My mom, from the kitchen: “Bo, quick, buy baking soda.” “Mooom, I’m having my moment here.”

You know what, today, no problem. Why? You can pause Netflix. But 46 years ago, no such thing.

So, here was my plan: 2 minutes: Run to Aling Puring’s sari-sari; 1 minute: Get and pay for baking soda; 2 minutes: Run back.

Total: 5 minutes. That’s one commercial break. Kaya ko ito. — I can do this.

So, I ran to the store like the Flash! But midway, I realized I forgot to bring the money. I ran back for it, got the cash, ran back to the store.

And Aling Puring tells me, “Walang baking soda, iho.”

You know, when she said none, honestly, in my heart, I was happy.

Because I really didn’t want to give her that baking soda. How dare she disturb my moment of ecstasy.

I mean, hello, in my mind, I said, “Buti nga—Serves her right!”

So, I ran back to Mom and told her, with a smile—that’s what you call passive-aggressive behavior: Outwardly, “Mom, they don’t have baking soda. Sorry.” You know, but inside, “Buti nga.”

Then, as I was about to watch my Voltes V, you know what my Mom said? She asked, “What store did you go to?”

“Aling Puring’s store,” I said.

Then she asked, “You didn’t go to Aling Tekla? The store is just a few more minutes from Aling Puring…”

It didn’t cross my mind. Why? I didn’t want to obey. Oh, my gush! And so, I ran to Aling Tekla. And there, Aling Tekla had baking soda. So. I went back home, gave the baking soda to my Mom, and then I went back to the TV…

Tatoe arashi ga hukou tomo, Tatoe oonami areru tomo…

Closing credits!

May I say this to you? That’s exactly who we are sometimes to God. That God tells us to do something and we don’t want to do it for different reasons—we’ll tell you more next week about why Jonah didn’t want to obey— but that’s what we are.

And guess what: God still works. Because even if Jonah preached only a five-word sermon, and even if he talked for only for one day, instead of three days, it worked. Nineveh repented.

God can turn our bad into good.

God Is Still In Charge


God is still in charge. I am thankful that God is still in charge. Oh, yes, He is still in charge. Even when we’re not. Even if we do not agree with what’s happening. Even if many persons are still hurting.

Welcome to the Family, my dear friends.

Let’s continue with our study of the book of Jonah. Let’s read from Jonah 3:5-9:

Who can tell? In other versions of the Bible, they say, Who knows? That’s very cool line…Who knows? Who can tell? A very reluctant prophet. He was in a different intention. He prayed or, I think, in the passive -aggressive tone, he wished that his preaching would not work. He did not go around Nineveh for three days– he just went around for one day and just preached a very short sermon. And yet, the Ninevites repented. 

Nineveh, you can compare it to Sodom and Gomorrah– in Genesis. Very cruel nation, very sinful, very far away from God. They would have been very evil people. And yet, again, they listened. The king put out a decree, the people repented. The king said not just the people, but also the animals. Imagine, the animals who knew nothing, also had to fast. For 40 days. I don’t know how they did it.

But remember, this is not a historical book —it’s a satire. What are we learning here? The sovereignty of God – He is still in control.

Jonah wanted to sabotage God’s plan. And yet God was still in control.

God worked miracles through Jonah’s partial obedience.

Have you ever had a time when you did not want to, but yet you obeyed?

And God showed beauty, great things out of your partial obedience ? Maybe today you woke up, you didn’t want to go to church. And yet, you got up, you dressed up, broke through the traffic, the parking—and yet, you’re still here. Kasi pinilit ako ng asawa ko—My spouse forced me.

God can turn our bad into good.

His Very Imperfect Act of Obedience Fed the Multitudes 

Jonah’s intention was malicious—so that God’s Will cannot save. Jonah was hoping that Nineveh would eventually be destroyed. But why not? Because it’s so evil. But Jonah didn’t want God to show mercy to the Ninevites.

