BO SANCHEZ: Indeed, Lord, we thank You that this day we’re in Your Presence and Your Presence is real. You are alive! We celebrate Easter every day because You are alive in our life and You are at work and Your love, it’s healing, it’s touching, it’s moving, it’s working, it’s blessing, it’s raising us up, it’s lifting up our spirit, it’s bringing us closer to You, it is fulfilling the purpose that we have in our life.
And so, we say Yes, Lord.
Everybody, say Yes, Lord! Let this room be filled with your Yes! And let God’s power, and love, and peace, and joy, and healing flow, overflow today!
DECLARATION OF ABUNDANCE
Everybody, say this with me:
Give the Lord a big hand and love Him this day.
Let’s give a big hand also to our Worship Team. Thank you so much.
Maraming-maraming Salamat. Beautiful.
Who Woke Up This Morning?
I heard this from a speaker.
He said, “If I give you P1 million today, will you accept it? If I give you P10 million, will you accept it? … Yes. But on one condition:
If you receive the P10 million, you won’t wake up tomorrow morning. So, will you receive it?… No, right?”
And the speaker added: “So, waking up tomorrow morning is more valuable than P10 million.”
Now, question: How many of you woke up this morning?
Wow! Thank God!
We need hugs, right? Psychologists say we need hugs.
Now, this is what I want you to do. Just in case you’re comfortable with hugging, hug a person beside you. I want you to tell that person, “I’m happy you’re alive.”
You’re alive! What a blessing!
What a joyful blessing! We are alive!
You know, we were talking about the Garden of Eden and we were saying that God told Adam and Eve, “You may eat fruit from any tree (—except this one tree…)”
And my playful mind my, imaginative mindset—imagine there were 1,000 trees there with 1,000 kinds of fruits and Adam could have said, “Okay, Eve, today, we’re going to eat five fruits. Tomorrow, we’re going to eat another five fruits.
And then the third day, we’re going to eat another five fruits. And on the fourth day, we are going to explore that side of the Garden, and we’re going to look for another five fruits. And then every day… Oh, wonderful! Oh, God, we haven’t tasted this yet…”
No, he didn’t say that. You know what they did?
Instead of focusing on what they had, they focused on the one thing they did not have.
You know, there is a problem when our expectations are much more than our appreciation. This is something I just want to leave with you: that you are so blessed.
And we just don’t see this. The mere fact that you’re alive is such a blessing.
So many did not wake up this morning. But you’re alive– and every breath is a blessing.
Can you see me? Many people can’t. You’re standing up right now. Many people cannot stand up. You walk to your seat. Many could not walk…
An Important Line
Friends, Everybody, put your hands on your chest.
Just say, “I’m so blessed.
I’m so blessed.”
And because you are sooo blessed, you know what you need to do? You need to be a blessing.
And the reason many cannot be a blessing is they don’t understand how blessed they are. And so, today, I know this is going to be powerful for you.
You know, I’ve been preaching and speaking for 40 plus years.
I have. And I have a little routine before I go onstage. You know what I do? I vocalize, you know, do sorts of things.
But there’s one thing I do before I go onstage. I say, “Lord, help me. Help me to serve somebody today.”
You know why that line is so important? One of the problems of communication is that when you become self-conscious, the Talk will bomb. Believe me. You’re thinking: Will they laugh at me? Is my grammar okay? How are my clothes? Is my zipper open?
You know, when you’re self-conscious, everything just goes down the drain.
So, if you focus on serving, you forget yourself. And the Talk is great. And people are blessed.
I do, I say the same prayer, every morning. When I wake up in the morning, I say, “How can I serve today? Lord, help me to serve somebody today. Help me to serve my wife today. Help me to serve my kids today. Help me to serve.”
That’s the attitude. Why? Because I’m blessed. I’m alive.
I need to stop talking. This is going to be a powerful experience. God is going to speak to you. My dear friends, please welcome back, my dear friend, love this guy: Audee Villaraza.
AUDEE VILLARAZA: May I invite everybody lift up one hand.
If you’re online, please stand up as we give honor and reverence to the beautiful wisdom and Word of God:
The Word is a Lamp unto my feet. And a Light unto my path.
Back to the Garden
Today, we’re going to break open the Word coming from the book of Luke.
And I’m praying that God will unleash a Word over your situation today.
We just finished studying Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus. And the message that we’ve been preaching since we started with Genesis is God wants to bring you back to The Garden.
From Luke 24:44-49, we’re going to read the story of when Jesus already resurrected from the dead.
