WELCOME to Talk 2 of our Table Talks: Community Recipes of Love.

Today we are going to talk about Matthew’s Table.

And the big message of the talk today is this: God loves sinners.

And it’s true. Who among here has committed sins or mistakes? Have you ever felt this: Do you sometimes really think:

“Lord, have You really forgiven me? Do You really love me– despite my sins?” And sometimes, they are repeated. You know that –because when you confess. you tell the priest the same sins over and over again.

But today, I want to remind you that God loves sinners. Period.

Even before you repent, even before you change your ways, even before you stop the wrongdoings and follow God.

Why? Because that is called grace– grace that is freely given. You do not need to do anything. You just have to receive it.

And my question to everyone today is this: Do you want to receive that grace of God today?

If you want to receive that grace from God, I invite you all to raise your hands to the Word of God, as we sing:

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

This passage is the very foundation of why we do our Feast and how we do our Feast.

What’s the status of your heart today? Who among here needs Jesus’ healing and grace?

I believe that His invitation is at this place today:

Come, dine with me. I am your healer. I can heal you.

Put your hands over your heart and let’s pray:

Thank You, Lord, for loving me despite my sins, my past, my failures. And Lord, teach me to see myself the way You see me. Amen.

Let’s raise our hands to the Word of God and sing:

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

So, I guess that passage we just read pretty much sums up what we want to do here at The Feast. Because our goal here at The Feast is to gather sinners to experience Jesus’ love.

Have you experienced Jesus’ love here? Yes!

Did you notice that we read from Mark that the tax collector who invited Jesus was named Levi?

Then, why is the Talk titled Mathew’s Table? Do you know who Levi is? Levi is the tax collector who later on would be called Matthew the Apostle.

And in their context, it was very controversial what Jesus did. Back then, Israel was conquered and governed by the Romans. And imagine, Levi, or Matthew, working for the Roman Empire as a tax collector– imposing heavy taxes on the people.

So, people would think, “He is a traitor. He is a Jew but he is following the Roman Empire and oppressing us…”

So, what Jesus did was very controversial. Why did Jesus dine with Matthew?

The nerve, right? But that passage is saying God told us that Jesus came for everyone. Everyone included.

Tell the person beside you, “Kasama ka.–You are included.”

Even your officemates. Sometimes, we hate our officemates who boss us around… Sometimes, we hate our neighbors… But they’re all included.

Every sinner– not just you. God loves every sinner.

Today, we’ll be learning 8 Steps to Love Sinners

The verse says …many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners were there …

Believe me, some people do not like what we do at The Feast because they think that we are tolerating the sins of other people. But this is actually just the first part of what we’re doing. We are actually making the venue conducive for them so they can experience God.

I remember people would come up to me and ask for prayer.

When they say, “May you pray for me and my partner?” I already know there is something different– because partner sometimes connotes the person is separated from his spouse and is living with somebody else.

Sometimes, the word connotes same-sex partners.

Sometimes, I am stunned, I freeze– but I have to remind myself that these people are coming to God and they are seeking Him. And I have to emulate what Jesus did at Matthew’s Table — I have to appreciate them and embrace them with God’s love.

I do not lecture them and say, “Hey, what you’re doing is wrong. That is sin.” Because what will happen? They will shy away.

How do we deal with their concerns?

That’s our first step: We must be comfortable with mess.

That’s what’s amazing with Jesus. Jesus is the holiest person and yet he was the most non-judgmental person in the world.

So, I think the practical tip here is instead of judging, we genuinely pray for these people.

An interesting survey asked young people and the unchurched: Why won’t you go to church anymore? And the No.1 answer was this: Because we feel that the people in church are self-righteous.

Even I was affected by that. We sometimes tend to condemn faster than we can connect to a person. Sometimes, by the mere appearance of someone, we already have a label for the person: “Hey, he has a tattoo… His life is a mess.”

“Ay, he has long hair…He must be a drug addict.”

Little did you know he is growing his hair so it can be   made into a wig for a cancer patient who underwent chemotherapy and thus lost his hair.

You judge quickly and you lose your opportunity to be an instrument of God’s love for the person.

You see a person with a nose ring or large hole in his ears…and you think… So, what is self-righteousness? Let’s define it:

You would agree with me that we are all sinners, right?

