An Open Letter to all those who helped and attended PUSH

Pray until something happens (PUSH) is a quarterly activity that we have in our ministry. This is a time where we join in corporate prayer to pray for different concerns within the ministry, church and even personal matters. This is an open letter to all those who helped and attend PUSH last Saturday.

Pray Until Something Happens

It is always a joy for me to see people serving the Lord. When I saw everyone together and united in preparing for PUSH last Thursday, I was already overjoyed. You guys showed your dedication and love for the ministry God had trusted to you. Despite your busy schedule in work, you all came to serve Him on a weekday. All your efforts and hard work paid off last Saturday. Everyone was blessed and had a wonderful time praying and worshiping God – I know God was glorified that day.

PUSH John17:21

To the Production team:

I know it is not easy preparing the backdrop. Ever since you’ve started to design the stage it has always looked wonderful. The backdrop in our Love, Sex and Dating series was amazing! Moreover, the backdrop that you have created for PUSH was amazing as well. Cutting the tree was no easy task but the output was a sight to see. I pray that you guys will never get tired of creating wonderful designs and backdrops for His glory alone.

 

PUSH-prayer-team

To the Prayer team:

You guys did a heck of a job thinking about the program and helping out in the preparations of the event. I see the bond that you guys have for each other, and you treat one another as a family – Praise the Lord for that. I know it was nerve-racking for those who went up stage just to facilitate the prayer, but I thank you for challenging yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone. I know everyone in the prayer team contributed to this. You were all united, and your unity made a big impact in this event. Pray is a vital part of the ministry. I want to say thank you for always covering us with prayers and reminding us to continue to pray and push on. May you never get tired of praying and seeking the Lord in prayer.

 

Push

To the Worship Team:

I was expecting only four songs, but you guys stretched yourselves to play for more. Thank you for pushing yourselves and serving us through the talents that Lord has given you. How I still long to play and make music with everyone, that desire for me to play for the Lord is still there but I know I need to give this up for something greater. However, I know as well that I am letting this go because all of you are already well capable enough. Practice hard and continue developing the talents you have.

 

To others who have helped out in the event:

I may not be able to thank everyone, but the Lord sees the work that you have done – great is your reward in heaven. The audience is only one. He sees your heart and your service.

 

People Praying

To all those who attended:

A lot will be happening in the ministry for the next couple of months. Can I just continue to encourage everyone to pray for this ministry? Pray for the Retreat this coming August. May the Lord bring in a harvest that will be discipled and grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray for the leaders of this ministry. May they be sensitive to the leading of the Lord and be protected from attacks physically and emotionally. Pray for the different clusters within the ministry that they will be faithful to the responsibility that they have and always serve the Lord with gladness of heart. And lastly, let’s pray for one another. Let’s pray that we will always be united in our love because of Jesus Christ. Let’s not neglect fellowship every Saturday. Let’s follow the model of the early church before.

In Christ,
Marc

Marc Sorongon Speaking

Note from the author: The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit. Thank you to Noel Costes for the pictures.

Singleness Is A Blessing

Love, Sex and Dating

It’s important that we understand God’s amazing single design regarding our blessed singleness. We love to crack jokes about love and talk about it. Marriage has sometimes been a pursuit in life, but it is not just a means to an end in this single life.

We cannot get too caught up in Marriage. Yes, it is important but there are also other concerns we need to deal with ourselves. That’s why it’s important for us to establish a good foundation first regarding our singleness.

Being single happens only once whether it’s just a permanent or temporary state. It happens very fast and it happens to be a gift as well. Singleness is a Blessing.

For the majority, they will get married and it’s important to prepare for the journey towards that chapter. But for certain individuals God might have really blessed them to remain single – 1 Corinthians 7:1

7 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Paul said in verse 1 “which you wrote.” It seems the Corinthian church during that time had some questions to Paul about marriage and singleness. Not to touch a woman does not literally mean touch. He was referring to not having sexual relationship within marriage as he goes on verse 2

2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfil his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

During this time, Paul was writing to the Corinthian church in the City of Corinth. It was the chief city of Greece and was a large commercial city. Immorality was very rampant that it contained at least 12 temples and one of those temples is dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The worshipers of this temple practiced religious prostitution. Immorality was widely known in Corinth that they used the Greek verb “to Corinthianize” meaning “to practice sexual immorality.

That’s why Paul addresses this concern in Chapter 6. Paul was saying so you will not be vulnerable to temptations due to the environment around you, get married There will still be a temptation even if you are married that’s why married people should fulfil their role sexually.

6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command. 7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.

