We are going to take a page from the Book of Acts today. It’s beautiful reading.

But before I do that, I just want to ask you this question: How many of you here are introverts? The textbook definition of an introvert is somebody who prefers to be alone, not be with other people. Introverts are the kind of persons who prefer to be in a smaller group instead of a large group.

Some of us are introverts and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m an introvert myself. But for some reason, the Lord trusts me enough to push me out of my comfort zone. But you see, one problem is when you’re an introvert, you struggle with small conversations. Like you have difficulty when it comes to small talk.

Like you don’t like gaps in conversation. Are you like me– who likes to fill the gaps in a conversation with random things because you feel uncomfortable in that moment, that brief moment of silence?

The problem with introverts, when you come to church, is that sometimes, the preacher likes to say, ‘Touch your neighbor,’ or ‘Talk to your neighbor’.

And some of you, you prefer having church online. I’m speaking to the ones who are in that virtual space because you prefer not having somebody right next to you. Not having to, you know, eyeball-to-eyeball and talk with somebody.

So, there are people who are introverts. But there are also people who are extroverts. Praise God for people like you who make the world fun to live in.

Two Reasons God Involves You in Building His Kingdom

You see, I used to think like this: If the Lord can do anything– and He can do everything– why is it that the Lord requires introverts like me, introverts like you, to have to do something out of our comfort zone?

In Tagalog, kung kaya naman ni Lord, bakit sa akin pa ipagawa? — If the Lord is able to do it, why make me do it?

You ever think like that sometimes? That the Lord is so powerful that He can just snap His finger and solve all of your problems and give you all that you need?

And in case you’re somebody who thinks like that, let me just say this:

If that’s the kind of God that you want, somebody who will just grant your every desire, you don’t need a heavenly Father. You know what you need?

You need a sugar daddy. Somebody who’s just going to give in to your every whim. But God is not like that. He’s a parent.

Two reasons God wants us to participate in building His Kingdom here on Earth:

  1. God wants to grow you. The only way that you can grow is to step outside of your comfort zone. Because that’s where growth is. It’s outside your comfort. It’s in the grinding where we It’s in the working where we develop our faith.

And so God wants you to grow.

  1. God loves you. Imagine a father who couldn’t care less… He would simply let alone his child, right?

But God is not like that. God is working on you simply because He wants to be involved in your life.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today: How this idea of gathering together– even though you’re not comfortable sometimes, standing with people next to you, people looking at you from behind.

Listen to me:

Church is God’s idea.

It’s not my idea, nor Bro. Bo’s idea.

It’s God’s idea.

Let’s go to the reading from the Book of Acts:

I believe that God is here.

And if this is the first time that you’ve come here and you walked into this place, this day is for you. Because you’re about to learn why we do church, why God wants us to do church.

And in case you’re not a first-timer and you come here every week, this message is also for you– so that your countenance, your commitment to Jesus will be strengthened day by day.

Let’s pray:

Jesus, You are here. There will be signs, there will be wonders, and there will be miracles all across this place. Tangible miracles– miracles of healing, miracles of change, breakthroughs upon breakthroughs. Milestones are going to be formed today. But the greatest miracle that we want is that we would have a personal relationship with You starting today. That we would come to know You in a personal way. That You would become our personal Savior and our Lord forever and ever. Thank You for church. Thank You for The Feast. Thank You for the gift of fellowship. In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen.

One more time, Everybody, let’s sing in honor of God’s Word:

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

Give the Lord a big hand, Everybody. Clap your hands and rejoice

I am not solo today. Apart from Bro. Didoy who already spoke to you, I invited another preacher to bless you today and I believe that the hand of God is upon him and I encourage you to take notes but also to open your mind and your heart.

Because if you’re the kind of person who is always looking at the clock and wondering what time this is going to end because you’re late for lunch meeting, you’re not going to be able to receive this message.

So, receive this message with openness and wholeheartedness.

Friends, please welcome my dear, dear friend, Bro. John Ben Rodriguez.

Building Our Church


Good Morning, Everyone.

I love the passage that we read because this is taken from Acts.

Trivia: The Acts of the Apostles happened after Jesus had risen from death and already ascended to Heaven.

