We’re going to take one of the most famous Scripture stories in the New Testament that unless you have been living in a cave all your life, chances are you have heard the story at least once in your life.

It’s called the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It’s a beautiful parable of Jesus and if you’ve heard it many times, I pray that God will give you fresh ears to hear, and new eyes to see His wisdom today.

Let’s read:

That’s all of us here: We want the blessing of God sometimes right now, instead of waiting for it. That’s the younger son. Here’s Surprising: His father agreed to divide his wealth between the two sons.

And then,

Hungry for Love

That’s what happens when you’re hungry.

You’re so hungry for affirmation of love, you’re going to get love from the wrong place, even from the wrong person. Because when you’re hungry that’s a dangerous place to be in.

And no one gave him anything. Verse 17 says:

I declare that there’s somebody here who has been away from the Lord for so long, I want you to know that God sees you where you are right now, and as He sees you coming, He’ll be the first one to come running to you.

And then, in Verse 21:

I declare a party will begin here right now.

But you know, the older brother, instead of celebrating, he became angry…

The father looks at the older brother…

Big Message Today

Look at the neighbor beside you. Once upon a time, those brothers and sisters of yours, they were lost. But the day came when they were found and we praise God for that.

Thank You, Lord, for Your love.

Here is my big message for all of you today, and I hope you can help me preach this to someone next to you.

My message today is this: Join the party.

Fr. Mario would say, “Join the Jollibee party.”J Let’s pray:

Father, Thank You, for this Word will come alive and it will change us today. That’s what You want. You want us to be transformed according to who you have called us to be. Whatever distraction or hindrances that might prevent us from hearing Your Word, Father, we let go of that– shatter our expectations today. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

One more time, Everybody. lift your hands and sing…

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

Life Comes in Stages

A few years ago, we (my wife Kristel and our three-year-old son Ethan) were in the middle of traffic on EDSA.

All of a sudden, there was this Harley Davidson motorcycle that came up right next to us. You know, those big bikes that are so loud you cannot help hearing them.

I don’t drive a motorbike but if I could

I would do it. If I had the resources, yes, I would buy a motorbike.

So, I was admiring this motorbike, and Ethan from behind, just says, “Dad, can you buy me a motorbike?”

I was like, “Son, I wish I could. If I could, I would buy one for myself.”

You know, as a parent, I told him this: “Well, Ethan, you know, when you’re grown up, when you’re responsible enough, and when you have enough money, maybe you can buy your own motorbike.”

He paused. Many seconds passed, and then he says again, “Dad…” And I said,  “Yes, son?”

“Am I older now?”

Ha-ha. It’s a cute story. But it’s also a picture of all of us– how we want life to be quick. We don’t want to wait, sometimes. We want the shortcut.

Who among you here when you were younger, already wanted to be an adult? That’s a season that you go through. You’re young, you want to be old.

So, what do you do? You dress up like you’re an adult. You listen to adult music. You have adult friends. You pretend that you’re an adult.

But then what happens? You grow up. And now that you’re all grown up, you want to pretend that you’re young again. Right? That’s difficult.

I want you to know that that’s not how life is. Because life happens in stages.

Like, you just started working in a company you already want to be promoted already. That can’t be.

It can’t be that you’re just starting to court a girl you want her to say “Yes” right away. What’s that? A minute to win itJ? That can’t be.

Because life comes in stages.

Yes, that’s how it is. Sometimes, you have to through a season of hardship for you to grow. Because life comes in stages.

Three Stages of Spiritual Growth

So, it goes also with our spiritual life. Our spiritual life also goes through different levels of growth. Before you can go to a maturity stage, you have to start as a baby Christian.

In the story we just read a while ago, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, there are three levels that I will share with you– different stages of our spiritual journey.

In the Parable, the younger son asked for his share of his father’s wealth. And much to his surprise, the father divided the wealth between his two sons.

First Lesson: This is the mystery of God’s Love, my dear Friends. Do you believe that God loves you?

Yes. God loves you.