Paul is saying being married is not above staying single. Not an absolute command to marry. Not an absolute command to stay single. Being single is not “sub” or “super” spiritual since both marital statuses are a gift from God. Each man has his own gift as Paul said in verse 7. So don’t frown if you are permanently going to be single. It is a gift. A blessing!

Paul goes on with Chapter 7 and discusses some issues and then he addresses “singles” in verse 25.

25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.

Looking at the word virgin, Paul was referring to the unmarried ones.

When he said, “I have no command,” he is not saying here that his words are of human opinion. All scripture is inspired by God. Every word and sentence are divinely inspired and breathe in by God as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16.

What Paul was saying is while he was writing his letter, there was no divine revelation yet regarding this matter. But as He started to write then God used his mind, vocabulary and experience to produce His own perfect, infallible and inerrant word. Paul’s word is from the Lord and someone trustworthily inspired.

So this was Paul used by God to speak His words clearly why at this single time of your life you should secure an undivided attention to the Lord.

26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress that it is good for a man to remain as he is.

The first reason Paul is advocating remaining single because of the present distress. What could be that the present distress?

Could it be the condition of the church, since there was sexual immorality? That doesn’t make sense because Paul was saying in verse 2 to 5 to get married because of this sin! So what can be the “present distress?”

It was not  specified what the present distress might be but as we look in verse 27 to 28, we will understand more what Paul was saying.

27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.

Life in other translations is “flesh” or it’s our human nature with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions, or simply to say being a human being. On the other hand, “trouble” is pressure.

It could have been that Paul was saying because of the present distress, which even us believers are already having a hard time with – battling temptations of sexual immorality,  our frailties as human beings – it is already hard enough for us to live in this world as a godly individual.

What more the pressure of trying to help someone and being responsible for another person due to marriage?

But despite the “trouble” or dealing with your flesh do not think that the easiest way out is to be released from your spouse.

Despite the possible conflicts and “troubles” due to imperfect people being united as one in marriage, – do not seek to be released. That’s why if you don’t have a spouse. Paul was saying don’t look for one.

But again as he said in verse 28, it doesn’t mean that when you look for a spouse and get married you have sinned.

It could have also been Paul saying I am trying to spare you from trouble in life. Referring to the hardships you will encounter when you are face persecution and married.

Persecution during that time was not verbal, it was physical. It meant your life in danger.

That’s why if you do not want to face the pressure (it will come naturally if you have a family) of thinking about your spouse and children when persecution comes then don’t get married.

Your wife will be in danger along with your children once persecution comes. Even if your spouse and children are from death and you weren’t, they would feel the pain of losing someone.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

Time has been shortened doesn’t mean it has been reduced from 24 hours to 23.98 hours. It means the brevity of life. The shortness of Life which is nothing in comparison to eternity

As though they had none – not saying disregard your marriage but make the most out of your time serving the Lord even in marriage

It is also not saying you are not to have emotions, but not do not lose sight of your eternal perspective. Mourn, weep or wail but do not lose your eternal perspective. Despite persecution or even death that lurks – know yours and your brother’s and sister’s eternal destination. Rejoice, be glad or joyful. Rejoice and be happy here on earth but do not cling on too much of what the world is offering. Buy what you need but do not think you will own it forever since whatever you buy here on here will not be with you in eternity. Do not hold on to material possesses.

Why? It’s in verse 31. For the form of this world is passing away.

32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

Lastly, Paul wants us just to be free from concern. There are certain specific responsibilities within marriage. Being a single allows you to secure undistracted devotion to Him. Here is a video from Ben Stuart found in desiring God as he discusses why securing undistracted devotion to the Lord is important during your season of being single.

 

Now I ask you the same question: have you secured that undivided devotion to Him?

Have you maximized your time fully to know the Lord and have a deep intimate relationship with Him? Do you have a regular and intimate, quiet time with the Lord? Do you make time to go to Bible Studies and be in fellowship with other believers? We have a singles fellowship every Saturday – to help singles fellowship with one another and grow in listening to God’s word

Have you applied what you have learned and continue to grow in the area of serving others? Have you taken the call to lead a discipleship group and took on the call of the great commission? Have you experienced the joy of serving in ministry according to the talents and gifts the Lord has given you?

I have always encouraged singles to serve! Because I know now is the time where you have the opportunity to give that undivided attention. No matter what you do, time will move forward. You will get easily tired and even at times cannot stay up late anymore.

Men, you will play a vital role in your family someday. If you are meant to be temporarily single, you need to make the most out of this time while single to prepare yourself for the next stage. Whatever you do men, you are called to lead. If you want to embrace the role God has set for you – you are meant to lead your family. Why not learn how to lead by example right now by serving in ministry and hopefully lead a cluster or group. Or better yet, lead your own discipleship group.

