Beyond the Series: A Better Place Than We Deserve

Beyond the Series: A Better Place Than We Deserve

“We are always in a better place than we deserve.” — In this article, Dr. Nixon Ng talks about the book of Romans and how the truths from this book continue to make an impact on his life and humble him each day.

 

Why are we doing a book study on Romans called The Gospel Explained? How can we specifically put the truths from this book into practice?

The book of Romans is very relevant, especially in our time right now. It was written to a people whose situations were not different from ours. They were experiencing sporadic persecution, and there was so much uncertainty in their future. It was in the midst of those challenges and difficulties that Paul wrote the book of Romans. It was the deep theology in this book that undergirded the practical wisdom of the Christians at that time.

The good thing about the book of Romans is it answers the big questions in life: the question of the depravity of man—his boastfulness and self-righteousness. If we think about it, the difficulties and trials we experience actually bring out who we are. Fundamentally, our issue is self-righteousness. It is expressed in different ways in different generations, but the issue is still the same. We feel that we are better than others, just like the Jews back then who looked down on the Gentiles because they didn’t practice the same things they did. When people don’t think the way we do or don’t have the same political persuasion that we do, we tend to think that they are lesser than us. But why do we think that way, when everything that we are and everything that we have is only by the grace of God? Though we were sinners and undeserving, there’s a God who justified us and made us righteous. That’s what this book is about.

 

What does it mean to be made righteous by God? Why is it important to understand this truth?

Justify is the verb form of righteousness. It means not just forgiven; it means as if we’ve never sinned.

We were justified because God did something. Though we are undeserving, Christ died on the cross for us—the propitiation was made through His blood. Jesus came and offered Himself as a sacrifice on our behalf. God’s wrath was never held back. It was fully vented but on Christ, not on us. 

When we begin to understand that it was God who made a way for us to be justified—in spite of our weaknesses and frailties—we can’t look to Him and boast. We are put in a disposition of humility. It’s always by the grace of God that we are in a better place than we deserve. Knowing that God sent His Son to die for us to redeem us, propitiate our sins, and demonstrate His justice humbles us.

Understanding that it was God who justified us also frees us from condemnation. Sin has the power to destroy and condemn us; that’s why some of us feel hopeless and depressed. But knowing that God has made us righteous and paid for our sins frees us from those feelings. There is no place for sadness because God has already lifted us up. It brings us back to humility without condemnation and self-judgment.

 

How did the knowledge of your righteousness in Christ change the way you live? How does having a right relationship with God help us face difficult situations in life?

The knowledge of my righteousness in Christ has helped me become gracious with people, especially in their failings. When we talk about failure, I am at the top of the heap. I deserve nothing that I have and even merit to die—yet here I am. When I remember that, it helps me pastor others; it helps me help them. That’s the most fundamental change. Though I still fall into judging others, when I remember what God has done for me, it makes me see things differently. It takes away entitlement, and I’m left with nothing but gratitude that I’m in a better place. I don’t care where God puts me; I’m just glad that I can do His work and serve. It humbles me every day. 

When God justified us, He didn’t just forgive us or take us out of sin; He also gave us purpose. Everything that happens to us now becomes purposeful. In Romans, we are reminded that we can rejoice in suffering because we have peace with God. Our suffering is no longer punitive but formative. Before, people were afraid of suffering because they thought it’s a punishment for sin. But now, we know that when we suffer, our character is formed. The word “suffer” in its original form means “to put pressure.” When there’s enough pressure on us, endurance is produced—endurance which produces character, and character which produces hope. After things are strengthened by God and we are tested, we can fulfill our purpose and rejoice in our future hope in Him.

 

Truly, there is nothing that we can boast about because God has done everything for us. As we continue to seek Him, may we always remember the truths from the book of Romans and walk in gratitude and humility.

 

Dr. Nixon Ng is the director of the Every Nation Leadership Institute and also serves as a pastor in Victory Pasay. He and his wife, Eva, have four children: Nikko, Elijah, Nikki, and Nathanya.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: The Joys and Challenges of Fatherhood and Parenting

Beyond the Series: The Joys and Challenges of Fatherhood and Parenting

Being a father is a gift, a serious responsibility, and a rewarding experience. In this article, Bishop Manny Carlos talks about the joys, challenges, and life lessons that go along with fatherhood and parenting.

 

A Joy-Filled Responsibility 

When I learned about my wife’s pregnancy with our eldest child, I felt a quiet sense of joy and gratefulness to God. I felt a profound sense of gratitude that God made us parents. Looking back, we were happy and content as husband and wife. But when each of our children came into our family, we could no longer imagine what it’s like without them. It’s a miracle that they came into our lives.

Children are gifts from God, and we have a responsibility to raise them up according to God’s ways. Sometimes, people get traumatized because of their experiences growing up, but being a parent is not something to be afraid of. It’s not going to be easy, but we don’t have to figure things out ourselves. Being part of a church community helps us learn from one another. There are so many people we can talk to who have children, and there are pastors and mentors who can help us along the way.

A Challenging Journey 

Children are fragile. They’re dependent on us for so many things. In raising our kids, there are different stages that we have to navigate as parents.

The first stage (ages 0–6) involves bringing security to them by establishing authority in their lives. We need to set up boundaries to protect them. According to Ted Tripp in his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, there are two things that are at work when we raise our children: the shaping influences and the Godward orientation. The first one is what we do as parents through how we nurture and discipline them. The second one, on the other hand, is something we can’t do. It’s only God who can work in the hearts of our children.

As parents, we need to instill discipline not to hurt them but to make them realize that they can’t go beyond their boundaries. It brings security when they know that there’s a safe place and an unsafe place for them. Our goal as parents is to gradually give them freedom—to make them more independent of us and more dependent on God.

The second stage (ages 6–12) is called the learning phase. In this stage, the brain development of children is at its peak: their learning is accelerated, they’re very curious, and they ask a lot of questions. Every child has an innate desire to learn at this stage.

When my wife, Minnie, and I became parents, we wanted to be somewhat involved in the education of our children. We didn’t want to just put our children in school; we wanted to be their teachers. We wanted to make sure that they get the education they need, learn godly values, and develop a love for learning. The different stages in the lives of our children require us to emphasize certain things. If we fail to establish discipline and nurture their learning early on, it will be hard to catch up and make up for lost ground. We have to maximize our time with them.