And then He says to the disciples:
You know last Sunday, if you joined us here at The Feast, you must have noticed about 4,000 plus
celebrated Jesus with us and it was a life-changing event and I can almost imagine that some of you here feel that you were awoken from your slumber.
So many go through life and seasons of life sleeping, without recognizing that there is a God who loves them. And I declare that some of you here are quite awoke.
You’ve been wakened from your slumber. But I can also imagine, with every spiritual awakening, it’s not permanent. Because like in life, sometimes you’re in love and then a few years later, you fall out of love. Sometimes in life, you experience a spiritual dryness, a drought.
Throughout the entire Holy Week Retreat and the Grand Easter Feast, we preached about the message of the Garden. If you see here, we still have our little props, trees, signifying our walk in The Garden.
That was the message: Walk with God in the Garden.
But here’s the message for today. And I want you to preach this to as many persons as you can. Say to somebody right now:
If you can close your eyes for a brief moment, let me pray for you:
Father, this is Your congregation. This is Your crowd. I am but a mere messenger and an instrument. So, I pray that whatever words they hear coming out from my mouth in the next few moments, I pray that they will be Your words, Your wisdom, Your grace flowing into each one’s heart and spirit. Thank You, Jesus. We open our mind to how you are going to bless us, inspire us, and change us. And it’s in Your Name that we pray. And all of God’s people say Amen.
One more time:
The Word is a Lamp unto my feet.
And a Light unto my path.
So, stay in the Garden.
Now that you know that you’re meant to walk in the Garden with your Lord, how do you stay in the Garden?
Answer: You’re going to need something called staying power.
We don’t necessarily always celebrate staying power.
What we love to celebrate is starting power. Starting power is about starting strong.
Like in January, some of you guys made some goals in life. You know, you wanted to start strong, start your businesses strong. You wanted to start a new hobby. You wanted a new plan. You wanted to start a new Bible reading habit…
We like starting strong.
And the other goal we like to celebrate is living strong.
Living strong in Tagalog is despedida. You know, we like celebrating people transitioning in life. You know, like from being single to being married.
Or transferring from one company to the next.
People who migrate to different countries. We throw them parties, right?
Leaving parties. Despedidas.
Now, if you think about it, we like celebrating starting strong and finishing strong– but how come we don’t really celebrate staying strong?
Like, when was the last time somebody celebrated, giving you a party for staying in that company for 365 days? I mean just for that fact that you’ve been there for about 800 days. Nobody celebrates by giving you a cake. We don’t like the idea of celebrating staying strong.
But I believe that this is something that we focus on if we are going to learn how to continuously walk with God in the Garden. And this is what we’re going to talk about today.
Staying the Course
How many of you need this message about staying strong? I truly believe this: that sometimes, people like focusing on starting strong. Like, how many of you started a diet last January? How’s your diet now? Is it still something you’re doing?
It’s easy to start something, but how many of you know that it’s hard to sustain that thing.
It’s easy to start a relationship but married people, you know that it’s not easy to sustain a marriage. In the beginning it’s always easy. When you’re courting somebody, you always put your best foot forward. During the early days of your marriage, you are thrilled even over his snores. But after 10 years, what do you do? You start recording your husband’s snoring. Why? So that one day you can replay it to him and tell him how annoying it is.
Staying strong is hard. It’s one thing to start something. But it’s completely a different thing to sustain it. Because every new beginning is only as good as until you learn how to sustain it.
Your greatest power is not found in your faith to start something. Because it’s easy to start something. Your greatest power is found in your fortitude to stay the course until the finish line. You need the fortitude to keep moving forward.
Question: How many of you have dreams today? You have dreams. Do you believe that God gave you those dreams? Yes.
So, question: If you believe that God gave you those dreams, if you have some trouble in reaching those dreams, will you give up those dreams?
No. No, no. Even if you go through discouragements and frustrations, if you believe that those dreams came from the Lord, you will continue to persevere.
Even if you did not pass the recent bar exam. Even if you failed that application test. Even if you failed one thing after the other. Because if you believe that this is a place where God calls you to be, you will continue to stay the course.
Five Ways To Sustain Your Walk in the Garden
So, here’s what we’re going to do.
We’re going to teach you five amazing ways that will help you sustain your walk with the Lord. Just to help you sustain your walk in the Garden.
May I share with you a quick story.
Christmas time is the most hectic time of the year—especially for families. My wife and I believe that Christmas is terrible for us. Why? Because we don’t have helpers. We do everything on our own. We wash the dishes, do the laundry, tend after the kids, help them in their studies.