But did you know that even if God loves you, God will allow you to make the wrong decisions in your life? The most foolish decisions in your life? Does it mean that God doesn’t love you?


The fact that God allows you to have free will is a testimony that God respects you. God loves you.

But God is a parent. Parents, you know this. That if you truly love your children, you’re going to allow them to go through hardship in life. Right?

Because of you don’t allow them to go through tough experiences, they are going to grow up soft.

Dangers of the First Stage

As a parent, God will allow you to go through storms and struggles.

Why? Because He wants you to grow into a better person.

He wants you to be more faithful

And that’s the scary part– that God will allow you to make foolish decisions. He’s going to allow rebellion. Just like He allowed His Son…

Why? So that you can become wiser.

God allows you through a season of feeling empty. Why?

So that you can understand what it means to have plenty.

God will allow you sometimes to get lost. Why? So that you know the feeling of what it is to be found.

God is a good parent. He’s a good father. Clap your hands if you believe that.

So, as the story goes, the young son, he flees. He goes away to a distant land and then he spends all his money, he uses all his resources. Then one day comes, his pocket is already empty, and he’s hungry.

And the only thing he could think of: “In my father’s house, there’s food, there’s comfort. I can eat there. I can live once again.”

So, he goes back. And as he is going back, as he walks towards his father’s house, before he even reaches the house, the father sees him from a distance. And the dad comes running towards him.

That’s why the First Stage of Spiritual Growth– hear this out– is called Surprised Son.

Or maybe we can say the Surprised Daughter. Why? Because the First Stage of your Spiritual conversion is when you’re shattered by God’s love…

When you realize, “OMG, I haven’t been to church for ten years, and now all of a sudden I walk into The Feast and I feel the love of the Lord embracing me.”

Have you ever experienced that? You have turned your back on the Lord, and then all of a sudden, you speak to somebody and realize that God truly does love you! And you are smitten by that love– and it changes you.

But here’s the thing: Every stage in your spiritual journey has its dangers.

And the danger in this First Stage is that there is a temptation to backslide. It means you go back to your old self.

It’s Easy to Backslide

The Parable ends on a happy note. The son repents, the father accepts him, and even the older brother does. Although at first, he complains, eventually he also accepts his younger brother. So, they all live happily ever after.

But you know, that’s not reality to a lot of us. Because if this were a real story, the way we’ve experienced it… Walk with me for a moment…

Imagine: The son is now back in his father’s house– with the privileges of being one of the sons and he’s getting to eat more than three, five, or six meals a day– just like you.

Three possibilities of what will happen next:

  1. He gets busy again. Life happens. I mean we have work. We go back to our old routine;
  2. He forgets the suffering he went through because now he is in a better place. Right? That happens to a lot of us.
  3. He misses the life that he had– unlimited budget for shopping…”Add to cart,” no He misses that wildlife of partying, drinking…

You know, come to think about it, there’s a million ways for you to backslide to your old self.

Maybe for some of you, you walk into The Feast, you are blessed by the preacher, you are blessed by the talk, and you are ministered.

Or maybe you attended a retreat and you are inspired to change. But all of a sudden, you’re not so much deep in your faith, you encounter a tidal wave of problems over your life. So now, you have a faith crisis.

Or maybe, for some of you, you get busy– just like the Prodigal son. You get busy you forget about God again.

Or maybe, there’s a lot of unresolved trouble in your life that you haven’t dealt with yet and now it’s about to re-surface… I’m telling you, it’s easy to backslide.

What’s ‘Natural’

By the way, I think this is a good time for me to say that if any of the leaders here at The Feast, particularly me, have ever hurt you, or offended you, I’d like to apologize. This is the truth: the leaders here in our Community, including me, are not little angels. We’re not little demons, either.

You know what we are? We’re just people. Human beings like you. Who sin, who struggle, who try their best to be like Jesus. We’re just people.

And when we offend you– when we do stuff that you don’t really like… Even if the persons beside you, sometimes they offend you also… I want you to know that’s not who they really are.