So, this was the time that the apostles were no longer with Jesus. So, they were trying to set up church, how it would happen. And the passage we read is about one of the foundational acts that started our Church.

Today, we’ll break the passage down into four main points.

And you will learn more today about how we do church as a Community here at The Feast.

Four Main Points About Church

In every church gathering and every Feast that we do, the first point is this:

God must show up in church. Let’s read again Acts 2:43:

Just a little story…

Last week, it was my three-year-old daughter’s first time to experience riding a horse–in Baguio City. So, my wife Athena and I were very excited.

We were curious what would be her reaction. Will she be afraid? Will she beg off? Will she be excited? Will she be happy?

So, the time came. We took her on her first horseback ride. And during The entire time, she was stroking the mane of the horse and telling the horse, “Wow, long mane.”

You know why? Because ever since was little, she has this little book with a picture of a horse with fur glued to it, like a long mane. So, ever since, it was her only experience of a horse. So, when she rode a horse for the first time, she was filled with awe and wonder.

Did it ever happen to you? Experiencing something beautiful for the first time?

I’m sure you remember. But try experiencing it every single day, or regularly. What happens? For human beings, when something is done often– maybe regularly, maybe part of a routine– it becomes ordinary, it becomes normal.

Sometimes, attending church is like that. When you’re new at The Feast, when you’re new at the Mass, you say, “Wow, this is beautiful!”

But after some time, you say, “Why is it like that, Bro. JB? The effect is not the same as the first time I attended.”

Today, God is reminding us that more than a supernatural event, this is a supernatural experience. This is not just a program.

This is not just an event.

The distinction is what we do and how we do church. In the Catholic Church, our bold claim is that the God of the universe walks in our midst, touching, healing, and blessing us.

In short, God is here. Thank You, Lord.

We’d like to declare that The Feast is a place of miracles.

Why am I sharing this? Because I am not exempt from that temptation to regard church as ordinary. Because I have been attending Community, The Feast, since 2008. And sometimes, I feel that it’s just like a normal routine, an ordinary experience. But I will never forget the 2023 Feast Conference (annual inspirational learning event of the Light of Jesus Family).

I was not excited about attending because I knew half of the time, I would be taking care of our toddler. So, probably, I would not be able to sit and listen to the talks.

But I said this silent prayer: “Lord, I want to encounter You.”

That’s because I remembered a talk of Bro. Bo here at The Feast where he mentioned that the FEASTCON is a supernatural event– so, expect that God will be there.

So, I prayed that during the FEASTCON. And you know what? During the part when they were exposing the Blessed Sacrament, the moment I entered the room,

I was just compelled to kneel and pray. And as I did, I cried so much. You know the ugly cry? Not just the silent cry. No. It was a heavy sob, tears falling from your eyes and more tears coming out of your nose. That kind of a cry. And as I was doing that, my wife was also crying beside me. We were so touched by God because God embraced us there.

Our First Duty at The Feast

You know, the feeling when all those problems I did not cry about, which, alone, I just tried to bear all by myself– but when I entered that room, and there, God was exposed in the Blessed Sacrament, it was as if God was telling me, “I am here with you.”

And I believe that is the same message of God to you today. He is here with you. Carrying your burden and embracing you.

So, if you’re asking me, “Bro. JB, what should be our first duty when we come here to The Feast?

Because some of us are thinking, “Oh, when I am at The Feast, I will listen, I will offer, I will serve…”

Those are all good. But the first intention of your heart when you’re here, is this: You should be ready to receive.So, every time you come, say, “Lord, fill me with awe and wonder so that I may be able to receive what You want to give me. Amen.”

In every Feast gathering, our souls must be nourished.

Let’s go back to the passage we’re reading:

That is an outline of how church should happen. And 2000 years later, we’re still doing it.

In the Catholic Church, the breaking of the bread happens in the Mass.

We believe in transubstantiation. We believe that when the host is raised by the priest, it becomes the actual flesh and blood of God.

So, that’s how powerful our Mass is. Every time you partake of the Communion, you’re actually being brought back to the experience of the apostles when Christ was breaking bread for them. That’s how powerful it is.

We’re doing that here at The Feast.

