S TA FF
A B O U T T HE C OV ER
Anna Belen Condat Arlene Evangelista Paolo Guicho Go
Trees have been used to symbolize a person, his character & maturity. When in the nurturing light of the Godhead (triquetra), it grows upright, seeks the Source faithfully, and bears godly fruit. Whilst in darkness, it stands crooked, lost and profitless. In this instance, the tree symbolizes not a mere individual but a community that mutually grows under the sustaining grace of the Most High.
C ON T R IB U TOR S Charlene Bassig Hanceely Villa Hendrex Villa Mafia Escasinas Melchor Go William Saberon
FROM T HE PA S TOR’ S HE A RT
“" W H AT IF ? " ” A M U S ICA L
T RU E LOV E WA I T S IN B ATA A N
WAY MER S / MIL I T I A N S
ON LOV E S T RU C K 2013
W I T NE S S FOR C HR I S T
G OD & E V IL
F U N PAGE
W H AT DOE S T HE LOR D R EQU IR E ?
C HRONIC L E S 2 0 1 3
FROM THE PASTOR’S HEART R E V. MELC HOR C . G O
hat? Shekinah at 29? And counting!? Without a doubt this is a testament to the unfailing work of God among us. How else can you explain reaching this far in our faith journey but to attribute it to the enabling power of the Holy Spirit? Recalling a passage from the fifth chapter of the Book of Acts: “for if this… work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it…” (vv. 38, 39).
Needless to say, there are mounting oppositions, trials and hardships along the way and yet the church continues to thrive notwithstanding her shares of adversities. Hearts may at times sink in despair in the face of uncertainties but the presence of the Holy Spirit never fails to reassure us that God is control and will undertake in our behalf. He always comes in time to our rescue by miracles of deliverance, provisions, and healing, among other blessings! One wonders why God is so concerned with Shekinah that He lavishes her with so many good things! Does this mean that God plays favorites among His numerous children? Well, not exactly. But among the many reasons for the display of extravagant favors, aside from Him simply acting consistently to His loving and gracious character, is the urgent task He has commissioned us to fulfill! He has given us an important job that can never be accomplished without His sustaining grace. This is what empowers and motivates us to pursue greater heights of service in His Kingdom. And no matter how “small” this job may appear to us in light of the grand scheme of God’s redemption for the Philippines and the rest of the world, this is nonetheless vital in the establishment of His Kingdom rule on earth! Right from the outset our church has been anointed by God to preach the Good News and consequently plant churches. In fact, we are witnesses to this work in that many among us have come to Christ and consequently have become members of the new churches started by Shekinah! We have experienced His power at work in our lives that resulted in increased motivation and realization for godliness and service. Our members are continuously being mobilized for evangelism and a good number have responded to the call to plant churches in places outside our comfort zones. Other equally
REV. MELCHOR C. GO is the senior pastor of Shekinah Christian Church, University Belt. He is married to Gloria and has two sons. He teaches Homiletics, among other things, and directs the Pastoral Studies program of the Asian Theological Seminary in Quezon City. important ministries were launched such as the establishments of pre-school, elementary and high school education in order to serve our immediate communities. To date, we have started a total of seven (7) schools spread all over the country! In fact, the catalogue of the manifestations of His work amongst us is endless. Undoubtedly, God is truly at work amongst us! Living signs of His presence are all over the place. We just have to open our eyes to behold His wondrous works. As the Psalmist says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). Therefore, the challenge before us now is a critical one. That is, up to how far is the length, breadth, height and depths in our individual lives are we yet willing to yield to His loving Hands in order to accomplish the task?! Our individual contribution makes up the sum total of Shekinah’s role in God’s redemptive plan for the whole of humanity. Let’s not lose sight of our reason for being. Let’s continue to vigorously pursue our mission to the very end! This is the most fitting response we can make to God’s lavish grace! His promise to us is unmistakably clear in that, “He will be with us to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). Whatever work He has begun among us, may He continue it to the very end. Happy Anniversary, Shekinah!
NE W S & MINI S T RY U PDAT E S
“WHAT IF?” A MUSICAL
PHOTO S BY MIK H A EL G O
M A FI A E S CA S IN A S
ove is a universal language. No matter how we say the situation is for a specific age range, everyone can still understand it –just as long as it is about love. And that precisely happened last 16th of February when the SCMI Youth showcased A Lovestruck event called “What If”.