By the time our children reach their teenage years, everything becomes different. In this stage, they don’t always want to be with us. They want to be more independent, assert themselves, and be with friends. We can’t simply tell them yes or no. We have to reason with them. And at this phase, I think what is more concerning is the influence of social media. It has crept up quickly on us, and though it has its benefits, it’s challenging to set the proper boundaries. A lot of young people now are addicted to games and social apps.

Later on, when our children become young adults and graduate, the nature of our relationship with them will also change. We have to start giving them responsibilities. Every stage of their growth entails new opportunities—for them to mature and develop—and new challenges that will affect our relationship with them and their relationship with God.

A Humbling Experience 

When I became a parent, I learned that every child is unique, and I should be sensitive to that uniqueness. Children have different giftings, passions, and discipline issues. When they get older, it’s important that we interact and connect with them individually. We have to parent them, be a father to them, and be sensitive to their needs.

The physical and emotional presence of a father is also crucial in raising a family. My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and I am grateful for her sacrifice, but my presence at home as a father is also vital. Whenever I come home from work, I have to be emotionally present and engage my children in conversation.

As parents, giving words of encouragement and affirmation to our children is important. As it says in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Now that a lot of young people are battling with depression, it’s important that we nurture our relationship with our children and help them discover their purpose in God. Part of parenting is helping them discern what God wants them to do with their lives.

Like what Pastor Steve Murrell always says, “Parenting never ends.” There is a part of us that will always worry about their future—no matter how old they are. We will always want to help them and make sure their paths are righteous. It is fulfilling and humbling at the same time because of the lessons that we learn along the way as parents. Though we may fail at times, it is important that we always look to God, our heavenly Father, and allow His grace to step in and fill the gap.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

 

Bishop Manny Carlos is the chairman of Victory. He serves on the Bishops Council of Every Nation Philippines and preaches at Victory Katipunan. He has been married to Mini for 26 years, and they have four children: Jeremy (24), Daniel (22), Hannah (19), and Samuel (18).

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews on topics related to our sermon series. In our previous article, we also interviewed Bishop Manny’s wife, Minnie Carlos, about motherhood and parenting. Click here to read her interview.

Beyond the Series: What is the Holy Spirit teaching us in this crisis?

Beyond the Series: What is the Holy Spirit teaching us in this crisis?

When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, faith is built up in our lives. We get a sense of what God is doing and about to do. As we continue to face this crisis, let us take time to pause and reflect on what the Holy Spirit is teaching us in this season. 

To know more about the Holy Spirit, here is our interview with Pastor Raymond de Guzman, our senior pastor in Victory Katipunan.

 

Who is the Holy Spirit? 
I came to know the Lord in a deeper way through the Holy Spirit. On the day I got saved in 1988, I experienced God like never before. I felt the Holy Spirit strengthen and empower me.

The Holy Spirit is a Person, not a force or an influence. He is the third person in the Trinity. According to R.A. Torrey, “If we think of the Holy Spirit as merely a power or influence, our thought will be, ‘How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?’ But if we think of Him in a biblical way as a divine Person, our thought will rather be, ‘How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?’” That was one revelation I got on the day I got saved. The thought that the God of the universe lives in me—and is ready to use me—is simply humbling and overwhelming.

The Holy Spirit is a Helper; He was sent to be with us forever (John 14:16,17). It’s a comforting thought, especially to the disciples at that time who, for several years, walked with Jesus on earth. Before leaving, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to them, so that with Him, they can do greater works. In the same way, with the Holy Spirit, we can do even greater things.

The Holy Spirit is a Counselor—which means He will come alongside every believer. His Spirit is with us, just like how Jesus was with His disciples when He was doing ministry on earth 2,000 years ago. The Spirit that empowered the ministry of Moses and Elijah during their time is the same Spirit that is with us today.

 

How do we know if the Holy Spirit is in us?
We know that He is in us because we know what our condition was like before. We were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1,4) and unable to receive the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). We were in what Paul calls the “mind of the flesh,” which is not able to submit to God or please God (Romans 8:7,8). When that is reversed and we become spiritually alive, that’s when we know that He is in us.

When God reveals His word to us, it is inspired by the Spirit. One way that we know that the Holy Spirit is in us is if we have faith in His word and believe that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:1).

A few years back, we had a tree in our backyard, and it was without leaves or fruits; it looked like a dying tree. But one day, its leaves came out and it bore fruit. That’s how we found out what kind of tree it was. In the same way, we know that we have the Holy Spirit if we possess its fruit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

In the first outpouring of the Spirit, people spoke in other tongues, preached the gospel, prophesied, and performed miracles. Another way that we know that the Holy Spirit is in us is when the gifts are manifested in our lives (1 Corinthians 12:7–11).

 

What is the Holy Spirit teaching us this season?
Because of the pandemic, most of us are weakening in our faith; we get discouraged and anxious. But if we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, our faith is built up. We have a direct line to God through the Spirit. Even if everything seems uncertain, God will reveal to us through His Spirit what He wants us to do in this season.

It is one thing, however, to know what God is revealing to us and another thing to obey what He is telling us to do. Just like in the book of Acts, before they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were in prayer: united, extending forgiveness, and preparing their hearts before God. They were in the right posture to receive and obey all that God was telling them to do. I think it is very important for us as Christians in this hour to hear and obey what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to us. There is a divine imprint that he is putting in our hearts in this season.

I’m in faith that the harvest God will bring is great; that’s why He’s preparing us. He’s making us more patient—allowing endurance to be developed in us—because when there’s endurance, character is formed. He’s preparing us for the next great thing that He’s about to do in and through us.

We easily get discouraged when our minds are set on what is happening. But when our minds are set on what the Spirit desires and is about to do, we are filled with life, encouragement, and hope. This pause is given to us by God for a reason. He is setting new rhythms and new priorities in us. This pandemic may be unprecedented but so is the number of people who, I believe, will soon come to Him. It will overwhelm us.

 

Pastor Raymond de Guzman is our senior pastor in Victory Katipunan. He is married to Malou and has two children: Daniel and Allison.