One point I love about The Feast is this: We are called to give practical preaching. Has our preaching blessed your family life? Yes. Has our preaching blessed your financial life? Yes. Has our preaching blessed your spiritual life? Yes. Has our preaching blessed your physical life? Yes.

And I believe that’s part of our anointing here at The Feast. Because at The Feast, we preach about how to live life from a God-perspective.

Why do we do that? Because we believe that all these elements of life are intertwined. You cannot compartmentalize your spiritual life from your physical life, from your financial life, from your relationship. Those elements are connected. So, we try to put God’s perspective in everything.

Because people come to us and ask us: “Bro, how can we better in our career?” “Bro, how can we deal with our debts?” “Bro, how can we deal with our relationships at home?”

We try to answer those questions in the perspective of God, in God’s view about them.

Charlie’s Problem

Last July, our Feast Talk series was about What Matters Most. One part was about finances. And I gave pointers about finances. After the talk, people approached me and they asked for guidance on how to handle their debts.

One person– let’s call him Charlie– told me, “Bro, I need your help. I’m in debt. May I consult you?”

I said, “Sure, let’s schedule a meeting. Write down your debts, how you incurred them, the interest rates, and let’s find a strategy for you.”

So, during our meeting, we added up his debts. I found out his credit cards were all maxed out– one card maxed out as he paid one person alone. He was using about 10 online lending apps– all maxed out. And his entire debts amounted to P3 million.

He asked me how to go about paying such a huge amount. Of course, I did the strategies: Okay, we could consolidate these; we could probably get another loan to solve all these.

But I felt this leading from God– because I learned this at The Feast: that you can also seek help when you need it.

I told him, “Yes, getting another loan from the bank is a possible strategy. But it would mean that you have to at least double or triple what you’re earning now– which will be quite challenging.”

So, I asked him: “Charlie, do you know people from whom you can borrow money with no interest– just promise them you’ll pay them?”

Then Charlie opened up about another problem.

He told me, “Actually Bro, this is not the first time that I’ve been in this much debt. The last time was about P2 million. And my parents helped me. I did not plan to tell them about my problem, but they found out about it. They scolded me but they eventually paid all my debts. That’s why now, I’m hesitant to ask them for help. Because they would scold me again.”

But I just felt this strong leading from God that borrowing money without interest could be a solution for him.

I said, “Pray about it.”

Because I believe that in certain life situations, we need to ask help from other people.   Why? Because sometimes, God wants to humble you enough– to tell you that you are not alone. And that He is there — a bigger Person in charge who would help you with your problem.

We ended the meeting like that. I left him with possible solutions.

Practical Preaching

Fast forward to 2024. I greeted Charlie “Happy New Year!”

And I asked him, “How are you doing? Do you need another session, probably to realign your strategies?

He said, “Bro. JB, God is so good. I prayed about my debts.

I asked help from my parents, from some of my uncles and aunts. I am now down from P3 million to just P400,000.

And we are now more actively serving God and enjoying deep relationship with Him.”

I was amazed.

I told him, “That’s the way you do it. When you ask for help, you’re coming to a point of taking responsibility now. I taught him to ask people for help and promise to pay them. And the parents were so happy. Their relationship with him was restored because they saw their child taking responsibility now.

All of these I learned at The Feast. Because we give out practical preaching.

What happened? They sold all their properties and distributed them to the needy. Question: Can we do it now– with our setup?

You’re all smiling: “Bro, I don’t like to let go of my iPhone 15 Promax– I haven’t even fully paid for it…”

But what is this teaching?

We were teaching here at The Feast that when you look at the verses, you must look at them through the lens of Jesus and the lens of the context.

This is the context: Back then in the First Century of this church, at that particular time, in that area, that was the need. That was the way for them to be sensitive to the needs of other people. So that they could care for the members of the church.

And if you look at historical references, you will see it was not even replicated in other home churches the other disciples built.

What is this teaching us?

That our church should be sensitive to the needs of the community. We cannot follow it literally but can you say that The Feast is sensitive to your needs right now? Is it answering your needs?

Because we believe church should be about doing life together.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be familiar with the people in church. For example, if you’re attending a parish church, sometimes, it’s difficult because there are many people there. During the part when we Greet, Peace Be with You, we just slightly bow to one another.