For more information and pictures, visit the SCMI Youth’s Facebook page. facebook.com/SCMIYouth
The event was held at the Chi-Alpha Student Center. The organizers and talents have placed their hearts on – quite literally - everything. The place burst with cut out hearts on the columns and petals were scattered on the floor. And as the crowd slowly filled in, there was only one word to describe everything: warm. There was warmth radiating from everyone. Strangers smiled to each other from across the halls, leaving a sense of warmth in the hearts of many. If the musical presented questions on love and relationships, the short exhortation given by our senior pastor, Rev. Melchor Go answered them. He shared to us the story of the prodigal son. Pastor Mel’s message was direct yet meaningful that delighted everyone. The band closed the event that night with Kari Jobe’s “Steady My Heart.” The Lovestruck event wasn’t just to answer the “What If” questions we have in our mind, it was also for us to remember what love is really all about. And it is all about Him. So yes, love is indeed a universal language, and we are to spread it. But just as this SCMI Youth event had reminded us, this Love that we need to share and to spread is Him. Congratulations to the organizers and talents that worked on for the event. They have not only given a wonderful show, but they have also reached out to the audience with a wonderful message.
TRUE LOVE WAITS IN BATAAN A R L ENE E VA N GEL I S TA
ast December, Sis. Mercy Ramos forged a partnership with the Evangelism & Missions Department for training programs and seminars for the Aeta young people. Last March 23, 2013, the first seminar was held in Bataan. Some members of the Evangelism Team visited the Aeta Amabala community to conduct the True Love Waits seminar. According to Sis. Mercy, the suggestion to hold this seminar came from the Aeta youth themselves. Because of their marriage culture (most of them marry at a very young age), these young people find it necessary to follow the biblical principle of relationship and marriage. Twenty three participants came to attend TLW, with kids as young as 13 years old. They were very responsive, and according to Sis. Mercy, the feedback was very positive. The desire of the Aeta youth to learn about biblical relationship is encouraging. It only proves that with Sis. Mercy’s help, they are indeed growing in the Lord. 7
NE W S & MINI S T RY U PDAT E S
WAYMERS / MILITIANS
#3 NEW ACTIVITIES
After changing schedules, YM has lined up activities that would encourage evangelism, discipleship, leadership, fellowship and service C H A R L ENE B A S S I G all for the Glory of God. A good example is Church Visitation. Last year the YM visited our neighboring church, SCC Nagtahan, and What’s new, hip and happening in the 6 conducted a small fellowship to strengthen the years that the Youth Ministry Yeshua’s bonds with other fellow youth within our church. We also had a Table Tennis Tournament which Militia has existed? Here are the TOP 10 the Waymers really enjoyed.
THE NEW DAY AND TIME SLOT From 4:30 to 6:00PM Saturday, the schedule was moved to Sunday at 2:30 to 4: 30 PM. This change proved to be helpful to the ministry and to the youth.
#2 WAYMERS OR MILITIANS
FIRST SUNDAY EVANGELISM Another regular is the First Sunday Evangelism which is a major activity that the Waymers are doing for months now. Currently there are three places ‒ Luneta Park, around the Far Eastern University and the Peace Park near Malacanang ‒ where the Waymers are alternately evangelizing. Usually you would see Waymers giving a tract, talking to fellow youth and sharing the gospel.
We have a new name, Waymers derived from YM. Both names, Militian or Waymer, can be used interchangeably.
For more information about the Yeshua’s Militia, please visit their Facebook Page. facebook.com/ShekinahUB.YM 8
#5 INTERCULTURAL PARTY Aside from having fellowship with SCC â€“ Nagtahan, the Waymers celebrated Christmas with the Indians students of Pastor Stephen Sunil. The event was filled with fun, games, and the spirit of Filipino Christmas, without, of course, forgetting what Christmas is all about.
#8 SMALL GROUPS A few months back, the ministry implemented small groups. These small groups are headed by the core and its main purpose is for kamustahan and sharing.