But sometimes we do this: We put a little hierarchy of sins: “Bro. JB, my sin is only gossip. It’s not as bad as sexual sin.”

In the eyes of God, they’re all sins. What’s important for us is to accept and remind ourselves that we were once messy people. Because the more we can accept our mess, the easier for us to accept the mess of others.

The Church is not a community of perfect people– but forgiven people. Even the priest confessors would say that the most commonly confessed sins are sexual sins– pornography, masturbation, infidelity. But sometimes lesser people confess sins of omission– not doing what you are supposed to do– either you’re too busy or shy. That’s one sin that is happening. Maybe you’re living a good life, you are not sinning much– but if you’re not reaching out and helping others, that is also a sin.

So, that’s how we look at different levels of sin. That’s why it causes us to be self-righteous.

Are You Self-righteous?

Some people would equate it this way: “If I don’t have any sexual sin, I’m quite at another level than other people who are enslaved by sexual sin.”

But in the eyes of God, sinners are equally loved. They are equally blessed with the same grace.

Even a gossip– How do you know if a gossip is being slowly transformed and renewed by God?

Because the usual “Marites”– gossip– goes like this: “Mare, you know the latest? The mistress of our neighbor’s husband lives just next to their house. Hmm, convenient…”

How do you know that the “Marites” is slowly being transformed by God?

The language changes: “Sis, come here. We have a prayer intention… Do you know that our neighbor…”

Still gossip. Ha-haJ But at least, she’s improving… It doesn’t happen in an instant but if you have to be in that mode, you start slowly to be comfortable with mess and deal with people this way: We do not use words that condemn them, we listen to them, we treat them like they’re our equal.

Here’s another indicator that you’re a little at the self-righteous side: When you are here, at The Feast, or you are listening to a priest’s homily, or another preacher, or another inspirational speaker, you tell yourself, “I wish my spouse is here…

He should hear what the priest or preacher is saying… I wish my son is here… or my neighbor is here… the message is for her…”

While it may be true that those people need to hear the message, maybe the way you’re wishing is an indicator that you must also ask: “How does this message apply to me, Lord?”

You need that certain sense of introspection to learn what the Lord still wants to change in you.

Jesus Loves Sinners

Jesus was known as a friend of sinners.

Sadly, many Christians are known as

the enemy, the critic, and the judge of others.

That’s true. Sometimes, especially those people who have homosexual tendencies, they’re afraid to go to church–because by just the way we look at them… they can already feel what we’re thinking…

So, we have to be a bit more sensitive.

From our experience in Ministry, we realized when we love the sinner, in due time, the sinner learns to love himself and stops sinning.

Every person needs God’s love.

There’s a void in everyone’s heart that can be filled only by God.

Sometimes, they find it in different places, in sin, in another gender expression.

So, when we allow them to be here in Community, being immersed in the love of God, they get to feel the true love of God.

And they begin to realize: “I don’t need this fake love anymore. I can have the true love of God.”

Speaking of being sensitive, I remember one time, when we were still building up the Feast here in PICC, the afternoon session– the 2:00 PM– was held in Meeting Room 5– not here in the Plenary Hall because we didn’t have many attendees then. I was the Worship leader then.

We were told to greet the people, shake their hands, so that they would feel welcomed.

I always saw this lady in front, so every week, I would greet her and tell her, “Hi, Sis. Welcome. How are you?”

One particular Sunday– I think the fourth time I greeted her: “Hi, Sis. Happy to see you again here.”

And then I waved at her tummy and I said, “Hi, Baby.”

Her smile vanished. She frowned and told me, “I’m not pregnant!” Oh, my God, I did not see that lady again.

Be Sensitive

What did that experience teach me? Even if it was something that I thought was harmless and well-meaning, I was not sensitive enough to be able not to assume that the woman was pregnant. She was alone. Maybe she had a different interpretation of what

I told her.

Maybe she was like, “This guy thought I was pregnant, and the baby had no father…”

So, be sensitive. I think that’s clear: that we should not be critics and judgmental. I like to believe that most of you are kind to people.

But sometimes, there are languages that we use, there are terms that we use that drive people off– because it makes them feel that they do not belong in this group.

What are those words?