Here, at The Feast, are you closer to those you greet Peace be with you?

We should be– because church is family.

This is the reality: Big churches are actually incomplete churches. If there are more than 150 people in the room you may be tasting a part of the church.This big gathering here is an experience of church. But it is not the whole experience God intends it to be. Because church is more than a program, a ceremony, or a concert.

So, what is church? A simple definition of church is this:

Church is being Jesus to someone else.

So, sometimes, the invitation of God for you to be able to have others experience church is as simple as listening to a friend who just had a heartbreak.

Because sometimes, when a friend is heartbroken, you just simply say, “Just move on…”At least listen to the person, journey, and pray for the person.

Church can mean supporting parents with a newborn or a toddler.

I love that this was done to us when we had a newborn and we were tired, a person would volunteer, “May I carry the baby for a while so you can have free time?”

And we would say, “Yes!”

It’s like that. It’s helping out and being sensitive to the concerns of others.

Church is encouraging someone who failed at work. Church is spending time with someone in despair.

Church is doing life together.

That’s why I’d like to honor my leader, Bro. Alvin Barcelona, the District Builder of The Feast Bay Area. He has been doing a great job in taking care of us. In Baguio (during the recent Feast Builders

Conference) Bro. Alvin surprised my wife Athena (born February 2) with a birthday celebration along with our Light (Caring) Group. I love the part when they encouraged my wife, recalled funny experiences, and prayed for her.

What The Feast Is All About

I remember, Bro. Audee Villaraza, Bro. Didoy Lubaton and I started here at The Feast as singles. Eventually, we began to serve God in ministries. Then each of us found a girlfriend, and after that we got engaged, and after that, we got married. Now we have kids. And I am excitedly looking forward to the time that we will be grandparents– doing life together here at The Feast.

Let’s give a clap offering to God because we’re about to fill up this place. Thanks to you for inviting a lot of people.

Aside from us growing bigger, we must grow smaller at the same time.

We expand by multiplying Feasts around the world, but we also shrink by building small groups—Feast Lights and Light Groups. Because we want to reach as many people outside as we can.

That’s why you see, we have Feast Aseana. Very soon we’ll be launching Feast Binondo.

Within large Feasts, we build Light Groups of 5 to 15 persons that meet each week for prayer and sharing.

We also have Feast Lights which are like mini-Feasts that gather in homes, offices, schools, prisons, cafes.

I’d like to honor Gerwin Damay. He was the Feast Light Planter for Binondo. About three weeks ago, all of them came here to The Feast Bay Area. What’s beautiful is that Feast Light Binondo started eight years ago. And they’re still together as one.

They meet during special gatherings. When someone comes home from abroad, they gather, they talk about God. They do life together.

That’s what church is all about. That’s what family is all about.

I love this because this is a good reminder of the main call of God. Yes, holiness is part of following God. You’ll grow in holiness as you follow God. But the main call of the Church is for you to make disciples for Jesus, to reach out to people and tell them about the goodness and the love of God.

So, that’s our invitation to everyone. I love what Pope Francis said– that we should be now at the level where instead of the Catholic Church being just open to everyone, we must be a Catholic Church that moves out of our way, to go out and reach out to other people who need to experience the love of God.

So, my question is this: Will you want to be part of that? Will you want to be among the people who would reach out to bless others and make them experience the love of God?

Pray about it. Maybe your calling is to start a Feast Light in your office.

Or maybe, your calling is to finally reconcile the relationships in your family. Or maybe it will begin with you introducing Jesus to your children. Pray to God about it and He will bless you.

We’re now about to end the talk and I’m glad to welcome back Bro. Audee Villaraza.


I want to end this Talk by going back to Acts 2:43:

There are many reasons you attended The Feast today. Or maybe not just today.

Probably there are many reasons you joined this Community.

If you can fill in the blank in the sentence I found                      at The Feast, what will you put on the blank?

Raise your hand if this will be your answer:

How about those who found sprinkles of kindness… How about this one: You found a cup of unconditional love:

The Answer

You know, Friends, there are many ways that we can answer this question:

I found                          at The Feast.