But God is different. God is so good. God can take what was meant to be evil and turn it into good.

Just like what happened in Joseph the Dreamer’s story. It was so beautiful.

The Bible is a collection of books. It’s not just one book. It’s a collection of different books and I’m happy to see that it’s all interconnected. There are hyperlinks from one over the other.

In Genesis 50:20, we read that what was meant for evil God can turn it into good.

Many centuries later, St. Paul said that also in Romans 8:28:

All things will work for good to those who love God.

So, again, God can turn our bad into good.

But how does God do it? Does He force us? He just allowed Jonah to go ahead—be passive-aggressive. But still, there was enough obedience in the mix.

Guys, is God calling you to obey His Will? Even just little, even if nagrereklamo ka—you are complaining. Sige lang —it’s okay, go ahead and obey—no matter how small the obedience.

Just like in the story of the five loaves and two fishes —they fed multitudes. Jonah’s imperfect act of obedience fed the multitudes. It saved the city of ineveh from destruction.

Want to save a country? Obey the Lord. You want to save your organization? Your family? Even if sometimes it hurts you, or you are not so into it, obey God.

Can God Really Change His Mind?

God can do great things—even out of the little we offer Him, even out of our little obedience. We like searching for the bad in the good. We, imperfect people, we like searching for the bad things. But God is showing us in this story that God is different. He always looks for good—even in the bad.

How many here are in a bad situation?

God will turn it into good. Believe in Him. Believe in the Lord.

So, let’s go to the ending of this Chapter. Can God really change His mind?

Let’s read the Verse:

So, did God really change His mind? It’s a crazy thing to imagine.

God, who knows everything, who knows the depths of our heart, who knows our sins, who knows the passive-aggressive tone of Jonah…

Does God change His mind?

Well, this actually gives us an idea about our intercessory prayers: Pray for someone. Pray for something. Yes, continue to pray.

In the other Bible stories—again, hyperlinks from one book of the Bible to another—the other Bible stories hinted about this…

For example, the story of Abraham, when he kind of negotiated with God the number of good people needed for God to show mercy to Sodom and Gomorrah. He said, how about 50 good, righteous persons, will You not destroy it?

And God said, sure.

How about 45—will You not destroy it? Sure. And it goes to 40. Sure. How about 30? Sure. 20? Eventually it went into 10.

And God did not change His tone. God did not change His plan.

He said, “Sure—if you can find 10 persons, it will not be d estroyed.” But if you go and look through it, Abraham stopped at 10.

What if Abraham asked, “What if there’s only 1?” Would God had said Yes? Would He allow it?

Maybe. We wouldn’t know.

One more example of God’s mercy was when Moses interceded that God have mercy for the people of Israel — after they worshipped the Golden Calf.

Many stories of intercession, many stories of God seemed to be changing His mind. And these stories, plus the story of Jonah, maybe they say about convincing God to be consistent. With what? With His character of mercy.

I think it’s not so much about God changing His mind – but it is, in a very mysterious way, God inviting us to be part of the journey, to be part of His decision-making. That by praying, we realize the depths of His love, the depths of His mercy. We begin to see who God really is, how merciful He is, how loving He is. And it is learning, seeing, experiencing His mercy.

Do you remember Jonah’s five- word sermon? He said:

“Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”

 In the original Hebrew version, the word translated to destroy is habak.

But that word is more accurately translated as overturn.

I want you to see the miracle here: Instead of God overturning Nineveh into ruble, to be destroyed, God decided to overturn the hearts of people towards Him. He did not overturn the stones of the ci ty into ruble, He overturned the hearts of stone to come to Him.– to see His mercy.

Do you feel sinful? Do you feel so depressed? Do you feel so down?

Come and see Jesus…

My friend, my question: What kind of overturning do you want God to do today? Because as we are learning, God will – God will do so. God’s mercy is available. He asks us today: Do you want it or not? He will not force His Will to you– because He gave us free will.