Beyond the Series: Musings on Motherhood and Parenting

Beyond the Series: Musings on Motherhood and Parenting

Motherhood is a long road that continues even when the children are old and have their own families. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, here are some valuable insights on motherhood and parenting from Minnie Carlos, the wife of Bishop Manny Carlos. She is a mother of four children: Jeremy (24), Daniel (22), Hannah (19), and Samuel (18). 

 

LASTING MEMORIES

Though I only had a few memories with my mother, each memory has remained precious to me. When I was very young, my parents separated. Even if my mother and I weren’t together for many years, she would always make an effort to visit us and write long letters to me and my siblings.

When I got married and started to have my own family, I decided to visit my mother in the province. I went there with my husband, Manny, and my firstborn son, Jeremy. It was something I had been wanting to do for years. It was a priceless trip that brought my mother so much joy.

My mother was soft-spoken, kind, gentle, nurturing, and gifted in music. She imparted many good things to me about motherhood. I believe my journey as a mother began with her good example. When she passed away a few years ago, I realized how much of a great influence she had been to me and my children. I miss her, and I will always be thankful for the time we had together.

THE CALL TO STEWARDSHIP

For me, being a mother means taking on an important role. It means responding to a call entrusted by God. As a mother, I understand that I am co-laboring with God in raising my children; He is first and foremost a Father to them before I am their parent. They are ultimately His children. God calls me to show and represent the love and commitment that He has for them.

If I am to be the kind of mother God wants me to be, I need to know the truth about God and how he relates to us—His children. My relationship with God is going to be a reflection of my relationship with my children. God loves us unconditionally, provides for all our needs, protects us from harm, cares about us deeply, disciplines us with love, and has a unique plan and purpose for each one of us. Knowing God’s heart for us, His people, enables me to raise my children in a way that will please Him and bring honor to His name.

MUCH IS TAUGHT AND CAUGHT

Coming from a broken home, I was eager to learn about what the Bible said about marriage and parenting. I always looked forward to attending parenting seminars and reading books that would equip me as a parent. While I learned the basic principles from these materials, I also learned much from observing good role models and mentors who were successful at parenting. I watched how they related to their children in the different stages of their children’s lives. It has been a privilege for me to have people in my life to look up to—couples we can talk to who can give godly counsel and advice. To this day, I’m grateful that Manny and I have people who walk with us as we navigate this journey of parenting.

In my own experience as a mother, I learned that it is always important to pray for my children and point them to God. I should teach them to love His word and hear His voice. I also learned that when I lift them up in prayer and declare God’s word over their lives, my prayers become powerful and effective.

A LEGACY OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE

I hope for my children to remember me as a woman who loves and fears God—whose life pleases Him and brings honor to His name. I want to be a good example to them, not just as a mother, but as a Christian who has taught and encouraged them to grow in their walk with God.

For me, these passages summarize what God is admonishing us to do as parents:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5–9

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

We should teach God’s word and commands to our children, train them in life, impart values that are Christ-centered, and discipline them with the end goal of restoring them to their relationship with God—and with us.

If we want to raise our children effectively, we have to be intentional in our parenting. Having good children does not happen by chance, as some would believe. It takes a lot of hard work to raise children who will follow God. When God tells us to do something, whether in our parenting or in our own personal lives, we should always respond in obedience. Parenting is a big responsibility which can be daunting, but God has given us clear guidelines on how to do it—and each of those guidelines, if followed, comes with a promise. One important promise from God is that those who honor their father and mother will live long in the land. This promise is for us, for our children, and for the generations after.

Mothers play a big role in our journey of knowing God and following Him. Their love and sacrifice give us a glimpse of His unconditional and unfailing love for us. Today and every day, let us honor them and celebrate their lives. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Minnie Carlos is the wife of Bishop Manny Carlos. They have been married for 25 years. They are blessed with four children: Jeremy, Daniel, Hannah, and Samuel. 

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: The Pains and Gains of Discipleship

Beyond the Series: The Pains and Gains of Discipleship

Helping someone in his or her walk with the Lord can be challenging but also rewarding. In this article, Pastor Joe Bonifacio encourages us to continue reaching out to people as he opens up about the pains and gains of discipleship.

 

The Pains in 4Es

Discipleship is not a walk in the park. There are pains associated with every part of the process, but these shouldn’t stop us from helping someone grow in faith and be empowered to lead. Here are some of the challenges as we engage, establish, equip, and empower someone.

ENGAGE: Whenever we try to engage someone with the gospel, the reality of being rejected is always there. The person we are trying to engage can always reject us or walk away from us, and that can hurt us or make us feel insecure.

ESTABLISH: Seeing believers struggle with pain or wrestle with biblical foundations can be painful. When a new believer’s passion wanes down or encounters trials, that person can get lost and won’t know what to do next. We know that this is normal, but watching someone struggle with sin is hard.

EQUIP: When we teach the people we are leading to be ready in doing the work of the ministry, a lot of times we have to help them see things from a biblical perspective. And that can be hard since they have their own mindset on how things are and should be.

EMPOWER: Empowering someone can be challenging and painful because we can’t always be there to help and guide them. A lot of times, the people we are empowering to lead doubt themselves and focus on the things they don’t know more than the things they are capable of doing.

 

The Rewards in Discipleship

While it is hard and can sometimes make us doubt ourselves or feel insecure, every opportunity is an opportunity to engage someone. And it’s never about us. It’s about God and how He is working in our lives.

When the first person I was leading walked away from God, I felt bad, rejected, and insecure. I felt I was a failure. But God dealt with my heart and made me realize that what I did was not for me but for Him.

Sometimes, the people we journey with walk away from us, but that doesn’t mean God would stop working in their lives. The time we spent and the seeds we planted were never put to waste because God could always use other people to continue the work that He started in that person’s life. That, in itself, is rewarding.

God made me realize that my goal is to see the people I’m leading have a deeper relationship with Him. Even if years from now I see them in a different group or attending a different location, as long as they are walking and growing with God, I will be grateful.

Discipleship is about seeing the other person flourish in his walk with God. Not being hurt or rejected is never the goal. The pains shouldn’t stop us from reaching out and sharing the good and amazing things that God is doing in our lives.