Example: pasaway– disobedient or stubborn: Oy, kayo mga pasaway… kaming mga Feasters, kasi ganito kami. — Hey, you disobedient, we Feasters are like…

Or: “Kayong mga hindi madalas magsimba…– You who often don’t attend Mass…”

You do not use words like that. Because once upon a time, you didn’t attend Mass regularly, either. Right?

I love that the bigger Catholic Church is doing something about this. I think they’re focusing on the heart of what church should be as

Jesus intended it. Are you familiar with Fiducia Supplicans?

Translated into English, it’s Supplicating Trust— issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican’s Doctrine office) and approved by Pope Francis.

So, Fiducia Supplicans is saying that people can get a blessing from the Church if they are seeking it. Again, to qualify, it doesn’t mean that irregular union is equal to marriage. (The blessing does not signify approval of the union.) It doesn’t mean that the Church’s stand on the sanctity of marriage is now changing. No.

We are just saying that if people are asking for the blessing and they are seeking God, and coming to church, we should not deny them of the blessing– because here is where they encounter God. And in my opinion, it’s a very good move.

And why is the Church doing this? Yes, because we are Matthew’s Table.

Bro. Bo’s friend priest (Fr. Francis Gustilo) said it very well:

People come to priests to ask, “Father, bless my car.” “Father, bless my Novena.” “Father, bless my rosary bracelet.” “Father bless my house.” “Father, bless my cat, bless my dog.”

And does the priest ask you, “Are you in a state of sin? If you are in a state of sin, I will not give the blessing.”

No. What does the priest do? He just gives the blessing. Because you are seeking it.

And I think they are allowing the blessing because of its result: that these people, yes, they are still in a state of sin, but we want to offer our Table for them. So that when they continue dining in, and dining in, and receiving the love of God, taking in the nourishment of God, they get to eat the true food– and one day, they will realize, “Lord I now know the taste of Your true love.

I can now follow You wholeheartedly.”

The Church has mixed emotions about it. The conservative people are quite iffy. It’s essentially giving a blessing to couples who are not considered to be married according to Church teaching. So, irregular union.

What’s the definition of irregular union? Irregular unions in the view of the Church are these: live-in relationships; civil unions; unregistered partnerships; and same-sex relationships.

Here’s the Reality:

Wives, you cannot even correct your husband, right? They don’t listen. Agree?

So, it’s important for us to care first. And you notice that in Jesus’ approach:

He cared for people first before confronting them.

When you do that, when you point out the worthiness of a person, the person is compelled to change.

Parents, you must always first see the worthiness and the value of your child.

Quick question, Parents: When your child was born, did you require, “Fold up your diaper… before I love you.” Or, “Eat by yourself… Your daddy and I are going out. Warm your milk. There’s a microwave oven there.”

The parents have unconditional love for their children– immediately. And sometimes, along the way, that is lost because the person grows up, sometimes you end up having disagreements. But in the end, you should believe in the goodness of your child.

And wives here, you might be saying, “Bro. JB, why is it that when I correct my spouse, he doesn’t want to follow? Like, when I tell him, ‘Let’s change the light bulb– we’ve been using it for six months already…’ He would say, ‘Well, we saved on electricity bills…’” You might be saying, “I’m caring for the person before I confront him, and correct him, but why is he still not following me?”

Maybe, you’re not addressing the worthiness of your husband first.

Tip: Most men would want to be adored. We want to be seen as your heroes.

Bro. Bo and Sis. Marowe were preaching this: That if you want your husband to follow you, you must make the husband the hero.

Tell him, “Dad, I need your help. Our light is busted. You are the only one I can rely on when it comes to this.”

And you know what? He will change the light bulb. Because you have addressed the worthiness that he needs. He needs to feel that you respect him.

If he’s not that way, he’d be embarrassed and would think, “She believes in me… I should live up to her belief in me…”

Many would not live up to your expectation. They will just feel nagged.

God Transforms Lives

The Pharisees knew the 613 laws and they had been teaching them and they had been correcting everyone– if they made a mistake… But it was an ineffective strategy.

So, Jesus knew what to do. People wondered why He had a different approach. Because His pastoral strategy was centered on loving people– because only love heals.

After being in Ministry for nearly 20 years, I can tell you that I believe that we really can’t change anyone– only God can transform lives.

Only God can change a person.

The moment you realize that, it will be easier for you to love and accept people.

