Talk 1


Praise the Lord! Merry Christmas!

We’re just blessed that we are part of this Feast Bay Area District Family.

We’re excited, my dear friends, that after our amazing series on Special Delivery, we’re starting a mini-series for three weeks— today, next Sunday, then we’ll have a break for two Sundays, and then when we come back next year we will have the third installment of the series.

And the title of our mini-series is

Unwrap: Receive the True Gifts of Christmas.

Definitely, we have wish lists. But more than all these things that you are looking forward to receiving this Christmas, it’s just right that today we want as well to celebrate the true gift of Christmas—none other than our Lord God.

I have these three gifts that symbolize the next three gifts that we are going to unwrap.

The first gift is the Gift of Peace.

I’m sure when you speak about Peace, we think of peace of mind and peace of heart. Question: Do we have these? Because perhaps, at this very moment, you’re already thinking about what to add to cart— shopping online. Then, your

phone is vibrating with notifications. Or, just in case you had work backlogs last week, here comes Monday… I’m sure we’re thinking of a lot of things.

But allow me to share with you what could take away from you that peace— inner peace. Check yourself if these are bothering you:

Engaging with toxic people. Are there negative people around you?

Excessive self-blame. Something happened in the past— you made a mistake and you’re into excessive self-blame. It’s been a long time, yet you still blame yourself.

Chasing happiness. Nothing wrong with it— but you might just be looking for temporary happiness.

Staying comfortable. So, your dreams this 2022, you’re forwarding them to 2023. You have dreams that are not yet fulfilled.

The victim mentality. You feel you’re pitiful. You pity yourself.

Trying to impress people. You are pleasing everyone. But we know you cannot please everyone.

The pursuit of perfection. Everything has to be perfect. You think you must be in control of things. So, when things get out of hand, you are anxious.

Grudges. Mukhang may same ka ng loob. You have resentments. Instead of sowing goodness, you sow bitterness.

The quest for material things. Again nothing wrong with it. But check your closets, your house— you might have too many things. Question: Do you really use them?

Complete self-reliance. You feel you can do everything, so you don’t ask help from anyone.

When you speak about peace, it’s popular in beauty pageants. The common question is What do you wish for the world? The answer: World peace.

Beautiful answer. It’s correct. But ask yourself: Is it really possible to have world peace?

My dear friends, it may not be instant world peace. But when you make that decision, when you choose that peace for yourself, each one of us, little by little, families, companies, communities, countries— then it’s really possible for us to experience world peace.

And we ask these reflection questions to those of you who are part of Light Groups, you may consider this, or write in your journal: What do you need to have inner peace? And how will you share the gift of peace with others?

Our one big message today:

Come to a place of peace.

 Let’s serenade the Word of God:

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

The main verse I want to share with you is taken from the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 27: “I’m leaving you with a gift— peace of mind and heart.

And the peace I give is a gift that the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

And His name is Jesus.

Come to a place of peace.

My dear friends, when you speak about that case of peace, it’s not a ware, it’s not just a condition. It’s a Who.


When you are at peace, my dear friends, definitely, you will come alive. You have purpose. You are celebrating your personality.

You have that passion.

The potential is there, definitely, you just have to develop it.

And not just perfection, but actually, you are after progress.

But let’s face it. Real talk: Most of the time, we are lost. That’s why we cling on to pain. You already know it’s painful, but still, you insist on it. Some people, they are into pleasures, temporary happiness.

Others, peso— here comes Christmas bonus.

People are also clinging to positions. And some, power.

When there’s excess in these, that’s when we lose inner peace. That’s why I love this prayer. I’m sure you’ve come across this— the Serenity Prayer.

 Altogether, let’s pray this:

It’s good to pray this. But let’s admit it: easier said than done. That’s why when we discussed the ten things that take away our inner peace, that’s awareness— at least you know now. But it doesn’t matter if we know, but we don’t act it out.

That’s why, from awareness, we need to take action.

So, this is the goal of this talk: Receive that gift of peace, unwrap it, but don’t just look at it. Use it in your life. And hope it just does not remain in you— instead, you get to share this with the people who need it the most. Yes! Because many are just like this: scrooge. Are you a scrooge?

Ebenezer Scrooge is a character in Charles Dickens’s novella Christmas Carol. Everyone is joyful and excited about Christmas— but Scrooge destroys the entire spirit of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the ghost of Jacob Marley, once a business partner of Scrooge, visits Scrooge. The ghost of Jacob tells Scrooge,

“You’ll be visited by three ghosts. And each ghost has a special message.”

Let’s take inspiration from these messages.

First: Ghost of Christmas Past. When he was young, Scrooge suffered hardship. Then, he found his loved one, but their relationship does not flourish because Scrooge gets busy with his work.

We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.

Second: Ghost of Christmas Present. After his Christmas Past, Scrooge gets to see his Christmas Present. His present life is abundant, he has everything he needs. but he is not generous. He’s so mean to people— even to his loyal assistant who is already sick, but Scrooge does not help him.

Third: Ghost of Christmas Future. This shows his death. All of the regrets.

Let’s learn from a quote from American journalist Fulton Oursler:

Because of those #ghosts who visit him, Scrooge has a change of heart. That’s why I like the message of this song:

Before wishing others to change, before wishing for world peace, make that decision first— for yourself.

Friends, give yourselves a round of applause.

Because friends, we’ve reached December.

We’re going to finish this year strong. We went through a lot of hardships —which we’ve overcome.

And yes, there were things you were not able to accomplish. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Be proud of yourself— of what you’ve done so far. But we can’t do it alone. If we want to experience peace, we need the grace of God.