Now is the time, friends. God wants you fully to embrace your singleness and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord. Now is the time to be blessed while single and maximize your time without any responsibility from marriage. Devote it to the Lord.

I just want to share this to you, back then while I was in my late teens I wrote my goals before I reach 25. I remember what I wrote:

  • Get married
  • Have a big house
  • Own a business

These things are not bad. But I as walked with the Lord, I realize there are important things to put my focus into and that is to serve him at this time – at this moment! I see my friends getting engage, some very relax enjoying life and others traveling. When I look back at what I have given up, sometimes I wonder – what if. But despite everything else, it was all worth it! There is a cost if you want to follow Jesus. But seeing people getting to know the Lord and being changed by God is worth it. It’s worth it!

If ever, I walk down that aisle when I get married I want to be able to say – “Man, my single life was fully undivided for the Lord – now is another chapter and I embrace it!”

Do you want to be able to say the same?

Leave a comment below and share to us what are other ways you can secure that undivided attention to the Lord. God bless!

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in B1G South Connect entitled “The Amazing Single Design”. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

What is the essence of fellowship?

I would like to start by going through Acts 2:42 because this is where we see the start of the church and fellowship.

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 

After Peter’s astounding preaching in Acts 2, that three thousand people received Jesus Christ and were baptized. Starting with this huge number is mind blowing. We’re talking about 3,000 people who are just beginning with their faith; they most probably still have a lot of issues and concerns that they are dealing. They need to devote themselves to hearing sound doctrine, regular fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer in order to keep the faith and grow. When verse 41 mentioned the breaking of bread, it was probably meeting on a regular basis with food. Although it was not just to eat food and be merry, breaking of bread is part of the Lord’s Supper and thus, they were continually meeting with food on the table and having the Lord supper to remind them of what their Saviour has done. This is part of fellowship

Small Group FellowshipWhat is fellowship? When we talk about fellowship it can mean association with people who share the same interest. We can be in fellowship because we have the same hobbies, we like to eat the same food, or we play the same sports. When we talk about Christians who fellowship though, there is only one common interest that should unite us together and that is Christ. The early church modelled that fellowship. After their conversion, they gave their devotion first to listen to the apostle’s teaching. They spent time listening and studying about Christ because they were in fellowship, desiring the same thing – to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

The early church was also constantly discussing things of Christ and encouraging one another.  While they were devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching they were most probably in constant communication about the things they are learning. They just don’t listen to the message and then go and do their own thing. When you would read verse 42 it says “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship. Having healthy and facilitated discussions about the word of God is part of a fellowship. It is part of growth. If we are united about “one” thing wouldn’t it just be best to discuss that “one” thing always? If there is a group that loves photography, wouldn’t it be part of their culture to discuss photography? It would be weird to have a photography group and in fellowship, talk about video games? That doesn’t seem right. It’s the same when we are to be in fellowship with other believers, one indication that we are in true fellowship is when we gather together as a group and discuss Christ – what He has done for us, what He is teaching us, how are we getting to know Him more, etc.

One area that we need to develop in our fellowship with men and women of Christ is prayer.  We go to activities that happen within the premises of our church building but when it’s time to have a prayer meeting do we have the same excitement? I believe this is a crucial discipline we need to instil in our fellowship. Prayer should unify us since we are coming together to seek Christ and in prayer, reaching out to Him together. It’s amazing to see a group of believers gathered together in their knees for prayer. In that moment of group desperation, God is glorified because of unity in Christ. Think about it. If you would see a multitude praying to reach out to the lost, they are in fellowship. They share the same battle cry, praying to their Lord and acknowledging that they cannot do this task without divine guidance and help. That’s a powerful sight to see.

My desire for the B1G South ministry is this fellowship. That’s why we have weekly fellowship for singles every Saturday at 6pm. It is to be in fellowship. Aside from being part of a small group fellowship, big group fellowship is also encouraged. Oh, how I desire that I grow together with these individuals as we study God’s word and encourage one another every week. It’s only once a week, it’s not even as regular as the early church which was meeting daily.

I know life can get busy. Believe me when I say, I understand that part of life right now.  Despite our schedule though, I pray that we will not neglect to be in fellowship with other believers. The true essence of fellowship is Christ. He unites us and we gather because of Him. If you want to be in fellowship with other singles, may I just invite you to attend our service every Saturday? If you are interested, just leave a comment below.

The grace of the Lord keep you and sustain you as we wait patiently for His coming. God bless you!

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