 

Pastor Joseph Bonifacio is the director of Every Nation Campus in the Philippines and also serves as a campus director and lead pastor in Victory Katipunan. He is happily married to Carla “Rica” Peralejo-Bonifacio, and they have two sons, Philip and Manu. Together, they are committed to reaching, training, and teaching the next generation.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Transformed by Grace

Beyond the Series: Transformed by Grace

God’s grace invites us into God’s family and enables us to live differently. It changes us from the inside out.

 

I was 14 years old when I received the gospel. I grew from a very insecure high-school boy into a purposeful young man in college because of God’s grace. Many years later, that grace carried me to where I am today to fulfill the calling that God has placed in my heart.

God’s grace transforms and dramatically changes our lives. When we begin to recognize who Jesus is and begin to trust in Him, a transformation begins.

Before I met Christ, I seemed very kind and cooperative, but all of that was actually driven by insecurity. And that’s the first thing that God dealt in my heart. He assured me that I am His child: He approves of me, and He is pleased with me. His grace made me realize that I do not have to work for the approval of other people nor fear failure. A lot of people today, even those who are very successful, struggle with these things because these are issues of identity that only God can heal. Nothing and no one in this world can make us secure nor heal our hearts.

When we begin to understand that we do not need to perform in order to gain approval or be liked by people, we start to stand up for what is right. And we also learn to forgive. When we do not understand God’s grace, it would be hard for us to forgive other people or ourselves. But God’s grace is able to forgive and heal us from our past, no matter how painful or big our sins are. His grace also enables us to love unconditionally. We don’t easily judge people, and we become more loving and accepting of everyone around us.

God’s transformational grace allowed me to pursue Him in a deeper way and have a greater sense of purpose. I began to take on life with new vigor after I received Christ. I went to college with extra inspiration and by His grace, strived to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. I approached relationships with loyalty knowing how loyal God has been to me in spite of my flaws. He brought me to that road of intensive transformation.

Now, I have a family of my own, but, I’m still very amazed at how much God has changed my life. And His grace didn’t stop with me. It transformed not just my heart but even the lives of those around me—my family and friends. It is my prayer that their lives will also be used by God to affect those around them.

God’s grace isn’t just about personal transformation; it’s about being personal witnesses of His grace. When God transforms our hearts, we become salt and light to those around us. And when we allow Him to use us, we get to advance His kingdom and help transform a portion of the world that sets off a series of things that affect other people and place a greater sense of purpose in their lives.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

 

Pastor Jon Naron serves as the director of Victory Provincial Churches, overseeing over 100 churches beyond Metro Manila, and is a member of the Every Nation Philippines Executive Team. Prior to that, he served as the senior pastor of Victory Imus. He is married to Let and has four children: Gabrielle, Kristianna, Albert, and Allyana.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Living Out the Gospel

Beyond the Series: Living Out the Gospel

Pastor Rico Ricafort of Victory Ortigas shares how we can live out the gospel and bring hope and healing to others.

 

How has the gospel ministered to you and transformed your life?

The gospel has transformed my life in every possible way. It gave me hope, purpose, and joy. It affected all of my relationships: the way I treat my family, my parents, my loved ones, my colleagues. It made me realize that I can live a life that is pleasing to God because I don’t have to struggle anymore to gain His favor. I already have His favor. I already have His grace.

The things I used to struggle with no longer had a hold on me. I was able to overcome them and walk in victory through God’s grace. Experiencing His grace changes the way we live; it empowers us and gives us a fresh start. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). His grace enables us to live a life of victory over sin, over our past, and over our weaknesses.

And when God forgives us, He doesn’t just cleanse us and give us the power to overcome sin; He also empowers us to advance His kingdom. When I received Jesus into my life, my entire family did as well. Being a Christian affects not just our lives but even the lives of the people around us.

 

How can we effectively communicate the gospel today? How can we bring hope and healing to others?

I think the best way to communicate the gospel is to live it out. We shouldn’t just preach the gospel; we should also show other people what it means to live for Christ. Proclamation and demonstration go hand in hand. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The grace that we have received is the same grace that we can extend to others.

Wherever we are, we can bring hope and healing to the people around us—especially those who are sick and running out of hope—by sharing how God has brought hope and healing into our lives. There’s a lot of negativity and pessimism out there, but we can always be an encouraging voice. We can always be the voice of faith that will remind people that God is for us, not against us. By encouraging others, we get a chance to point people to God, our true source of hope.

If we look at God’s eternal plan for us, we will realize that whatever we’re going through right now is just temporary; suffering is temporary. Even Jesus went through suffering, but because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), He endured the cross. We should be encouraged knowing that the grace that helped Him endure and overcome suffering is the same grace that He will give to us so we can overcome our hardships.

 

Our lives can be beautiful testimonies of God’s love and grace. Let us live out the gospel and extend the same love and grace to others.

 

Pastor Rico serves as the senior pastor of Victory Ortigas. He and his wife, Kitty, have been married for 13 years. They have three children: Alba, Maja, and Catya.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series:  A Journey with the Gospel

Beyond the Series: A Journey with the Gospel

In this video, Bishop Ferdie Cabiling narrates his journey with God and encourages us to preach the gospel and make disciples.

Bishop Ferdie is the director of Victory in Metro Manila. He oversees the leadership and growth of our church as a member of the Bishops’ Council of Victory.

He was an eighteen-year-old student at Adamson University when he heard the gospel and decided to follow Jesus. At a young age, he also helped people share their testimony and preach the good news to others.

He and his wife Judy have two children, Elle and Philip, and have been married for over twenty-five years. His wife serves in the church by making disciples and empowering leaders, especially women. His daughter, Elle, is now a full-time campus missionary who reaches out to students in Katipunan.

 

This video was initially part of Pastor Gilbert Foliente’s first-quarter report for 2019.

Beyond the Series: Embracing the Message of Christ

Beyond the Series: Embracing the Message of Christ

Why is Holy Week important? In this article, Pastor Noel Ojerio shares how we can embrace the message of Holy Week as we take time to reflect on Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

 

Why is Holy Week important to Christians?

Let’s define first what the Holy Week means. The Holy Week is the last week of Lent, which is a season where we observe the life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The story of Jesus is not man-made. It is factual, and it has had a great impact in the course of our history.

