Talk 7

BO SANCHEZ: Hi, Guys! By the time you are listening to this, I am already in Jakarta, Indonesia, and I am already preaching there. There is a Feast Conference there and 99.99% are all Indonesians.

So, an amazing work of God is happening there.

Anyway, I just want to welcome you to Talk 7 of this series on Exodus. And I want to preach the message: Come up to the mountain.

Before we explore Talk 7, I want to share a bit more personal with you.

Many moons ago, my wife Marowe and I were still a few years into our married life. It was a Sunday night.

I was driving home, and my wife was in the backseat with our two energizer buddies, all drained out, and they were sleeping on her lap.

And it was 9:00 in the evening on a Sunday, we were bone tired. Because the whole day we were serving— we went to Mass, I led a prayer meeting, I preached in the service gathering, and then in the dinner, there was this fellowship with other Community members.

Then, I heard a voice from the backseat. It was my wife and she asked a question. And the question was this: “Bo, sometimes, I just wish our life was a bit normal— like we didn’t have all these responsibilities for other people?”

I didn’t see that question coming. That question pinched my heart.

Because it was true: we were not living a normal life. I mean, what is normal?

Normal is working from Monday to Friday. And then you could be able to rest on Saturday— like have a picnic in the park. And then on Sunday stroll in the mall.

Crazy’ Schedule

Because of ministry— and also because of my personal businesses— weekends were the busiest days of the week. Like, Saturday, retreats, seminars… Sundays, preaching at The Feast.

At left, family time— at The Feast. And you know, it was really tough.

I remember, it’s like, okay, half of the time I would be able to bring them with me, half of the time, they would be left behind at home. About eight or nine times a year, I would travel.

And again, it’s half-half— half the time, they’re left behind, half the time I would bring them along with me. And because the kids were tiny, it would always be pandemonium.

Can you imagine me, pushing a cart with eight pieces of luggage— giant luggage— and pulling two bags…and my wife carrying a baby in her arms, and then our little boy running around and asking, “Are we there yet?”

Okay, so you get the picture.

Now, but here’s something I need you to realize: Even if my schedule was crazy, from Monday to Friday, I would put top priority on family time— like dates with my wife, dates with my boys, family dinners, family trips.

But still, it’s really a question. Marowe’s question was really valid. She was basically asking, “May we focus on our family first?” You know, we’re responsible for this, that person, that group.

So, I asked her this question: “Do you want me to stop serving?”

And I remember her answer. She said, “Don’t mind me, Bo. This is just nguy-nguy. And, you know, after a day, I’ll be okay.”

I want you to know I have no hope of translating nguy-nguy in English. Okay?

But the general idea is she was just verbalizing her emotions. And what I have learned is that when she’s in that state, I would not try not to solve her nguy-nguy. Instead, I would wait for us to arrive home, and then I would listen to her, and then I would hug her — that’s it.

And she said something else after that.

Climbing Up the Mountain

Marowe said, “You know, Bo, before

I married you, you were already like this— serving God. This is who you are. And

I knew this. I knew what I was getting into.” That, for me, was absolutely beautiful, and I said, “Yeah. “

And she said this: “Even if our life is more difficult, I wouldn’t want it any other way. We are family, we’ve embraced this more difficult, stressful life— intentionally.”

In one sense, we deliberately climbed up the mountain.

And after almost 25 years of married life,

I look back at our abnormal life with profound gratitude. Above, date with Marowe: Inspirational podcast for couples dubbed Dinner Dates with Bo and Marowe.

My greatest rewards: 1. Both of my sons love to serve the Lord. Francis serving as member of Feast Worship Ministry; Bene sharing and now also servant-leader at The Feast Youth session.

2. I have an amazing marriage with my wife— because the best relationship is not with two persons looking at each other with googly eyes, but two persons facing one direction, walking towards one mission.

3. Plus, I have the greatest lifelong friends — because I’m serving the Lord in Community.

If given a chance to relive my life, I would still embrace our more difficult life all over again.

With that sharing, I want you to listen to this powerful message, Talk 7 of our Exodus series. God bless you.