But one thing is for sure: There is one answer that we can all find in common here: That we found Jesus. Yes!

As it says in Acts again:

Here at The Feast, it doesn’t take effort to find things that you have in common with the person beside you. Because we share our same love for Worship. We share our same unity in praying for someone. We share the same thought that Jesus has saved us. We share the same love for our God.

And that’s the reason we come to church.

That’s the reason God placed you here at The Feast.

Because we find something here in common. It’s not something.

It’s Someone.

Jesus is here. And He is the Name that gathers all of us together.

Thank you for doing church with all of us. Thank you for doing life with me, with Bro. Bo, with all the leaders, with all the servants here. Thank you for coming week after week– even though you live far away, even though you have to spend money on gas, even though some of you have to commute, under the rain, in the heat, and yet you come week after week.

Thank you. Even if you don’t feel like it, sometimes, because you need that extra hour of rest. And you have so much to do to start your week– and yet you come every Sunday. Those online, you’re here virtually with us.

Because this is church. It’s not a building. It’s the people who are with you.

That’s where church happens. When you start praying for one another, when you start loving one another, when you devote yourself to fellowship and prayer, church happens.

This Is Church

Right now, this is church right here, my Friends. This little hall of people worshipping God, loving God, serving God. This is church.

Everybody lift your hands… Aaah, I love church… Close your eyes and feel the Presence of God here.

Let’s pray:

Lord, in Your Presence there is healing. And I believe that for every broken body, every broken heart that needs mending, You are here healing them, restoring them, resurrecting them.

In Your Presence, Lord, there is peace. And in our chaos, in our confusion, we know that as You walk by, You are breathing peace into our lungs, into our minds, into our hearts.

Lord, in Your Presence, there is love. There is so much hatred in the world today. So much bickering, so much fighting. That’s why we need You because

You are the God of Love. And You are here. And I pray that You impart all of these ingredients into the life and the soul of each of Your people here today.

We love Your Church. We love Your people. But above all, we love You, Lord. Thank You for doing church with us. Here in Your Presence, we bask in Your love, we worship, we sing. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. Amen.


May I confess… I wasn’t supposed to preach today. It was supposed to be Bro. Bo. But I got a call at 8:30 this morning, saying that he couldn’t make it. So, imagine how I felt… I knew I didn’t have a message to bring. So, I did what any normal preacher would do. I called another preacher.

Because John Ben was supposed to preach in the afternoon session. And by God’s grace, he said Yes.

But you see, it took Didoy, John Ben, and me to

fill the shoes of one man, of Bro. Bo. And I do feel that at some point, it was not enough– at least according to my standards. It wasn’t enough. But I’d also like to imagine that even if Bro. Bo was here– and he’s not– it still would not be enough. Because otherwise, he would be here– and he’s not.

What I’m trying to get at is that sometimes you try to fill the gaps and the holes, and the lack in your life — with stuff, with people, with material things– and yet you’ll feel like it’s not enough. It’s never enough…Until you learn that there is only One Person who will be able to fill your life, not just to a point where it’s enough, but it’s to the full.

And His Name is Jesus.

When you allow Jesus to fill your life, it’s going to be more than enough. Because He says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

That means that there’s grace for everything that you need in this world.

There’s grace that will work in your relationships. There’s grace that will work in your job. There’s grace that will work in your sickness. There’s grace that will work in your marriage. There’s grace that will work in your organization.

There’s grace that will work in everything that you need.


Because His grace is sufficient,

He is more than enough. And in case you don’t have that relationship with Jesus yet, I’m inviting you to make this commitment with me, with all of us here who do this week after, to simply say and declare with all of your heart, that from this day onward, that Jesus will be your Lord and Savior.

Whoever you are, you don’t need to shout, you don’t need to do anything. I only ask you to do this:

At the count of three, I want you to lift

your hands, both hands, in the air, and we’re going to celebrate together.

Are you ready for this? Every person who wants to have life with Jesus, who will proclaim that from this day on, He will be your King… On the count of three, raise your hands…Here we go: 1- 2- 3…!,

Come on raise your hands! Lift your hands! Hallelujah! We Praise You Jesus!

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

Published by THE FEAST (February 18, 2024)


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