And that’s why the second letter of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:11 says: Aim at perfection. Take courage. Be one of mine, live in peace. So shall the God of Love and Peace be with you.

Very important to make that decision. And we ask and beg God’s grace to be with us.

Now, moving forward, there are three ways to unwrap the Gift of Peace, taking inspiration from the Christmas Carol.

Here’s the first way:

Making peace with the Past.

Yes, we cannot change the past. It hurts when you accept the truth.

But we can always learn from it.

That’s why I love this quote from my mentor, American author

Tony Robins:

On a personal note… I no longer have my Dad with me now. When I look back, I know that he was a great provider. He was into poetry. He was also onstage.

But one thing that I didn’t have much was time with my Dad.

That’s why how I wished there was a time machine so I could go back to have more time with him. But instead of me looking at the past with bitterness, it’s now my decision that, okay, that’s what happened to us— I will not repeat it.

I’m grateful that happened so that I will learn from it when I become a father. It’s not looking back with bitterness— but I see myself getting better and better.

Second way: Making peace with the Present.

You might be here physically, but your mind is somewhere else. Like those who are multi-tasking, especially online, with pictures, but actually, they are not there.

Are you really present? Life is happening. You might not be there. You forget the gift of the Present— living in this moment.

I love this quote from Bro. Bo Sanchez, in his book Find Your Surrendered Place: 

So, if you are with your loved ones, with your family, just let them experience that you are here.

Tap them and tell them, “I’m here for you.”

There is a lot I’m blessed with— which I used to just dream of.

Now, I get to live my dream.

Not just serving here at The Feast but also going rom one place to another, going online, to see the best in people and bring out the best in people.

My blessings include my dream wife— Milen— who is with me in my life.. our journey to having a child …All of these, I’m so grateful for.

But it can happen that you might be having so many blessings, that you find yourself getting busy with the wrong things. You tire yourself with activities but eventually realize, “Is this really what I want in my life?”

I recently had a wake-up call the last time my family and I visited my Dad at the cemetery. I was reminded that life is short.

When you know that life is short, you won’t waste yourself on trivial things. You go back and ask, “What really matters to me?”

So, what are you busy with? Instead of getting busy with a lot of things, let’s move to being-ness. Just be.

Right now, you’re here— attending. Just be here. Because God is here.

In the Scriptures, we see Mary and

Martha. There’s always this tension: “Will I be like Mary? Or will I be like

Martha? Jesus visits them, Martha gets busy, busy with the meal preparation, while Mary sits at the foot of Jesus, choosing to be in the Presence of God.

But how about this:

You actually don’t have to make a choice. You can be there as Martha— working because that’s what you need to do— like those who work because they are the providers, breadwinners for their families. Then you can also be like Mary during the time that you need to be in the Presence of God.

The message is clear: Wherever you are, be there.

We now move to the Third Way: Making peace with the Future.

This is where you need now to make a decision to love. Just sow love and trust His way. In the past years, it might have always been “My way, my way— I did it my way.”

Change. From here on, “I’m going to make it God’s way. Let Your will be done in my life, Lord.”

John Maxwell, leadership expert, reminds us:

We have so many worries, thinking of so many things, we underestimate today.

So, friends, again, on a personal note: from burden, this is now a shift to blessing.

Before, I thought about many things, many plans. I dreamed of having my one true love.

Fast forward, I got to meet the love of my life— Milen– way back in high school.

Afterward, we thought, “Are we ready to get married?”

And yes, today, I’m sharing with you, this coming week, December 17, my wife and I will be celebrating our 11 years as husband and wife.

Also, we worried, we’d start our family. We had a difficulty in pregnancy— four failed pregnancies, to be exact.

Our story was even featured in The Feast magazine, centering on the theme Gratefulness.

We are not the focus of the story— but it is about God’s Great-fulness.

Some of you, you’re praying to have a child…So many worries… Fast forward to today, we celebrate our daughter Yana who is turning six years old this December 20.

Parents, our child is now in Kindergarten 2. I’m turning 40 next year.

We have a long journey ahead. But you know what, I’m not worried about the future. Why?

Because God has been faithful in my life.

And God has been faithful in your life… So, you have nothing to worry about…

I look at my family, and I’m reminded that it’s a testimony of God’s faithfulness, God’s greate-fulness.

So, friends, how about this: as you make peace with the future, do your best and let God take care of the rest.

I hope after this talk we will not get lost anymore.

St. Augustine said:

You will have peace only if God is in your life.

Once again, our message is very clear: Come to a place of peace. And this is not a ware, a condition, it is a Who. That’s why this Christmas, we are being led to be part of that experience of the First Christmas. The manger— very messy. But God chose that He would be born in the messiest of life.

So, don’t expect a perfect life. You will have peace only when Jesus is in your life.

Isaiah 9:6:

His name is Jesus.

Are you ready to receive peace in your life? Are you ready to receive Jesus in your life?

Finally, John 28: 21:

My dear friends, here’s my prayer: That right after this Feast, you have that peace— and don’t keep it to yourself. Bring it to that family member you’re not talking to. Maybe to that officemate who somehow you envy.

Maybe online, through those people you feel are insecure. Bring that peace to the ends of the world. Because that’s what we are called to do.

Let’s pray:

Lord, I surrender my life to You. I surrender to You all my loved ones. I surrender my family and my friends — everyone I hold dear. I place them all in Your loving arms. Take care of them.

I know You love them more than I do. Lord, I let go of all of my attachments. I let go of all my possessions. I let go of all my fears, worries, anger, regrets, and dreams.

I also give to You my weaknesses, failures, and sins. I trust You, Jesus.

From now on, Your will be done in every area of my life. I am Yours. I will serve You forever. Amen!


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