Something Burning— Again

DIDOY LUBATON: Thank you, Bro. Bo. I want to highlight what he just said: Given a chance, he would do it again. He would embrace that difficult life. And he was mentioning the rewards. It’s very encouraging to hear our founder saying that

it is a difficult life.

Who’s having a difficult time? So, one big message today:

Climb Up the Mountain.

Yes, climb it up. There is effort. There is work. We’re always thinking about what it feels like on top of the mountain— majestic view, a fantastic perspective…

But there’s work there— climbing up the mountain.

And you need to make that decision today. It is a bit intimidating— “I’m not fit enough. I’m not good enough. It’s hard.”

But Bo summed it up: “If I’ll do it again, I’ll climb up the mountain. Today, we’ll unpack one of the most momentous events in Biblical history.

And that is God making a covenant with Israel. This is the time that the covenant is taking place on top of the mountain called Mount Sinai.

Do you remember? Just a few weeks ago, we were able to preach that Mount Sinai is not new to us.

It’s the same Mountain where Moses encountered God for the first time. Remember what was burning at that time?

The Burning Bush. That is where God revealed Himself.

Today, we’re going to see something burning again.

There’s something about that Mountain. It’s the Mountain of God.

And we have three messages we will unpack for you today.

Message No. 1: God rescued you for a two-fold purpose.

God rescued Israel, the people of God for a purpose. And yes, there was pain going through it.

Exodus says:

Where were they? They were in front of the Mountain. And I could imagine, the Israelites were in front of the Mountain where they heard their leader Moses meet God. And it must be a special time— when God tells Moses He wanted a covenant with His people.

Covenant. Covenant is more than a contract. And you can think of it as a marriage between God and His people. And here it is:

What a beautiful covenant. What a beautiful invitation to a relationship— not just a contract but a covenant.

In the Garden and the Kingdom

God didn’t rescue His people so that His people will live just ordinary life.

There is a purpose for it. God rescued them for a two-fold purpose:

To be in a relationship with Him; To be a kingdom full of God’s images.

God rescued us— and is rescuing us. We are called by God— each one of us to live extraordinary life—not just a mundane life.

God has two purposes:

No.1: Be in a relationship with Him; No. 2 Kingdom full of God-images. To be His representatives here on Earth. Kingdom of Priests.

A priest— especially in ancient culture— is the person who mediates between God and Man. Imagine: God is calling not just Moses as the priest. God is calling the whole nation as priests to mediate between God and Man.

That is a beautiful two-fold purpose.

First, —hyperlink—going back to the previous book, Genesis: When God created mankind, He already made this purpose very clear. We are to dwell

with God in the Garden.

Second, we are His co-rulers— stewards of His creation. But we all know what happened. Sadly, mankind failed. We all failed. But God didn’t give up on us.

God Teaches Through Testing

From Adam and Eve, He called Abraham and his family to be

His representatives.

Do you remember those Feast talks that we just had?

Abraham and his family grew into a nation. But it won’t be easy.

The Israelites had been slaves for over 400 years. They didn’t know how to rule. They didn’t know how to represent God.

And what God does is His loving way to teach us. Sometimes, teaching us is best through testing.

So, here it is: The first part of our two-fold purpose is to be really in a relationship with God and enjoy Him. God wanted to make a covenant— a special relationship between Him and His people.

But the foundation of any relationship is always based on trust.

You will be in a relationship — a good, long-standing, loving relationship with trust. Without trust, there is no relationship. As we have seen, again and again, God called us, and God rescued us. But there are times we do not trust God.

Thus, God tested the Israelite nation from out of Egypt, through the wilderness — teaching the nation again, giving them another big test. He asked everybody to go up the Mountain. He gave instructions to Moses:

Sadly, a slight problem that we see here. Let’s read further:

Instead of celebrating, they trembled.

The People Did Not Climb the Mountain

So, did they climb the mountain?

No. They did not even try. They remained at the foot of the Mountain. They were trembling. Why?

Here’s what happened:

The whole Mountain was on fire. This time, God was not in a Burning Bush. He was on a Burning Mountain.