#9 OVERNIGHT PRAYER MEETINGS
Waymers in the past year had grabbed the LUNCHTIME CAMARADERIE opportunity to conduct overnight prayer The Waymer Core and youth pastor Robert meetings. These meeting were intended to be Reyno made it a point to develop discipline, a night of worship and prayer. service and fellowship through the preparation of lunch. Members are divided into groups with specific functions like cooking and washing the dishes which will encourages initiative and TALENTS DISCOVERED discipline in oneself. As they say, a family that eats together stays together! In a way, from Recently, SCMI Youth held the Lovestruck the preparation to lunchtime itself, the bond is 2013: What If? The Musical and the Waymers strengthened, and it can also be seen as service actively participated in the said event. In fact their talents in singing, dancing and acting were to the church and to God. brought to light since most of them were actors in the said event and play.
THE GRAFFITI WALL
We urge you to continue to pray for our Of course the Waymers did not literally draw Youth Ministry. Glory to God! ď Ź graffiti on the church wall. Instead, a really huge black cloth banner was painted and designed graffiti style. It came out really good and it was used as a backdrop during the Christmas Party. 9
R EFL EC T ION S
ON LOVESTRUCK H A NC EELY V IL L A
ifferent from the last three seasons of Lovestruck, SCC UB’s Youth Ministry presented an interactive musical. Acquaintances, friends, relatives, lovers, and significant others filled Chi Alpha last February 16 to witness the said production. Memories of the last Valentine’s day and a couple of “what if” questions which they later wrote in pieces of paper lingered in the minds of people waiting for the show.
Love is universal. People of all ages, races, careers, and beliefs believe they have an idea of what love is. Rehearsals were fun-filled and productive. Tons of stories, jokes, ideas, and anecdotes, were shared even between people who were not really close with each other. I believe this musical made the youth closer. The extra time we spent together during practices made us more familiar with each other especially with the new ones. Few minutes before the musical began was nervewrecking for me, at least. I was never comfortable in talking in front of many people that’s why I always get anxious whenever I have to do so. The others were pretty confident about what they were supposed to do. And eventually, I gained confidence from them. I believe everyone enjoyed the youth’s presentation. And by everyone, I mean the audience, the directors, the actors, the musicians, and the production people alike. The fact that the musical enforced interaction with the audience made it more interesting and appealing to them. I noticed that during the part when Louisse asked the audience about how they define romantic love, there were
people who looked like they wanted to be called immediately. The expectant smiles they sent the characters made them obvious. On the other hand, there were also few people who looked distressed for not preparing an answer beforehand. Love is universal. People of all ages, races, careers, and beliefs believe they have an idea of what love is. However, a different meaning of love was discussed by our senior pastor, Rev. Melchor Go. It is sad to think that most people would immediately think about romantic love when asked about love. Ptr. Mel reminded us of Agape or God’s selfless love for us. He used a story children usually encounter during their Sunday school classes━ “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” The said story portrays a father’s altruistic love for his younger son who disappointed him. The kind of love the story showed us is parallel to God’s love for us. This kind of love, Agape, is the model of how we should love other people.
This kind of love, Agape, is the model of how we should love other people. Everyone was thankful for the message that reminded us of what love really is in the Christian context. I believe this message answered all of our “what if” questions directly or indirectly.
R EFL EC T ION S
WITNESS FOR CHRIST W IL L I A M S A B ERON
ne of the most striking definitions of evangelism I heard many years ago is to present Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men will come to put their faith in go through Jesus as their Saviour and to serve him as their King in the fellowship of His church. Through this definition, I believe that evangelism has two universal mandates.
First: The church is mandated by Christ himself to be a witness to the lost. (Acts 1:8) The word “witness” is a legal term we used in courts. A witness is a person who is credible to testify of what he sees or hears and has experienced in a particular incident or event. Now, the big question is “Are we witnessing for Christ or have we somehow become just an audience?” We are all tempted not to witness for Christ because we tend to stay in our comfort zone. In the early church, witnessing was a major ministry for them (Acts
Are we witnessing for Christ or have we somehow become just an audience? 12
2:42-47, Acts 3:1-25). They were serious when it came to evangelism. In other words, there were no slackers in witnessing then, and there was no room for procrastination.
They were serious when it came to evangelism. In other words, there were no slackers in witnessing then, and there was no room for procrastination. Second: Every believer is bound to this mandate or calling. (Matt. 28:19-20) Witnessing is not only given to a particular group of people who has a specific job description in the church (missionary, pastors, evangelism, teacher), but to people who have encountered Christ, and eager to make Him known to others that they may also experience the life with Christ in their hearts. We should remember our calling to proclaim Christ to the lost and become effective and zealous witnesses of our Lord.