When we observe the Holy Week, we acknowledge the reality of Jesus’ life and ministry. More than just knowing the facts, we should take this chance to embrace the message it brings: Jesus Christ invites everyone to receive Him as their Lord and Savior.

To receive the gospel is to believe that Jesus Christ lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died. He took our place. He rose from the dead three days after, offering the gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins to anyone who repents and believes in Him.

As such, the Holy Week is a great opportunity for every Christian to minister the gospel to the world. Whenever Christ is made known or is even the object of holidays like Christmas, we should take advantage of the opportunity to share the good news.

 

What are some practical ways to honor God during the Holy Week?

Aside from strengthening our faith through reflection and meditation, we can also use the message of the Holy Week to reach out to our friends and family members. We can take time to gather them and help them understand the reason we observe the Holy Week—the gospel. We should not miss the point by treating this as just a vacation season. More than anything, the Holy Week is an opportunity for us to reflect on the life of Christ and the good news He brings to us.

 

May we all have a fresh appreciation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as we reflect on His life and sacrifice this Holy Week and continue to live in the salvation that He freely gives.

 

Pastor Noel Ojerio serves as the senior pastor of Victory in Caloocan. He has been married to Mary June for 26 years. They have five children—Nina, Nikka, Nikki, Natalie, and Noel.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Grace to Sacrifice

Beyond the Series: Grace to Sacrifice

Following Jesus requires denying ourselves and taking up our cross. In this article, Pastors CJ and Mye Nunag share their thoughts on how to embrace a life of obedience and sacrifice.

 

Was there a point in your life where you had to make a big sacrifice to follow God?

PASTOR CJ: Life, generally—in light of following Jesus—is comprised of making sacrifices. But these are not sacrifices caused by sin or disobedience. It’s just that, at some point, there are preferences that we have to let go of for the sake of following Christ.

Years ago, I shifted vocations to follow Jesus. Initially, the plan was for me to become a medical doctor. Everything had already been laid out, including the resources, but I decided to give that up when I was called to serve the Lord and do full-time ministry.

Even until now, there are still sacrifices that I make every day in order to follow Christ. (Like when God prompts me to give more, even after I have been faithful in giving.) But obviously, all of these pale in comparison to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. All of these are nothing compared to what He has done for us.

PASTOR MYE: Sometimes, we feel like we are making sacrifices because we are giving up the things that we want, but in reality, we are simply embracing what God wants for us.

There was a time in the past wherein, just like CJ, I thought I had it all figured out. I was supposed to go to law school when God started calling me to a different path.

Even before I became a Christian, I had always wanted to be part of a change in our nation. I thought the best way to do that was to help create laws for the betterment of our country. So I thought I could work in a government office as a lawyer. However, even if it was a noble desire, it wasn’t what God wanted me to do—He wanted me to do full-time ministry. I could have been successful pursuing that career, but I couldn’t have lived with the fact that I was not at the center of God’s will.

 

How do you continue to respond in faith when troubles come?

PASTOR CJ: We find the grace to sacrifice because our Savior sacrificed for us first. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like we’re making sacrifices anymore, because God is giving us so much grace to do it.

PASTOR MYE: Personally, knowing that God has gone ahead of me as I go through whatever situation gives me the strength to face it. I know I just have to move forward, trust Him, and hold on to His grace as I go to where He wants me to be. There will always be challenges when we follow Christ, but knowing that I’m at the center of His will keeps me grounded in faith.

PASTOR CJ: Responding in faith is really about moving forward and learning how to trust God despite difficult situations. So when there are things that I don’t understand, I take time to reflect and talk to people, confirm with scripture if possible, then take the next step even if things are still a bit vague. I take time to slow down if necessary, but I still continue moving forward.

PASTOR MYE: I guess, the more we move in faith and have a revelation of who God is, the more we become willing to sacrifice. We realize that there’s nothing we cannot lay down before His feet. There’s nothing we can’t give up for Him.

 

Indeed, there’s nothing better than following Christ and being at the center of His will. In the end, it is always worth it to live a life of obedience and faith.

 

Pastor CJ and Pastor Mye serve in our church in U-Belt. They have been married for fifteen years and have two children—Samuel and Elle.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

 

Beyond the Series:  Sharing the True Meaning of Christmas

Beyond the Series: Sharing the True Meaning of Christmas

Every year, families have reunions and traditions over the Christmas season. Knowing the reason for these makes it easier for us to welcome the season with excitement and pure joy. In this article, Judy Cabiling shares how she reinforces the true meaning of Christmas to her children through their cherished traditions at home.

 

What are your Christmas traditions in your family?

Most of our Christmas traditions at home have already changed over the years. They evolve as our kids grow. There were traditions that we used to do when our kids were still toddlers that we no longer do today because they do not serve their purpose anymore.

More than anything, it is very important that we know why we are doing what we are doing. Purpose always comes first. In our family, our purpose, right from the beginning, is to reinforce Christmas and celebrate family history. It is our goal to create pleasant memories with our children through the traditions that we do at home.

Currently, one of our family traditions is opening our home to people we have a history with—our friends, relatives, and coworkers in the ministry. Doing so enables us to spend time with the people that are close to our hearts and have been with us throughout the year.

Aside from hosting dinner or lunch for our friends, we also gather as a family and listen to Christmas stories after lighting the advent wreath candles. We know that with all the activities and responsibilities we have, individually, it is hard to gather as a family. So, during Christmas, we intentionally spend time together just to pray and be with each other.

 

How do you teach your children the true meaning of Christmas through the traditions that you do together as a family?

Aside from explaining things to our kids in a language that they understand, we also involve them in the traditions that we do at home. We want them to feel the excitement that this season brings, so we make sure that they are involved with all the preparations. Sometimes, it is hard for parents to involve their kids in the preparations (like cooking, cleaning, and decorating) because they tend to slow things down, but I personally believe that doing such allows them to get a sense of joy and anticipation each time we celebrate this season. After all, it is Christ’s birth that we are celebrating. It is a good reminder for them that Christmas is a joyous occasion because its true meaning lies not on what we are doing, but on who we are remembering.

 

Knowing the reason for this season changes a lot about how we celebrate Christmas. Even the traditions we do at home become meaningful because we know why we are doing what we are doing. Every little tradition becomes purposeful and serves as an opportunity for us to bring our families closer together and to God. May God’s presence be with you and your families as you celebrate Christ’s birth!