We do everything at home.
And you know, there was this one Christmas when it was so crazy in our home because it was one Saturday, one weekend, it was a full day. So, the first one on our schedule was we had to go to a birthday celebration for Kyler, the son of Bro. Mike Viñas (Feast Worship Ministry head). The party was held in Jollibee at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC, in Makati.
Everything is going good in the party. Kids were having fun, they were doing games—until Jollibee came out and startee doing, you know, the ting, ting, ting. For adults that’s fine. But imagine: I you’re a kid and you’re small, and you look at this oversized, red, gigantic bee with a smiling face plastered on it—like it’s gonna eat you, and then dancing the ting, ting, ting. Three kids started to cry— and two of them were mine. It was downhill from there, I’m telling you.
So, that was the first on the schedule. After that, we needed to go to a party down south. We live all the way in the north side, so you can imagine it was an out-of-town trip. Down far south. We needed to go to celebrate with the Feast Couples Ministry their Christmas party– in an open venue. We knew we didn’t need to wear our (COVID) masks.
When we got there, my wife and I looked at each other– uh-oh, there was a playground. And you know, how kids are. They gotta ride the slide at least 160, 1,633 times, at least. So, we were chasing them, we were so tired. But that was not the end of our day. We needed to go and visit Didoy and Mayi Lubaton to return a ref that we borrowed for the Feast Conference. And by this time, you know, we were just on our nth wind. We were running out of steam. We were just tired.
A Change of Perspective
We got home around maybe 11:00 p.m.
I needed to wake up at 5:00 a.m. the following day to preach and serve you at The Feast. And so, by lunch time, my wife calls me up and says, “How are you?”
And I’m like, “I’m okay—except that I’m just tired.”
You know that feeling—you got a good night’s rest, but you’re just physically tired. You’re just bone tired, like you need to have a vacation. I was like that.
I was just tired.
And then, she says, “May we go visit my parents?”
I’m like, “Okay.”
Because we hadn’t visited them throughout the weekend. So, we did.
And Ethan’s cousin was there, and then they said, “Dad, may we go to the playground?”
You know how kids are. And so, we went. But by this time, I just wanted to sleep. We got home at around 7:00 p.m. And I couldn’t even remember what happened… Because the next thing, when I opened my eyes, it was 11:00 p.m., and I was lying on the couch—apparently, I fell asleep there. And Ethan was with me and he was watching TV.
And so, I told Ethan, “Prepare, we gotta go to bed.”
He brushed his teeth and as we were walking, I just wanted to get to bed. I just wanted to sleep. Just to prepare myself for the whole week.
We have a little hallway in our condo where we have an altar. As we were walking down the hallway, Ethan said four words that completely set me free.
He looked at the Cross and he said, “Thank You, Papa Jesus.” Boom! That was enough to put my perspective in the right place.
You know, friends, sometimes, you get so busy in life and you get so tired that you forget to be thankful to the Lord.
How many of you agree with me? You forget to acknowledge the Lord.
But did you know that gratitude is a superpower? What power does it give you?
It gives you the ability to be happy no matter what circumstance you are in.
That’s why I love grateful people. Do you know of people who are grateful people? You’ve got family or friends who are grateful people? Yeah. Are they sitting right next to you? Are you sure they are grateful sitting next to you? :)
Grateful people. I love grateful people. Why? Because grateful people are like this: They can be carrying ten problems on their shoulder, and yet they’ll still be able to tell you why they’re blessed a hundred times over those problems.
Are you grateful? Grateful people are the type of people who could be waiting in line for over an hour and still think, “Thank You, Jesus.”
You know people like that? Because grateful people, let me say this, they’re people who understand that life is not about accumulation.
But it’s about appreciation.
It’s not about anticipating the next best thing. But it’s about appreciating what you already have within your hands. So, grateful people are amazing people.
That’s why the message today is Stay grateful.
What’s Already in Your Hands
Grateful people are people like this: They know that they don’t really have everything but they’ll acknowledge that what they need is already in their hands.
I remember a story about this famous sculptor who was just minding his own business.
Then a pedestrian came by and he asked the sculptor, this artist,
“Sir, may I ask you a question? How do you create these beautiful works of art?”
The sculptor just looks at him and says, “Well, it’s easy. You know what I do? I just remove the extra layers of stone.”
What if I tell you that the happiness that you need is already within your grasp? But because you’ve got layers and layers and layers of bitterness, anger, resentment, envy— they hide the happiness that you already possess.