R EFL EC T ION S
GOD AND EVIL A R L ENE E VA N GEL I S TA
If God is indeed good, then why does He allow evil and suffering in the world?” This is a perennial question that is being asked since time immemorial. There is so much pain and suffering in the world that one can hardly reconcile the existence of God and the presence of evil. Christians struggle with this, and atheists use the argument to disprove the existence of God. According to philosopher J.L. Mackie, the problem of evil is a problem only of those who believe that God is omnipotent and wholly good. He puts the logic of the problem this way: God is omnipotent; God is wholly good; yet evil exists. The inconsistency seems glaring. If God is indeed omnipotent, then He would have the power to stop evil. If He is omnibenevolent, then He would have stopped it. Why doesn’t he, then? Mackie asserts that if God is really powerful and good, then the reality of evil would disprove His existence. But is God’s existence hinged upon the presence of evil?
God is omnipotent; God is wholly good; yet evil exists. Prior to St. Augustine’s conversion, he also struggled with the same issue: I anxiously sought the answer to the question, “Where does evil come from?” How great were the pangs of my overflowing heart, what inward groans I had, my God! Yet even then Your ears were open to me, though I did not know it. When in silence I vehemently sought an answer, those silent sorrows of my soul were strong cries to Your mercy.
Evil is the result of sin, caused by the corruption of man. To answer this problem, he developed a theodicy that does not put the blame on God for the existence of evil. According to Augustine, God created everything good (based on Genesis 1). If that is so, then evil comes from the corruption of the original substance. This came as the result of the Fall. Man abused the will that has been given to him by God. Everything that has been corrupted has nothing good in it. With this argument, evil, therefore, cannot come from God. Evil is the result of sin, caused by the corruption of man.
The comfort is in the fact that there is Someone who understands suffering and is capable of rescuing His people from it. What then is the comfort in the midst of suffering? Though evil does not originate from God no one can deny the fact that it exists. The comfort is in the fact that there is Someone who understands suffering and is capable of rescuing His people from it. The greatest comfort in the world is that Jesus, God incarnate, suffered the most horrific evil on the cross for the salvation of man, for a bigger purpose, and for the greater glory of the Father.
F U N PAGE
BIBLE EUPHEMISMS M A FI A E S CA S IN A S
e use (a) euphemism to substitute what might think an offensive or harsh word/phrase. We use euphemism all the time like “passed away” instead of “died”, and so did the authors in the Bible. From Rob J. Hyndman’s blog, MUSINGS, he gives us examples of some of them concerning toilets, body parts, deaths, and -ahem- the act of “making love”.
Toilets Excretion was sometimes referred to as “covering one’s feet” (e.g., Judges 3:24 KJV; 1 Sam 24:3 KJV) because the act of squatting meant your clothing covered the feet. Bible translators sometimes replace this euphemism with a more modern euphemism for excretion. Even the ESV uses “relieving himself” in these examples. A similar phrase was used by Elijah when mocking Baal as someone who had “stepped out for a moment (1 Kings 18:27 NET). Again, the ESV uses “relieving himself”. The people of Jerusalem are told they would drink the “water of their feet” (2 Kings 18:27 and Isa 36:12) meaning their urine. *The author could find no translation that rendered this one literally. 16
Death In place of death we read of people “returning to the ground” (Gen 3:19), “going to their fathers in peace” (Gen 15:15), “gathered to their people” (Gen 49:29), “going the way of all the earth” (Josh 23:14), “going down to the grave” (1 Kings 2:6), “sleeping with their fathers” (1 Kings 1:21), “departing” (Phil 1:23), “breathing their last” (Luke 23:46) or simply being “asleep” (1 Thess 4:13-14). Of course, the euphemism of sleep is particularly appropriate for people who will be resurrected back to life and is used frequently (e.g., Psa 13:3; Dan. 12:2; John. 11:11; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:51; 1 Thess. 5:10).
Sex It was referred that the meaning of the word, “know” meaning “have sex with” (e.g., 1 Kings 1:4). Other sexual euphemisms are “uncovering someone’s nakedness” (e.g., Lev 18:6), “approach” (Lev 18:14), “lie with” (Lev 18:22), “come near” (Gen 20:4), “go in to” (2 Sam 16:21), “touch” (1 Cor 7:1 KJV), and “come together” (1 Cor 7:5). Sexual immorality is described using a food euphemism in Proverbs 30:20 “she eats and wipes her mouth”.