 

Judy Cabiling serves in Victory Ortigas and is the wife of Bishop Ferdie Cabiling. They have been married for twenty-seven years. They have two Children—Elizabeth and John Philip.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: A Generous Home

Beyond the Series: A Generous Home

Pastor Lee and Jiji Concepcion share how they honor God in their family and teach their children to walk in the path of generosity.

 

How do you manage your finances at home in a way that honors God?

It is always good for a couple to have the same values in terms of finances. With us, it was clear from the start that we will honor God with whatever blessings He will give us. Thus, tithing is very important to us. Though we started our new life together being in debt, we agreed to pay off everything and still put God first by faithfully giving our tithes. Eventually, this mindset helped us manage our finances better and allowed us to pay off our debts.

 

How do you involve each other in your day-to-day financial decisions?

We know that we always have to work within our budget. If there are financial decisions that we need to make, we always try to sleep on it first—whether big or small. We avoid making impulsive decisions by praying and allowing some time to give us the clarity we need.

In everything, there should also be an element of faith. So out of faith, we do not say “no” to each other, but we set proper priorities and weigh what is important to us as a family. Jiji does not say no to big purchases, but she always checks if they are in line with the values that we want to live by. Doing so keeps us in step with our priorities and budget.

 

How do you instill the value of tithing to your children?

We do not want to deprive our kids of the joy of giving, so we introduced tithing to them early on. Even before they understood what tithing was, we—as parents—were already setting aside their tithes for the gifts they had received.

It was also intentional, on our part, to make sure that our kids learn the value of generosity: to know that we can give because we have an unlimited God who provides abundantly. As such, when we have opportunities to help others, we allow our kids to take part. Whenever our household help presents needs for her family (tuition, home repairs, medical expenses), our kids are always the first ones to help. Sometimes, on their own, they also proactively give to the church through Real LIFE, our building projects, and missions.

Seeing our children live out the lessons we taught them gives us great joy. The amount they give might not make a big dent in the actual need, but the joy they experience from being a channel of God’s generosity is a reward in itself. After all, it is not the amount but the heart of generosity that counts.

 

Pastor Lee serves as lead pastor and executive pastor in Victory Pioneer, while Jiji serves as the chief operating officer of Victory and Every Nation Philippines. They have been married for seventeen years and are blessed with five children—Daniel, Ian, Luke, Sabrina, and Andrew.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Finding Purpose and Identity in God

Beyond the Series: Finding Purpose and Identity in God

Knowing that we were made in the image of God changes a lot about how we live our lives. In this article, Pastor Paolo Punzalan shares his thoughts on what it means to be created in God’s image and how we can find our real identity and purpose in the Lord.

 

What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

We were told in Genesis that we were created in His image and likeness. Human life has intrinsic value right from the beginning because we were created not in the image of the angels or any other created beings, but of God Himself.

God created everything else by His Word. But with man, He fashioned them with His very hands. He took mud from the ground with His bare hands and breathed life into man’s nostrils. That, in itself, shows how precious and valuable we are in His eyes.

 

How did the knowledge of God’s design change the way you live your life?

I was raised in a single-parent home. My parents separated before I turned one year old. I grew up without a father, and the first time I saw him was when I was sixteen years old. Because of this, I grew up with a lot of accusations, insecurities, and negative thoughts. I wondered if it was because of me that my parents separated; I questioned my value and worth. Wanting to make up for those feelings, I tried to gain people’s approval by performing well and excelling in athletics and academics. I had feared rejection so much that I became a people pleaser. I lived a life of performance.

But everything changed when I came to know Christ.

I was 17 when I encountered Him, but the understanding of His image in me was something that I had to learn over time. It was actually the growing knowledge of my salvation that helped me understand more who God created me to be. It was through Christ that I got to know God’s intent, purpose, and design for my life.

As God was redeeming and restoring me, I was also starting to find a greater sense of worth, value, and purpose—a greater sense of intentionality in living my life. I realized that I was called to demonstrate and express the glory of God because I was created in His image and likeness. As I live my life now, I make sure that I do it according to His design, purpose, and intent every single day.

 

How did you find God’s purpose for your life?

It all started with me wanting to get a sense of worth and value. When I was in college, my aim was to get a job that would give me a sense of significance in life, so I took up premedical studies. I wanted to be a neurosurgeon not because I wanted to help people, but because I wanted to get a greater sense of purpose. My identity was attached to that.

Since my late mother was in broadcast media, I grew up being referred to as “the son of Helen Vela.” Hoping to get away from that, I initially endeavored to find a job that would help me find my own niche—I wanted to make a name for myself.

But that wasn’t God’s plan; He was calling me to something else.

When my mom passed away, my sister and I had to take over our family’s production business. I could not go to medicine proper anymore. Somehow, I already knew at that time that I was being called to the ministry, but I still continued to help my sister run our business. I thought I would be happy and content to just serve and volunteer in church.

In 1997, however, I went to Russia as a volunteer missionary. God spoke to me during that trip and told me that my identity is not based on anything here on earth. Surprisingly, when I came back from Russia, I was asked to work full-time as a pastor. I could not say yes right away. There was a struggle because I was placing my purpose and identity in the wrong places. I then prayed to God and told myself that I would just try it for three months. Now, I have been a pastor for 11 years.

It has been more than a decade, but every day I make an effort to remind myself of the call and purpose that God has placed in my life—of my identity in the Lord.

We were all made in the image of God, by His design, and for a specific purpose. There is no need for us to look for our worth and value in other places. We can be secure in the knowledge that He fashioned us in His likeness and that we are His. Our identity can only be found in Him.

 

Pastor Paolo Punzalan serves as the senior pastor of Victory Fort. He is a former missionary to Russia and has been serving in full-time ministry as a Kids’ Church pastor and lead pastor for over a decade. He has been married to Jenn for 23 years. They have four children—Nathan, Janina, Ryan, and Joaquin.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Fulfilling God’s Mission

Beyond the Series: Fulfilling God’s Mission

For the past two weeks, we have been talking about God’s mission—His heartbeat. In this article, we have interviewed Pastor Carlo Ratilla about how he was called by God to go to the nations and serve in the mission field.