Speaking of confronting sin, there is something a hundred times more powerful. It’s self-confrontation.

What is self-confrontation? When the person gets immersed in the love of God, keeps attending here, keeps listening to God, keeps being fed by your encouragement and reaching out– and your love– the person realizes his wrongdoing– and self-confronts.

And you know what? When the confrontation comes from the person himself, it’s very powerful.

Why? Because the change will be permanent. Because the idea comes from him.

No Turning Back…’

It takes time for a person to self-confront.

It takes time for a person to change his ways.

But will you journey with the person?

I’m proud to say that we have seen a lot of transformations here at The Feast.

We had a servant who had a relationship with a married man.

We did not tell the servant, “You cannot serve anymore.”

Obviously, we don’t put servants in that state in leadership roles– but we allow them to still serve and experience God and we ask them to continue coming to God.

And one day, they will come to us, they will tell us they’ve changed.

Like this woman told us, “Bro, I was able to let go of my illicit relationship.” I remember one servant who had been in a same-sex relationship for so long.

Until one time, in one Worship song, he heard God telling him, as the lyrics of the song say: “No turning back…”

So, he changed and never turned back to his old ways. He’s now living pure as a single man.

So, change can happen. So, let’s journey with people. We don’t correct them.We just allow them to be here, we love them, until eventually, God will change them.

Bro. Bo’s Challenge:

Today, I challenge you to write down the names of three persons with whom you will share God’s Love.


Pray for these persons every day. And then seek them out. Invite them for coffee. Listen to them.

Care for them. And pray for them.

You can invite them to read together the little booklet called Love Someone Today. (You can find a copy at

You can say, “Do you have 15 minutes each week? We can have coffee and read this book together.”

Read one chapter each week and follow the instructions in the booklet. You’ll be surprised at how God will you to help the lost find their way back to Him.

And you could invite them to a Feast or Feast Light (small Caring Group).

But here’s a big question: What if he doesn’t respond? What if he doesn’t follow Jesus? Was your friendship a failure?

Jesus said the greatest commandments are “Love God” and “Love your neighbor.” use

So, when you love people, you don’t do it because you want to convert them.

You love people because you’re a Jesus Follower.

Love is the highest goal– not converting people or changing them.

The Older Brother

Our talk next week is about the Prodigal Son.

Quick Review: The son gets his inheritance from his father, squanders it, then goes home empty-handed to his father who welcomes him with a party, killing a fattened calf to celebrate his return.

The older brother was angry.

25‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

— Luke 15: 11-32 NLT

Bro. Bo points out:

“In the Prodigal Son story, there was a party for him with a fattened calf.

Question: Who paid for the calf?

The Father? Yes. But in one sense, it was paid by the elder son. Remember that the youngest son already asked for half of his property. So, technically, what remained belonged to the older son.

Here’s the point: Reconciliation is expensive.

Someone has to pay for reconciliation.”

Yes, there’s a price. Will you be that older son?

How do you relate to us inviting people to be at The Feast? Because of the reality that they will experience rejection. Some will ignore you. Some will condemn you, and say, “Hu, pa-simba simba pa kayo, mga hipokrito naman kayo.

— Huh, you’re going to church but you are really hypocrites.” It hurts.

When someone tells you you’re a hypocrite, say, “Yes! That’s why I’m there at The Feast every Sunday!”

Even us preachers. We’re here every Sunday because we need to be marinated in the love of God until it seeps into every fiber of our being, into our heart, into our mind — until eventually, we get to follow God.

Are You Willing To Pay the Price?

Will you be that older son?

I’m telling you, this is not a walk in the park. It will be difficult especially if it’s a reconciliation with a family member you haven’t spoken to for so long. It will take a price to be able to do it.

But my question: Are you willing to pay that price– for Jesus? This is my last story:

You know, I realized I’m already at the age when God already blessing me with wisdom. In Tagalog, pinapantanda na Niya ako. — He’s making me oldJ

Why? Because before, I got to be invited to be a ninong– godparent– in a baptism. But just recently– January– I was invited to be a ninong in a wedding. And I immediately said “Yes!”

Because the couple getting wed were once students in The Feast at the University of the Philippines that we built. By God’s grace, we were able to put up a Feast at the UP Campus last 2011.

And the students are now agingJ to the point that they’re already getting married.