That’s scary. But that’s actually the test.

God wants you to grow closer to Him. Moses was stepping on Holy Ground when he approached the

Burning Bush. It was just a bush. So, it was just Moses and God.

But here, the invitation was to climb an entire Mountain.

God expanded His Holy Ground— for all of us to come in. But we got terrified The nation got so afraid. They trembled. The thunder, the fire, the rumbling had a purpose. They were part of the test.

God wants us to be closer to Him, to enjoy Him, to enter Eden, and walk with Him in the Garden. But first, are we really willing to climb up the Mountain?

Are you willing to climb up the Mountain? And really go into that Mountain and see smoke, darkness, not so clear, there’s thunder, there’s rumbling, setting the place quaking.

God’s people said at that time, “No, thank you.” They refused to go up. So, let’s read further:

The Garden, The Temple, The Mountain

The answer to the test was already given:

Do not be afraid.

But what did the people decide to do?

This is one of the most depressing moments in the story.

It was an invitation, an expanded space for a Holy Ground— for everyone to come in. Not just Moses. Not just the elders. The entire Mountain was for everybody to come in.

And yes, there was thunder, there was lightning. They refused to go up.

They refused to grow closer to God. They became afraid. Why?

Here’s something that helps us understand this further. Mount Sinai is divided into three parts:

The foot of the mountain; the way up the mountain; and the fiery summit.

This parallels the three parts of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden.

Because the Temple was structured like the Garden. The fiery summit of Mount Sinai parallels the Holy of Holies in the Temple and the Tree of Life in the Garden. They all have the same message. The Israelites didn’t want to climb up the Mountain. Moses climbed up on their behalf. A priest mediating between God and His people.

This derails the second part of the purpose God called us. The second part of the purpose is for Man to represent God. Instead of becoming a kingdom of priests, Israel became a kingdom with priests.

The opportunity, the call— wasted. But this was not God’s original plan.

He wanted everyone to become priests. But not everybody wanted to climb up the Mountain. God wanted to recreate an entirely new people— an entire nation, new humans, new God-images, new representatives. But to do that, everyone had to climb up the Mountain.

And on top of God’s Mountain, you will reach a meeting point with God.

God’s space and Man’s space, God’s heart and Man’s heart altogether.

Message No. 2: God’s fire will transform you.

Human behavior. I totally understand why the Israelites did not go up the Mountain. They remained at a distance. It was a burning mountain— with lightning, with thunder, setting the place quaking…

So, when we see something like that, we just want to stay where we are.

We want to be comfortable. We don’t dare go there— even if it means growing closer to God. We clearly have feelings like this now pop-culture. It happens.

Even in The Feast, the imagery is so clear.

When I invite people to The Feast, out of a hundred, majority would say, “No, no, I cannot go to your religious event. No. Masusunog ako diyan.— I’m gonna get burned there.”

They feel that they are too sinful. Their image of God— they think that God will strike them dead. They think that God will judge them, and make them really feel so small.

But that is a lie. That is the lie of the devil.

The truth is God’s Fire does not burn you. It burns what is destroying you.

What Is God’s Fire?

We embrace and go through the fire.

Because the Fire of God is not meant to burn us out. It is meant to burn the impurities that are within us.

To destroy what is destroying us.

God is not here to destroy us. God is destroying what is destroying us. God’s Fire is so loving. It burns our sins. It burns what is making us less human.

The Fire of God’s Love will make us better— not bitter. The Fire of God heals us more than it hurts us.

What we think is good, may not be really good. So, let me backtrack a bit…

Remember the tree in Genesis? The Tree of Knowing Good and Bad?

People take that story too literally, and ask, “What’s so bad about eating a fruit?”

But it’s symbolic. The Tree of Knowing Good and Bad represents Man telling God, “I don’t trust You.

I will define what is good and bad for myself. I don’t need You because I am my own God.”

So, when God called the people to climb up the Mountain, it was a reversal of the fall of mankind.

According to our limited wisdom, the fruit is sweet and the fire is dangerous. But it’s actually the other way around. So, we eat the fruit and avoid the fire.