Let me just say this: In the Prodigal Son story, there’s a part that says when the son came to his senses. Another version says when he came to himself. I love that — because Jesus is pointing out that all this time when the son became a prodigal son, he wasn’t himself. He was a completely different person.

This is what happens when we disobey God. When we sin against God we become a completely different person.

But I want you to know that’s not who you really are. Have you ever heard of the phrase second nature?

We refer to second nature when people do something so regularly that it becomes a habit– it becomes part of their second nature.

So, for example, if this person likes to deceive people and he does it again and again, we can say that this person is a person is a deceitful person– and that’s his second nature.

Question: Is he naturally a deceitful person? The answer is: No!

Because if you might have a second nature, don’t forget that before you could have that second nature, you have a first nature.

What is your first nature? It’s called the Imago Dei

The Imago Dei. The Image of God.

When God created you, He created you n His image and likeness.

In the very beginning, God made you to be good. Because God is good!

And maybe sometimes, people have forgotten to be good. Or maybe they were never raised to be good.

But I want you to know, in the beginning, God made you good.

So, that’s the First Stage:

We’re surprised, we’re smitten by the love of God

Maturing in Faith

After you’re smitten by God’s love– and if you don’t backslide, you don’t leave

God’s Vineyard– then this is the time that you start maturing in your faith.

You start committing to serving the Lord.

By the way, if you want to serve the Lord, please go to our Ministry booth outside. Sign up for a Ministry today.

In the Second Stage, this is the time you start reading Scripture. You start praying more regularly. You become the Better Brother, or the Better Sister.

But again, there are dangers at every level. In this Second Stage, there are two dangers.

No. 1 is you become jaded.

What do I mean by jaded? It’s a very profound word.

Can you imagine the first time you ever rode your airplane? Do you remember that day? Maybe you were young, a teenager, or you were a young adult a few years ago, or maybe just a few months ago.

Do you remember the first time you rode an airplane? How excited you were?

You didn’t know what to expect. You just wanted to experience what everybody was experiencing…

You were in the terminal… you were waiting for your flight… Even before you got into the airplane, you already had 150 selfies on your phone… Because you’re excited.

When you were already inside the plane, you were like, “Wow, Lord!” You couldn’t even blink because you were afraid you might wake up…

And then you were already flying across the sky… You were looking at everybody down there…

You were waving, thinking they could see you, “Hello! I’m right here…” That’s your first experience of riding an airplane.

What Becomes Less Interesting

Imagine your second time riding an airplane. Same energy. The third time, fourth time…

But imagine this: This is your 867th time to ride an airplane. You’re still excited — because you want to sleep during the flight.

Sometimes, having too much of something becomes less interesting. And married people know this. That when you start a relationship, oh, you’re so in love. Especially during the honeymoon season.

The honeymoon season is so good but it lasts only for a season.

During the courtship period, this is the text > My goodness. If this is not how the text of your suitor,

don’t pay attention to him, ha. Please.

Then what happens, later, within that span of the honeymoon relationship, it deepens.

Like this >

Still thrilling

Some Issues

But you know, if you’re brokenhearted, this is your reaction when someone says “Hi” to you:

Translation: “Hi? Afterwards, what? We will become close?

We will talk starting in the morning up to bedtime? Then we will become us? Then we will plan all our dreams. Then you’ll get tired of it all?

And you’ll leave me? NO ‘Hi.’ Stop bothering me.”

Goodness. That’s life. When you get too much of something, it becomes less interesting. Just like the brother. The older brother.

He was in his father’s house– all his life. And so to him, what was around him was just regular. Nothing new. And he wanted more.

And here’s the second danger in this Stage of Becoming the Better Brother is the temptation to feel entitled.

You feel like since you’ve been in this house for so long, you should be the one who should be given everything. You’re entitled now. You’re entitled to have the best piece of chicken. You’re entitled to have the parking slot. You’re entitled to have the title.

It’s the entitlement issue. What is one solution to get rid of the entitlement?