Body Parts The feet seem to have often been used for genitals. Another example is Isaiah 7:20 where the “hair of the feet” is pubic hair (as given in the NET). This is translated as “private parts” in the NIV — another modern euphemism. Similarly, Deut 28:57 describes a woman and “the afterbirth that comes out from between her feet” and Ezek 16:25 describes Israel as a woman who “spreads her feet”
to any passerby (although the ESV says “offering herself”). The thigh was sometimes used for the genitals, as when swearing an oath by placing the hand “under someone’s thigh” (Gen 24:2; 47:29). It seems that the custom was to grasp the penis or testes; there are many references to similar practices in the Middle East from ancient times and even recently. Our word “testify” is apparently based on this practice. References to male genitalia seem to have been particularly difficult. Another euphemism was “flesh” (Ezek 23:20 KJV), translated “genitals” in the NIV and “members” (a modern euphemism) in the ESV. Still another was “his secrets” (Deut 25:11 KJV).
DO YOU MIND!? I’M COVERING MY FEET HERE!!
Female genitalia are mentioned less frequently but are also referred to euphemisitically as her “fountain” (Lev 20:18), “the place of the breaking forth of children” (Hos 13:13 KJV). Euphemisms for a woman’s menstrual flow include “flowers” (Lev 15:33 KJV) and “the way of women” (Genesis 18:11; 31:35). Just a little advice though, there are still a lot of euphemisms that can be found in the Bible, and it is best if we are careful in reading them. Sometimes translations tend to stick closely to the meaning of the words rather than the meaning of the phrase. For more euphemisms, visit Rob J. Hyndman’s blog at robjhyndman.com/musings/euphemisms/
Would you like to get news and updates from Shekinah? Go online! facebook.com/Shekinah.UB twitter.com/ShekinahUB 17
Take a swing at our issue’s crossword. If you’re familiar with what’s going at the Belt, this puzzle should be cinch for you.
HENDR E X V IL L A
The theme of this year’s SCMI Youth Camp
Righteous God. Righteous _____.
The yearly publication of Shekinah Christian Church, University Belt
How old is Shekinah as of this year?
Its mission is to share God’s love to all people.
“What If?” A Musical
A character of God
The theme of last year’s Christmas party
The venue of this year’s Worker’s Convention
The venue of this year’s SCMI Youth Camp The venue of the 2nd SCMI Youth Conference.
DE VOT ION A L
WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE?
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” MICAH 6:8 ESV
PAOLO G U IC HO G O
PA S S AGE FOR F U T HER S T U DY Micah 1-7
he prophecy of Micah reflects a terrible time in the history of Israel. Leaders in high places practiced corruption and violence, while priests and prophets preached overindulgence. Common men were against each other, and it was worst for those marginalized in society. The turmoil was so serious that people were estranged from each other, and from God. Since they were faithful in their rituals and offerings, some of which were extravagant to the point of absurdity (as they also sacrificed their children), they believed that God was always on their side—that God would never punish them. They worshipped to get to God’s good side, so that they may share in God’s blessings. However, their worship only offended God as they were empty, and it only justified their evil deeds. Though the prophecy was addressed to them, the reality of empty worship (6:6-7) on one hand, and true worship that God demands on the other (6:8) are still realities today. True worship is not simply the raising of hands and voices from the pews on
Sundays. True worship should manifest the basic requirements of God. And what does the Lord require? Christians should be just towards others and treat them fairly, for the Lord is righteous. They should be compassionate especially towards the needy, for the Lord is merciful and gracious. Finally, they should be faithful to Him as He is God and they are His servants. If they persist in these things, they bring most glory to God, and that is essence of worship.
Reflection Are you a real or not-real worshiper of God? Does your life and worship comply with what the Lord requires? If you are guilty of such sin, there is hope. Micah ends his prophesy with the question, “Who is like You God?”, because only He readily forgives sins despite how serious they maybe. However, more than mere lip service, true repentance manifests change. 19
SHEKINAH CHRISTIAN CHURCH UNIVERSITY BELT 2nd Floor RBJ Building 880 R. Papa Extension, Sampaloc, Manila 1008 P.O. Box 213 Greenhills, San Juan 1502 735 5783; 493 4762 | email@example.com