But if we walk into the Fire, as God wants us to, we declare, “Lord, we trust You. We declare that You are our God. It is You, Lord, who called us to come up that Burning Mountain.

I will go through the Fire, and go through the Mountain, because it’s You. That is our response today.

But what is God’s Fire, anyway? Let’s discuss more on that.

Do Not Be Afraid

Let’s see… Again, when God called people to climb up the Mountain, the behavior was, “No, we’ll just stay here.”

It’s self-preservation. It’s in the survival mode of the animal:

“I’m not going to go where there’s fire, where there’s smoke, where there’s danger, danger, danger, danger.”

We will do anything to survive. That is why we stay in our comfort zone and avoid the courage zone. Avoid what seems dangerous or unknown.

But here’s Good News: The relationship with God is always dangerous.

The World is. Life is.

The relationship with God is dangerous. And when I say that, it’s not just really dangerous. It’s because it’s dangerous to our sinfulness and our selfishness.

God’s Fire is God’s Love.

We allow ourselves to be loved by God. The tender love, and also the tough love. God’s Love purifies. God’s Love is dangerous because it will transform us forever.

Here in The Feast, this is where God is cooking each one’s heart through the Fire of His love. Cooking one’s life, Cooking one’s mind. Cooking one’s body.

So that after The Feast, go out and feed. Go out and serve.

Go out and love people.

My dear friend, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of God’s fiery Love.

Embrace it. Climb up the Mountain. Walk into the Fire.

Let’s shift away from the mindset that fire makes us afraid. God is speaking to you today. The Fire of God is God’s Love. And God’s Love will not harm you. God’s Love will heal you. Go through the Fire.

Say ‘Yes’

God spoke through Isaiah, coming from another part of the Bible. Recalling this scene, I want you to remember the Red Sea, the Burning Mountain that we are in. We’re going to read this together and embrace this message, this call of God, this reassuring Word of God:

My friend, brother, sister, will you still remain just in front of the Mountain? Will you remain in your comfort zone? Or will you say “Yes” to this invitation from God to climb up that Mountain? And yes, go through the Fire. For the reassurance is when you go through the Fire, you will not be burned. You will not be consumed. It is an invitation to His Love. It is a loving invitation. Will we say “Yes”? It’s reassuring: “Please do not fear. I have called you by Name. You are mine now… My Fire will not burn you… It will bless you…”

In our church, our Feast gathering, we’re climbing up the Mountain.

We’re going out of our comfort zone here (in PICC), to a new venue (the nearby Aliw Theater). We’re going to climb up to that unknown, going to that space— it’s newly renovated, more comfortable, more parking. But I can sense people are, “Uhhh— not sure… 8 a.m., too early; 11 a.m., lunchtime; 2 p.m., siesta time…”

It is God’s loving invitation. That invitation is not for us to have an easy life. We embrace it— even the hardships. And it’s part of God’s Love. And the loving reminder is: “Even through the Fire, I am with you. Do not be afraid. The fires, the trials, the tribulations, the hurts, the limitations that you see— they will be nothing. They will be worth it. As an organization, as a church, as a family, as Feast Family, we are going through that Mountain. And that is where God will meet us. God has already been with us, actually, from the very start.

But to this invitation, my friends, I hope we say “Yes.” Because, imagine: If we miss it, what’s the alternative?

We could be feasting with God. We could be healing ourselves with Him. We could be experiencing joy like never before. We could be living in so much more abundance beyond our imaginings. If we walk through the fire.

Climb up that Mountain.

Here’s Message No. 3: God’s Fire will make you His Light.

Exodus gives us an exciting glimpse of how the Fire of God transforms. On the seventh time, Moses went up to Mount Sinai to meet God— and Exodus says:

Moses got a facial— more than a facial.

Because he had spoken to the Lord. When he met the Lord, he became a picture of a transformed, transfigured person.


If every Israelite trusted God…

And they climbed up the fiery Mountain… Every man, woman, child would have been glowing like Moses.