It’s called humility. Because humility will ground you, tell you: “Hey, it’s not all about you. You’ve got a younger brother who was lost but now he’s found.”

That’s humility. And that’s what we need to learn today.

That we humble ourselves before the Lord and say, “Lord, without You I cannot do anything. Lord, without You I am nothing.”

That’s humility. Because sometimes we arrive at the part of our faith where we think we know everything already, so we stop growing.

Humility is a wonderful way to stay in God’s Community and be faithful in God’s Community.

God’s Mercy Up Close

I’ll tell you right away– because

I know you already have a mental picture of what I’m trying to get at.

The Forgiving Father. This is the Stage where we all come to realize that our God is a forgiving Father.

I’ll talk to you about two ways how these two brothers discovered about forgiveness.

First, the Prodigal Son.

It says in the story, in Luke 15:18:

What did he do? He returned to the father. I love that. Because it simply says that when the son thought of his sin, he knew exactly where he needed to go. He didn’t think of his village. He didn’t think of his neighbors. He didn’t think of his best friend. He thought of his father.

And here’s the key: He didn’t just think of the father, he returned to his father.

He didn’t just think it. He was moved into action.

So, when you come to the Lord, here’s the first thing you’ve got to do: You’ve got to return to the Lord first.

Before you go to your Christian friends, before you go to your leaders, before you go to your mentors, go to God Himself first.

That’s how you come to know the mercy of God– firsthand, up close, and personal.

But you know, I thought about the older brother. Because the title of the Parable is The Parable of the Prodigal Son. And so, it’s about the Prodigal Son.

But I wonder why Jesus put a part there where He put the spotlight also on the older brother.

So, I kept on wondering, “Lord, why would You put that — if it didn’t have any a purpose?

Jesus’ Invitation

Jesus wants us to think for a moment about the bitter brother because, you know, the father forgave the repentant son when he came back. He was the one who came running to the Prodigal Son.

But I want you to read this with me– in Luke 15:28:

The brother resented his father for welcoming back his younger brother. The father was the one who begged the older brother to come into the house.

He said, “Look, dear son …”

You know, the word there is not child but son– it’s a term of endearment.

It means that he truly loves this boy…

Here is my simple point, my dear Friends: Jesus wants us to look at the Prodigal Son, and rightfully so. Because he’s all of us. But there’s someone also in your family, or your friends list, somebody who needs to come back to the Lord and we need to understand those people. We need to pray for them. We celebrate when they come home.

Here’s the key: We also need to celebrate the older brother.

Did the younger son even think of the older brother? How he would feel?

The younger brother wasted his money– then he would go back to his older brother?

We don’t really think much of the older brother… But did you know that all of us here are also the older brother, or the older sister? That sometimes, we also need the Father to acknowledge us?

My Friends, whoever you are, whatever your background is, that everyone– all of us here– whether you’ve been in Community for so long, whether you’ve been a believer for a short time, I want you to know that everybody deserves God’s mercy. Everybody.

I kept thinking about it… Maybe Jesus also wants me to not just think about the Prodigal Son, but also think about the bitter brother.

Everybody Is Invited

The crazy part is this: Jesus didn’t invite just the good people to His Table. He didn’t invite only those who were praying in the synagogue. Or those who were doing right, obeying the law. No. He invited even the sinners. Jesus invited even the outcasts.

Jesus invited even those who hadn’t been to church at all. Because the truth of the matter is that when it comes to God’s invitation, everyone is invited to God’s party.

You’re invited. You, you haven’t been to church? You’re invited. You, you don’t even know God and you don’t even read Scripture, hey, you’re invited. You, you’ve sinned against God again and again, and you’ve turned your back on Him, guess what? You are invited.

I’m invited. She’s invited. He’s invited. We’re all invited.

May we clap our hands to this party? That God is throwing for all of us.