What’s interesting is I never knew that they would end up together because they were still young, they were seeking God, they were serving God and yet, there they were experiencing a great life because they had met God– first– at The Feast UP. And then they met each other while serving God there. What a beautiful story.

Sometimes, your intention: “Lord, I’ll bring him or her to The Feast.”

— God refines.

That was my experience.

Initially, the girl I was courting I brought to The Feast– because Bro. Bo often said, “Can you hug the person beside you?”

So, I was like, “Yes!”

But at the time I brought her to The Feast, Bro. Bo was not the preacher.

There was no instruction to hug the person beside you. So, it seemed the Lord knew beforehand my bad intention…J

But still, He led me to The Feast.

And I found the greater love that I needed here.

A Moment of Vulnerability

The story of the students who eventually got married was just one story of the people transformed at The Feast UP where I was a campus missionary.

I remember we had one student here who, when she was a child, was sexually molested by her nanny. Now an adult, she found healing at The Feast.

I know one student back then who got his girlfriend pregnant and they went to an abortion clinic. They were so broken and wounded.

And I thank God I was able to be part of building His Kingdom and providing blessing and healing for these people.

Why am I sharing these stories?

May I share with you today a moment of vulnerability? This was a good reminder for me. Why? Because I have a confession…

I have been delaying building a Feast (in Binondo, Manila) for so long. Why? Because I am daunted by the immensity of the work to be done– the organization of the venue, the contracts, everything about setting up systems, the funding…

But these experiences are telling me, “It’s worth it.”

It’s worth it. The price is worth it.

Because I could have ended up on the same path… You know, I came from a broken family…

And one person was asking me, “If you’re not in The Feast, what are you doing instead if you’re not a preacher?”

You know, probably, I already have many children– with different mothers. Then I am separated from all of them. Because that’s the sin of the generation of my family. But praise be to God, someone invited me to a praying meeting.

That someone said “Yes” to God: “Lord, I will bring this person to You.”

Someone prayed for me and since then, my life has never been like my old ways.

I believe that same invitation God has for every one of you today. You are His instrument… You will change the trajectory of someone’s life– because you said “Yes” to sharing God’s love. That’s the price. But it’s worth it.

Everything Is Paid For

Remember that the price had already been paid ever since by a better older Brother.

That older Brother is Jesus. Who will never cease to pay the price for you today. He will pay the price for you tomorrow. And even the price for you in the past. Your past, your present, your future– everything is paid for.

Because He loves you so much.

Can you lift your hands as we worship :

God, Almighty Father, we Thank You because of the immense mercy and love that You have for every one of us.

Father, now we know that You are commissioning us to go on a mission to love people, to be more accepting, to be more sensitive. And we believe, Father, that even though our efforts will not bear fruit immediately, we believe that You are using us to plant seeds in these people that You will call us to love and minister to until one day, they will experience You fully. This we ask in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Come on, let’s continue lifting our hands as we worship and sing to God…


I want you to lift your hands as a sign that “Lord, I’m recommitting my life to you.”

Some people here are in a state of sin and you’ve been yearning for healing and transformation in your life. I want to tell you that God is telling you today: Your sins are forgiven. You are loved. You are worthy and valuable in my eyes.

Some people here are being called by God to reach out to people and share His love. Offer your efforts to God.

Father, we offer ourselves, our lives to You. You are our Healer. You are our Savior. You will provide everything that we need, oh God. And starting today, we cooperate with Your Perfect Will because You are our Savior and our Lord. And we believe that a beautiful life will happen to us because of Your goodness. We will trust You all of our days. Because You are King of our life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God’s Call


Give a big hand to this wonderful hero of the Lord. God will use him in a powerful way in Binondo.

I just flew from Davao. We had The Feast Conference there yesterday (January 20).

There were 3,000 participants.

And I just want to share with you the Good News that God is working in Mindanao.

So many wonderful Feasts are being built all over Mindanao and I am conveying their greetings to you.

So, do not ever say, “Oh, this is the work of Bo, this is the work of Audee, this is the work of John Ben, this is not me…No.

You. God is calling you to serve in some way.

I don’t know how.

And tell somebody beside you, put your arm around that person, and say,

“Mag-serve na tayo.– Let’s serve already.” God bless you, Everybody.

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

Published by THE FEAST (January 28, 2024)


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