 

Being Called to the Mission Field

It was around October of 1984 when I knew in my heart that God was calling me to be a missionary. I was a new Christian when I was filled with so much love from God, and the passion to serve Him just swelled in my heart. At that time, I felt that the best way to serve Him was to reach out to young people like me.

I took a bold step by committing to preach the gospel without really knowing how to do it. All I had then was the desire to spread His Word. At first, I would just go with a friend, knock the door for him, and let him share the gospel. I would just sit beside him, watch him as he preached, and take notes so I would learn how to do it as well. Eventually, I learned the ropes, and God gave me the courage to boldly share His goodness. Afterward, I started knocking on our neighbors’ doors, riding buses, and doing mimes on the streets just to let people know about Jesus.

When I learned how to preach the gospel, the desire to go overseas to spread His Word grew in my heart. However, as a Cebuano who only knew how to speak Bisaya and Tagalog, it seemed like an impossible thing for me to do.

Knowing for sure that God was calling me to missions, I started learning how to speak the English language by engaging with foreign missionaries. I would always ask them to spend some time with me after dinner so they could teach me how to speak English. I continued to pray to God, and one day, God surprised me by giving me a permanent English tutor—a lifelong partner. He introduced me to Sandra, my wife, who helped me master the language so I could reach out to more people here and abroad. Soon, I found myself doing missions in Sweden, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the US. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve God and be used by Him in these countries.

 

Passing the Baton to Future Missionaries

After years of doing missions, I went back to the Philippines to focus on my family. At that time, I thought I was done serving Him in the nations. But God had a different plan.

One day, one of our pastors talked to me and asked me to serve as a discipleship pastor in one of our Metro Manila locations and eventually join the Missions Team. I prayed about it and trusted God that wherever He was leading me, He would use me mightily. I said yes to His call and since then, I have been mentoring young missionaries and their families. Seeing them grow in faith and go to the nations to spread the gospel made me realize that, indeed, I was not yet done serving the Lord through missions.

Being a missionary is a privilege and a big responsibility. I always remind those who have the heart to serve God in a cross-cultural setting to involve themselves in their local church as early as now and do whatever it takes to know the ins and outs of the ministry. I always tell them that even if things are not yet clear and we do not see the full picture yet, we should go in faith and allow the Lord to reveal His plans for us.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15

We are part of God’s mission and we are all invited to participate right from the very beginning. Let us continue to pray, give, and go as we do our part in spreading His glory throughout the earth through His church.

 

Pastor Carlo Ratilla serves in our Missions Team, ensuring the health and strength of our missionaries and churches. He has been married to Sandra for 30 years and continues to serve God with his children—Chloe and Justin.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Living a Spirit-Empowered Life

Beyond the Series: Living a Spirit-Empowered Life

For the past weeks, we have been talking about making room for the Holy Spirit in our lives. As we end our fast today, may we continue to seek the Holy Spirit in everything we do. We have interviewed Pastor Jojo Henson to encourage us to live by the Spirit every day.

What does a Spirit-empowered life look like?

There were three key words in Acts 1:4-8. The first one is wait, the second one is receive, and the third one is witness. I realized those three things–wait, receive, and witness–are a cycle of empowerment, because these three things are the ongoing practice that make up a Spirit-empowered life.

To wait is to “make room” in order to allow the Holy Spirit to empower and speak to us. To receive is to “be the room” for God’s power to move in and through our lives. And the last one, to witness, is “getting out of your room” — which means stepping out of your comfort zone, and in turn, making an impact in our world.

A Spirit-empowered life is a cycle of waiting, receiving, and witnessing.

In the book of Luke, you’ll notice that the disciples were all in one room when they were waiting for the gift of the Father, which is the promised Holy Spirit. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, they could no longer stay in that room. They had to go out into the streets where people could hear them preach the gospel. In other words, they had to get out of their room. It started with them waiting and making room for the Spirit of God, being the room to receive what God gives, and getting out of the room to go where the Spirit of God leads.

A Spirit-empowered life is a cycle of waiting, receiving, and witnessing. It’s always the three. It’s like baseball: somebody throws the ball, then you hit the ball and go to the first base, second base, third base, and so on. In our life with God, it’s like that. You have to go through all the bases. But you must first wait for the ball to be pitched. In the story I mentioned earlier, God commanded the disciples to wait. It’s so important for them to wait in order for them to move on. A Spirit-empowered life involves a lifestyle of waiting, receiving, and witnessing and going. You can’t go without the three. They always go together.

What does that look like in daily life?

Waiting on a personal level is seen in your devotions, the discipline of reading the Word and prayer. The receiving side is when God speaks to us, when He gives us a specific word. But what do we do with that specific word? Obedience—this is the going. A Spirit-empowered life starts by waiting on the Lord and asking, “Lord, where do you want me to go? Who do you want me to talk to?” As we practice this, it becomes second nature, so we are constantly in tune with his voice.

A Spirit-empowered life starts by waiting on the Lord and asking, “Lord, where do you want me to go? Who do you want me to talk to?”

There was this time when I was on a plane. I had just finished a weekend of ministry and looked forward to finally catching on sleep. And God answered my prayer by putting an empty seat between me and the man I shared the row with. Or so I thought, because the man kept trying to start a conversation with me. I kept cutting him off, but as I did, the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts and gave me personal details about the man, that he was separated from his wife and missed his kids. So I silently prayed and asked God what he wanted me to do about the information. “Pray for him.” I then dutifully introduced myself as a Christian and asked, “Can I pray for you?” He said, “Sure!” So I prayed a simple and direct prayer and said, “Lord, I pray that you bless this man. Lord, whatever difficulty he has with his family, you understand it. You know the issue with his wife and he misses his family. Lord, help him go through this difficult time.” I opened my eyes and he was weeping. I thought then for sure that I was off the hook and could sleep, but he went on to show me pictures of his family. He said, “I thought that God forgotten me, but because of your prayer, I know now that God still cares for me. I had stopped going to church but I now intend to go back.”