And His message today is: You can be in a season of your life who’s run away, and you’ve squandered the inheritance that God gave to you… But God is here and He is welcoming you. He has his hands stretched open to receive you today. And all you’ve got to do is simply just take a few steps forward, toward the Father. And I tell you, when God sees you coming, my Friend, He’ll be the first one to come running to you. And I believe God is going to run to you– not jogging, not just leisurely, but sprinting to you. Because He missed you. God missed you.

Today, We Party!

We’re going to come before the Lord right now, and we’re going to celebrate the depth of His Love for all of us.

Lift your hands, Everybody, across this place.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for going out of Your way,

leaving the 99 sheep to find even one lost sheep.

You are the reason all of us are here. Once upon a time, we were lost, but today, we get to celebrate for we have been found. And today, we rejoice in Your Presence.

Today, we party in Your Presence.

Thank You, Lord, for Your Love. Thank You for Your Grace. But above all, Thank You that You are our Forgiving Father. Thank You for Your Mercy. Amen.

Let’s celebrate the Lord today. Sing to Jesus!

No More Gap

Before the time of Jesus, before Jesus came into the world, the people were struggling to bridge the gap that was disconnected because of sin. And they did all sorts of ways to bridge that gap– to sacrifice, to pray, worship. But it was not enough– until Jesus came. And when Jesus came, He did not only bridge the gap– He didn’t even just fill the gap… You know what Jesus did? He closed the gap. So that you would never ever have to be disconnected from the Father again. He closed the gap.

He said, “It is finished. I have overcome sin and death and you can do it too.

How? By having life with me.”

Because He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the way to the Father.

And today, we are in the Presence of Jesus our Savior. And if you want to have Life with Him, to have this beautiful Life, I want you to raise your hands.

Look at Your people, Lord Jesus. Look at all of us in complete surrender.

We acknowledge that we have sinned against You. We acknowledge that we are broken and that we are living it. But by Your Grace, we can have the strength m to overcome this sin. And we can walk away from that sin.

Today, I choose You. I declare that You are my God. And I declare that You came here to rescue me and to raise me to New Life. And Starting right now, I walk towards You and declare that You are enough. Your Love is enough. Your Presence is enough.

Your Joy is enough. Your Peace is enough. You are enough.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Closing Message and Prayer

BRO. BO SANCHEZ: Are you thankful that God has chosen Audee and anointed him to be our preacher and our leader?

I want you to know I’m a Feaster. I’m no longer the leader here. I’m a Feaster like you. I report to this man. We report to him. And we respect him and we love him and we pray for him. Thank you, Audee.

Friends, I’ll tell you just one story. I came from Boracay because of a conference. No, it was not a vacation. It was work.

It was a Truly Rich Club Conference (financial literacy advocacy).

And yesterday, I was able to talk to one of the participants. I would always see this couple every time there’s a TRC conference. They’re not only TRC members, they lead a Feast Light (a small Feast usually held in a member’s home).

This couple, they are not preachers but they wanted to bring people to the Lord.

I saw the husband ten years ago at one of our TRC conferences. He started a small business– a hardware store. Initial capital: P50,000.00.

Yesterday, he told me, “Bro. Bo, ten years later, my business is now worth P100 million. Question: Is his Feast Light, you think, lacking of funds? I don’t think so. As his business is prospering, he can continue to contribute and be a blessing to others.

So, here’s my prayer for you: Make today better than yesterday– in terms of your finances, in terms of your fitness, in terms of your relationships, in terms of your marriage. Make today better than yesterday.

You might say, “Bro. Bo, it seems that’s difficult– P50,000 to P100 million in 10 years. Looks too fast.”

No. Every day, just increase, grow by one percent your finances, grow by one percent your faithfulness, grow by one percent your love for one another. Just be better by one percent every day and I pray that will be a blessing.

May I pray:

Father in Heaven, I pray for every person here that each one will just grow by a bit, every day in every area of their life — not for them, not for a selfish reason, but just like the couple I talked with yesterday, that they will be a bigger blessing to the people around them.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

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

Published by THE FEAST (February 4, 2024)


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