So, I’m trying to tell you right now that the strength that you need, the supply that you need, the grace that you need—they’re already in your hands.
How do you unlock them?
Gratitude. If you are grateful, it’s a chisel that helps you remove all the extra layers of stuff in your life—so that it will be revealed that you’re already blessed.
Three Actions How To Stay Grateful
1. Praise God for the blessing Why don’t you do that right now: For three seconds, praise God.
God has been blessing you.
2. Pray to the Lord for the discipline to keep the blessing
Second, after you praise God, pray to the Lord so that you can maintain that blessing. Because if you don’t have the discipline to keep the blessing, that blessing will disappear.
3. Pray for the wisdom to multiply the blessing
And here’s the last: As you praise God for the blessing, as you pray for the discipline to keep the blessing, pray to the Lord for wisdom to multiply that blessing.
That’s just the first point:
I’m going to call the next preacher, and I pray that you give him the same warmth you extended to me.
Everybody, please welcome onstage, Bro. Doc Ryan Capitulo!
Secret of Staying in the Garden
DR. RYAN CAPITULO: Good Morning, my dear Feast Bay Area Family! Yes. Happy Divine Mercy Sunday to all of you.
I would like to thank Bro. Bo and Bro. Audee for starting us off in this beautiful Talk. We are still preaching the message: Stay in the Garden.
Was Audee talking about our Staying Power when it comes to our diet? Was he? How harsh you are, Audee. But thank you, still, for this beautiful Talk.
Now, Audee said that the first lesson from our Bible verse is Stay grateful.
Lesson 2 is this:
My dear Brothers and Sisters, fill your life with peace.
That’s the secret to staying in the Garden.
In our Bible verse, Jesus asked His disciples to stay in Jerusalem.
The word Jerusalem comes from the Hebrew words ִעיר , pronounced ear, meaning city and salem, meaning peace.
So, Jerusalem is actually the City of Peace. And Jesus was asking His disciples to stay there.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were living in peace. Until they disobeyed God.
So now, we know what to do. If we want to fill our life with peace, we have to follow the will of God. We have to follow the commands of God. We have to be His disciples. We have to be His followers preaching His message of love and mercy to the ends of the Earth. That’s what we have to do.
Follow the Will of God
Question: How many of you believe in this saying: Happy wife, happy life? The wives are nodding Yes! vigorously.
So, the husband is supposed to do everything in his power to make his wife happy.
I believe it is the will of God for the husband and the wife to serve each other. I believe it is the will of God for the husband and wife to really love each other.
Because if the husband is such a pushover, if the husband is always afraid of making his wife angry, the husband might not have peace. And we want peace in the home. I believe that the husband and the wife should do everything in their power to make each other happy. Because that happiness will translate to their children, and they will have a happy and peaceful family.
That’s what we have to do.
So, if we want to stay in the Garden, let’s follow the will of God so that we will have peace.
Look at the person beside you and tell that person, “Friend, rest in peace…” Ooops, I mean, “Peace be with you.
The Third Way, if we want to stay in the Garden: Stay Faith-full.
We have to be faithful, my dear Brothers and Sisters, to God. If we really want that staying power that we are talking about, if we really want to stay in the Garden, that’s what we have to do. We have to be faithful.
But take note: In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said when He was overwhelmed already by the prospects of suffering, by the prospects of death, He was really feeling it already in the Garden of Gethsemane. What did He say? What did He pray for?
“Father, if it’s Your will, please take this cup away from me.”
But Jesus knew the will of God. Jesus knew the plan of God for Him to suffer to save mankind. But in that very brief moment, Jesus asked His Father,
“Is it possible for You to change Your mind? To take this cup away from Me?”
I have a member in my Light Group who failed the bar exam twice. On his second try, when he failed again, he started having doubts. He started getting confused– if it was really the plan of God for him to be a lawyer.
But he kept his faith in the Lord. He had faith that it really is the plan of God for his life. So, he studied. He prayed. He trusted and believed in God. And last Friday, his name was there! His name was flashed outside the Supreme Court and we were really so happy for him.
I have a patient and her husband who had been praying to have a baby. On their eighth year of trying to get pregnant, the couple started to have doubts if God would really bless them with their own child, with their own baby. But they kept the faith. They believed and trusted in the Lord.
So, last year, on their ninth year of trying, positive pregnancy test. And a few months ago, she delivered a healthy baby girl.