Today, we can decide that even with a little obedience, God can turn bad to good today.

Reluctant Preacher

I’d like to end today by saying I’m a reluctant preacher today.

You know, I got to know the Lord when I was 13 years old. Personally.

My dad and mom brought us siblings to a faith community, a youth community

(different from the Light of Jesus) way, way before when we were young. Like 7 -8 years old. And yeah, we loved it.

But at 13, years old, I made a personal relationship with the Lord —through that youth community.

And 23 years later, I’m still here. You do the math.

At 13 years old– I need to confess to you– what made me stay in the faith community was not actually the Lord. It was food, yeah. And there were girls.

You know, we live in a very small place in Las Piñas. And in community there were girls — from Quezon City, Makati, Manila.

But I started serving, I kept on showing up—week, after week, after week.

One tear over the other every Worship song. And I did not stop.

And I was called — by the Lord– to serve anywhere that I was asked to serve.

I started as part of the Registration team, eventually becoming part of the Music team, eventually becoming a Worship leader. And then, you know, my mentor was Bro. George Gabriel (Feast builder and preacher). And I’m thanking the Lord for him.

Bro. George invited me, “Want to serve in The Feast? You will get to meet Bo Sanchez.

Sure, of course. Many, many people there. Yes, of course So, I, of course, am human. May I be personal to you today?

Yes, sometimes, we don’t feel like preaching. Sometimes, we also have our reluctance. Sometimes, we also have those, you now, impure intentions.


When Bro. Audee said to me, “Didoy, we’re going to call you more and more every single Sunday…”

I was like, “Oh, I’m okay serving at the background.”

And he said, “No, no. We trust you and we believe in you.”

I said–well, impure thoughts— “Who doesn’t want to be with Bro. Bo onstage, right?”

But I also had that feeling of unworthiness and I really felt

I could not preach like Bo. And I am not as pogi, handsome, and mas maporma like Bro. Audee.

But I still said , “Yes”.

What kind of overturning do I want? If God trusts me through my leaders — called me to do one thing — even if I am reluctant — I don’t feel like it, I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel I can do a good job– I’ll take it from the story of Jonah.

God can turn my bad preaching into good.

And I look at Abraham: Lord , if at least 50 persons would be blessed through my preaching in The Feast today, I’ll be happy. Can it be just 45?

Even just 40. Even if just 10. Even if just 1 person who will get to know You more, get to see Your mercy, get to love You more today, I will continue to say Yes, and Yes,wherever you call me to.

How many here are ready for God’s mercy today? We all need His mercy.

My friend, sometimes we feel like we’re Jonah. A mix of good and bad.

And I also see people, a lot of people who do not like themselves — who feel that their weakness, their sins, make them so far away from God and make them afraid that God will not show them mercy …

The Good News

I’ve got good news for you. I’m thankful that we do not have Jonah as our intercessor, as our prophet — he was reluctant

Who do we have? We have Jesus. And I’m very grateful that the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the One Savior,

 Remember, when hethe One Who went through suffering, and resurrection is the one praying for us. was on the Cross, He said to God:

Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do.

And what a comforting thought, my dear friends– that through His death and resurrection, God can bring us from death to life, from death to abundance, from hurting to healing, from blindness to our seeing today.

Come into worship to God and just experience His mercy. He’s just waiting for you. He wants you. He intended for you to listen to this message. He intended to save you today. Welcome you back home. He intended to heal you today. Even partially, will you li sten to Him? Even partially, will you obey His call to you?

Come. Now dear friends, dear Feast family , even those who are watching online… I want you to pray this prayer with me:

Dear Lord. I am like Jonah. A mix of good and bad. Thank You for showing Your mercy to me. I receive it today. Dear Jesus , thank You because by Your death and resurrection, You are bringing me from death to life. I receive Your mercy.

I receive your grace. And wherever you call me to, I trust You. I trust in You. I trust in You. In Your Name. Amen.


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