The staff in the clinics are growing in their relationship with God and this is making them bless the community more. They are not merely helping treat the physical ailments of the patients, but they can now go deeper within to help find answers for the emptiness that causes separation from God. As they grow, we encourage them to attend whichever church they would like.. then in the evening they can again feel free to join a home church we have for the staff who are on duty at the clinic. During our Sunday home church I hoped for everyone who went to a church in the morning to share what they heard from the churches they went to. The following is what I shared.
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This Sunday morning I did not go to any particular local church...my girls were still feeling sick, and sleeping at home, and I found my self standing inside a resort sports bar, picking up some food. The UFC light heavy-weight title fight was live on the wide LCD TV screen. A black guy was fighting a white guy. I noted a tattoo on the black guy's chest and at first I thought it said, “Philippines”. I wondered if he was Filipino because I know of a local tour guide here in the island who never met his African-American GI dad and he looked very much like a “black” person. Then when I looked closely I saw that the tattoo said, “Philippians”. I learned later it said, “Philippians 3:14”. Anyway, the black guy beat the white guy and everyone in the bar was whooting and clapping. The champion thanked significant people in his life.. he thanked friends, coaches, parents... then he finally said, “most of all, Jesus Christ!” I said, “Amen!”
I did not go to any particular church this morning to listen to a sermon and clap to a worship band. I was in a sports bar and God reminded me Jesus is my strength through that tattoo on Jon “Bones” Jones, a black guy from New York, now UFC light heavy weight champion. I am not saying people can stop going to their church and instead go to a sports bar on Sunday mornings. I encourage people to choose a particular church and commit a ministry in that church.
As a baby I was baptized an Anglican/Episcopalian Catholic. I attended kids Sunday School in a Baptist church. When I decided to follow Jesus I was baptized in a Vineyard church. Together with my wife I was commissioned into missions in a Grace Brethren church. These are organizations we choose to commit to. Our commitment to our church organization only compliments our utmost commitment to Jesus Christ, Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords, one true God.
What is church?
Church is not merely the building where we gather. Church is us, the community of believers who gather in the building. Community only happens when we meet and fellowship with other believers.
Why go to church?
Yes, we go to church to listen to and learn from God's Word through a sermon or the reading of Bible verses. Yes, we go to church to pray and praise, or talk to God about our concerns or our joys. Yes, we go to church to worship God. These are reasons we go to church.
On Sundays we can choose to listen to the radio or watch TV and hear or see other people pray and sing worship songs, or we can also choose to go inside a church building to listen to a sermon, clap, dance and sing to praise and worship songs. However, if community is absent that would not be really a church. Saying, “Peace be with you” to the stranger beside you is not really community.
Community is when we gather like this and feel free to talk to each other about what's going on in our lives. When we gather we may not have a program – a sermon or even a lesson, but when we let the Holy Spirit lead, someone will be able to share some insight or advice or helpful Scripture reading. We won't have a professional worship band, but we will sing our hearts out to One Whom We Love – Jesus, our King, our God, and if we're a little off-key hopefully our neighbors will be tolerant as they are to the those shouting in the videoke bars around us. And we may not have a ritual or long dramatic prayer sessions, but just some spoken or even quiet prayer for each other. Our home church is a time for us to help each other through the hard times and a time to celebrate every time God, our Heavenly Father, pours His blessings upon us. God is good. All the time. So all the time we should praise God. Not just in our weekly church gatherings but wherever we find ourselves. Because we are saved, in any time, we can talk to Jesus to thank Him.
We are blessed. We want to bless you and pray you bless those others around you. May God's grace and truth flow through you.
Here in Sabang and the rest of Puerto Galera, we may not have a church building but we are not here to build buildings, we are here to build lives... let's do so, one soul at a time.