If you want that staying power, if you want to stay in the Garden of the Lord, have faith. Place all your trust in God. Go ahead and work. Use your talents. Use your skills. Use your gift. But have faith. Total trust. Total reliance on the Lord.
Look at your seatmate and tell that person, “Beshy, kapit lang.—Best friend, just hold on…”
The Fourth Way to stay in the Garden of the Lord is to Stay Joy-Full.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, if you want to stay in the Garden, don’t worry… be happy! Correct.
Can you give a clap-offering to all our servants here in The Feast Bay Area. Oh, wow, I honor all of our servants, especially those who come here 12:00 midnight to set all of these things up. Those who come here at 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m. – just to get the Aliw Theater ready for all of you. I honor their commitment. I honor their dedication. I honor all your readiness to give your time, talent, treasurer to God and to the Church through The Feast.
But sometimes, some of our servants, including myself, we get worried.
We get so stressed as we prepare to serve. We get so worried and stressed as we are serving already. Because we want to give perfect service. And in the process, we get so tense. And we sometimes forget that The Feast is the happiest place on earth!
We sometimes miss the opportunity to enjoy ourselves in the loving Presence of God. We sometimes fail to do that.
Yell to the servants: “Dear servants, don’t worry, be happy!”
Some of you know that I lost my Dad two years ago, and then last year, my Mom followed. So, I lost my parents in a span of only four and a half months. And to this d ay, I wake up every morning feeling sad because I remember them, because I really miss them. So, every morning, when I wake up, I look at my altar, their pictures are there, and I become sad. But after praying for their souls, I make a decision every single day to be happy. I make a decision to fill my life with joy for the sake of my family, for the sake of my friends, for the sake of my ministry, for the sake of my patients, for the sake of the people I love.
Happiness is a decision. And if you want that staying power, decide to be happy always.
Give the Lord a big hand.
The last lesson that we get from our Bible verse—Lesson No. 5 is Stay Hope-Full.
My dear Brothers and Sisters, if you want to stay in the Garden, never lose hope.
I met a mother here in The Feast whose son was an addict—addicted to shabu. The son was apprehended by police. The son was brought to a rehab facility. After six minutes, he was discharged. But he was apprehended again after three days, taking shabu again. For that mother, she seemed to be losing hope for her son.
I have a friend who went to the United States to be a teacher. When she started teaching there, some of the kids were bullying her and she was about to lose hope.
But what did Jesus say in Verse 49 of our Bible passage?
Nowadays, it’s very easy for us to lose hope because we are surrounded by despair. We are surrounded by injustice, poverty, difficulties, trials.
But Jesus said He will give us His Holy Spirit and that Holy Spirit will give us power and the power of the Holy Spirit will fill us with hope. Do you believe that?
That mother with an addict for a son, she did not lose hope. She would visit her son in the rehab facility. She would pray for her son always. She did not lose hope.
The teacher I was telling you about, she did not lose hope. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she found a way to reach through the heart of her students and she became one of the favorite teachers in that school. She was really inspiring the teenagers, especially the students from the poor communities.
Give the Lord a big hand.
Lord, We Are Staying in Your Garden
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He started His journey towards the Cross.
It was a very difficult journey and He knew it. Jesus knew how difficult that journey was. He started the journey and He stayed in the course—going to His Cross, suffering terribly, and dying for all of us.
Thank God for the staying power of our Messiah, of our Savior.
Because His staying power up to His death made Easter possible for all of us. Because of His staying power He rose from the dead after three days and saved all of us from death.
So, again, we’d like to tell you there is power in starting, yes. But there is greater power in staying.
So, don’t just start your Garden walk. Stay in the Garden.
I repeat: Don’t just start your Garden walk. — We did it during the Holy Week Retreat, Grand Easter Feast. Yes, we did start our Garden walk with the Lord.
But don’t stop there. Stay in the Garden of the Lord Let us worship God:
Almighty Father, we are here and we promise You we are staying in Your Garden. Lord, we are truly grateful. We thank You profusely for Your abundance, for Your providence.
Lord, we are staying in the Garden. Make us instruments of Your peace.
Lord, we are staying in Your Garden and we will do our best to live out our faith, to be Your disciple, to proclaim Your Gospel to all the Earth.
Lord, we are staying in Your Garden and with so much joy in our heart, we will sing of Your glory.
Lord, we are staying in Your Garden. Make us hope givers at a time when the world is surrounded by so much despair.
We want to stay in Your Garden because we want You and You alone.
We want to stay in Your Garden because we want more and more of You and You alone.