Imagine what it would have been like…

God’s Call

For you and me, my friends, the call is still true today. God calls us to climb up that Mountain. Experience the Fire of His Love.

Be transformed like never before.

And God calls you to shine.

Centuries later, Jesus said:

It still is true. Shine. That is His purpose for us.

But as we go through the story, it’s only Moses who was shining. And when we go through further in the Bible, we will see that even Moses— even the best of us — even the priest of God, a holy man of God, who was able to climb up the Mountain, he eventually failed.

When we explore the next book, the book of Numbers, we will read about the failed life of Moses.

So, what does God do? Even if the priests— despite the great miracles, despite the great things— people are so stubborn.

Woo-hoo, talk to me, Didoy. Yes, just like you and me.

What does God do? Even if Moses failed, what does God do? That is the God whom we serve. He never gives up on us.

The Mountain of Jesus

Jesus climbed up the Mountain too. God provides us with the Perfect Priest.

The Perfect Mediator. The One who is the God who became human. He lived like us— breathed, ate, got hurt. He became one like us.

His Name is Jesus. The Perfect Mediator.

And on behalf of every human— past, present, and future, He climbed up the Mountain of Calvary. And there, He walked straight to death, into the Fire.

But on the third day, He resurrected into New Life.

God’s Fire, God’s invitation may be scary: to love, to serve — to go to Aliw (new venue of The Feast), to love my neighbor, to pay my taxes, to not be angry, to live a life of integrity… And it looks like a death wish… “I will give,

I will exhaust my resources…”

But through the experience and the example of Jesus, going through the fire, especially the Fire of God, doesn’t end with death. The same Resurrection Power that conquered the grave is with you and me— yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus went beyond His own fears and went beyond His natural desire for self-preservation— for our sake. Jesus embraced the difficult life.

You Are Invited

I’m going to give that invitation to you now. You are comfortably sitting down in a beautiful environment, cool space, beautiful lights, handsome preacher :), and for those watching online, the Internet is steady, the weather is fine…

You’re already thinking, “What am I going to eat, after The Feast? Where am I going to get my coffee? Amigos, friends, where are we going to meet?

Right this moment, I want you to focus, here with me— on behalf of God. I’m not saying I’m a priest—although we are called to be God’s priests, a holy nation…

The invitation is: Are you willing to climb up the Mountain? You’re not forced to live a hard life. But life is already hard. Might as well embrace it, right? You can have a hard life without God. Or have a hard life with God. Your choice.

Remember: the Fire leading up to that peak looks like a death wish. But it will not result in death. It will result in Eternal Life.

And that is not my invitation. I’m just echoing the invitation from the One who died and resurrected. And now rescuing us all— again, and again, and again.

So, I invite you, if you’re willing to climb up that Mountain, your symbolic gesture is you will stand up, and you will stretch out your hand, and we’re going to sing, and we’re going to pray:

We’re all deciding. Lord, we embrace this difficult life.

Lord, we will go through the Fire.

Lord, We Climb Up Your Mountain!

Today, my dear friends, I invite you to trust in the great Love of God.

If you trust Jesus, no matter what mountain, no matter what thunder, rumbling in your life, no matter how intimidating things can be, say: “I will follow You, Lord, I will say “Yes” to God.”

New Life is now possible with us because of Jesus. For sinners like you and me, God’s Love will not burn us. God’s Love will bless us. Create a new us— a new Community, a new country, a new nation.

And each of us will come out with a shining face— not because the light is from us, but because we shine the Light of Jesus. And today, Jesus is offering His Resurrection Power, right here, right now.

And will you say “Yes” to joining Him in His Love, in His fiery Love? With that same Resurrection Power, lift your voice. If this is you answering

God’s call, then come, let’s climb up the Mountain. Let’s make this a Holy of Holies where God’s Presence meets the presence of man, and woman, and child. And we will be transformed! Come, sing. Let’s pray, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

With our outreached arms oh, Lord, we climb up Your Mountain. It is You who called us. We trust in You who called us. We walk through the Fire.

We embrace the pain and live out Your purpose in us.

We are Yours yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.


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