Wait on the Lord. Hear Him speak. Go and do what He says. That’s a Spirit-empowered life. You’ll see these three always in Scripture. In the Old Testament, David inquired of the Lord. He waited on the Lord, then the Lord gave him instructions and he went. You’ll also find the same thing in Jesus’ life and ministry. You’ll find in Scripture that He’ll go to a mountainside to wait, then the Lord would speak to Him, then he’d go. Wait, receive, witness.


Pastor Jojo Henson serves Victory nationwide, as well as in Victory Makati and Victory Bacolod. He is happily married to Ida, and they have five children—Jon, Jenny, Joe, Joaquin, and Sabina. They also have a daughter-in-law named Chrina and a grandchild named Chloe.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors dealing with topics related to our sermon series.

Beyond the Series: Responding to Poverty in the Nation

Beyond the Series: Responding to Poverty in the Nation

One of the most prevalent social issues in the Philippines is poverty. As Christians, we cannot turn a blind eye to this matter because God called us to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel to the poor and marginalized, just as Jesus did.

After encouraging us to be in faith in the first part of the interview, Bishop Juray Mora shares how Christians can deal with poverty in the nation.

 

How should Christians respond to poverty in the nation?

The gospel is the solution. Some of the poverty we face is because of structures created by greed. One way to deal with that is to see a person’s heart regenerated through the power of the gospel. That’s still the ultimate solution.

The gospel is
the solution.

Another solution is a challenge for us to be generous in the way we live and help. I’m not just talking about finances, but also being generous in showing concern and compassion, and in every area of life.

The challenge for our own family is the people who help us in our home, our house help. The question is, “How can we be generous to this person’s family? How can we help them in a way that the next generation, their own children, will not have to be in this same situation of poverty?” Sometimes, we get overwhelmed. We think we can’t do much because of the prevalence of poverty in our nation. But we can do something, starting in our own home, through our house help. We tend to hide behind legalities, thinking of the legal minimum wage in our country. But as Christians, we must ask instead: “Lord, what is Your will? She’s working for me. She’s a blessing. How do You want us, as a family, to bless her in return and help her family?”

Helping one person
at a time can make
a difference.

Connecting with ministries that have the expertise, knowledge, and infrastructure to help the poor in our nation is another way. We may support such ministries financially or with our time and effort. Sometimes, we don’t give because we feel embarrassed with the amount we can donate. We have to get rid of the mentality that says, “What I can give is too small.” Regardless of how little our money is, God will use it. Besides, if you pool it together with like-minded people who want to help, then the impact will be bigger.

Just be sensitive. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. You can start in your own home or neighborhood. If you don’t have house help, search for people in your neighborhood that you could start helping. It maybe the guy who keeps buying your old newspapers and empty bottles. There’s always a place to start. You don’t have to win the whole world all at once. Helping one person at a time can make a difference.


Bishop Juray Mora oversees our pastors as the director of Victory Ministers Association. He also serves as a preacher in Victory Ortigas. He has been married to Deah for 27 years, and they continue to believe God for greater things with their six kids—TJ, Iya, Sophia, Juliana, Celina, and Raymund.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series. Read the first part of the interview here.

 

Beyond the Series: Faith and Generosity in Every Situation

Beyond the Series: Faith and Generosity in Every Situation

The church has always been an important part of God’s mission to reach the poor and helpless. Yet people in the church often go through times of testing. Can we still reach those in need when we ourselves are experiencing setbacks from lending a helping hand?

In this interview, Bishop Juray Mora talks about being generous in times of testing and in times of abundance.

Can we bless others in any situation?

In times of testing, the purpose of God does not change. Even in times of abundance, the purpose of God does not change. We’re still called to be channels of God’s grace. It all starts with a desire to be used by God. God can still use us no matter how difficult our situation is. He can use us to be a blessing, proclaim the gospel, or reach out to someone, whether we’re on top of the world or whether we’re on the bottom.

In times of testing,
the purpose of God
does not change.
Even in times
of abundance,
the purpose of God
does not change.

How can we be in faith in times of testing?

Through years of reading Scripture, praying, and walking with God, I realized that the best way to respond to God is by faith. It’s through trusting God’s Word. If faith is not there, then I really don’t have a solution. This helped me realize that I should choose the path of faith. When my situation is overwhelming, I have a choice to trust someone who is bigger, more powerful, and more loving than anyone or anything I know.

The option to choose myself is always there, too. My limitations and incapacity are right before me always. Through the years, I experienced falling down many times, trying to find solutions my own way, and getting to a place of desperation where I already tried everything. In the past, I ended up praying, “Lord, sinubukan ko na. Wala talaga.” Then after getting to that point, I see God walk me out of the situation. He showed me why I had to go through the time of trying everything. But why not just go straight to God from the very beginning? You can ask Him for wisdom, strength, and solutions.

How should Christians respond to poverty?

The Scripture in 2 Corinthians ministers to me and challenges me. It talks about the Macedonian church. In trial and poverty, they still welled up in rich generosity.

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:1,2)

That’s an encouragement and a challenge to you as well. Your poverty or trial is not a hindrance for God’s grace to flow through you and touch others. Sometimes, we have our eyes too much on ourselves, and we think it’s the end of the world. But when we start to look at others and allow God to use us, we begin to realize how blessed we are and how much God can still use us. When we allow God to use us as a channel of His grace, there will always be more than enough that will be left for our own needs. At least that’s my experience. That keeps me going despite the difficulty we are facing.

“Your poverty or trial
is not a hindrance
for God’s grace
to flow through you
and touch others.”

Many years ago, my wife and I realized how powerful it is to be used by God to help others in a time of financial difficulty. We decided to set aside a certain amount every week, then we would pray and ask God, “Lord, somebody needs help. Somebody may need this amount. Lead us. Show us who. Show us where. We’ll take it there.” When we don’t get any leading from the Lord that week, we double the amount the next week.

I’ll never forget a time when I met a pastor from another church in our city. He drove a pedicab during the day to augment his income because his church was really poor. One day, I knocked on his door at 7:30 a.m. after bringing my son to school. I gave him a certain amount of money, and he looked at me with a shocked expression. He said, “Pastor, I just finished praying. I just asked God for this amount so I could pay my electricity bill, which is about to be cut off.” When I realized that, I got so excited. I went home and told my wife. “We heard God, and He used us to be a blessing.”

It’s amazing that our needs are met the same way, without us telling anyone and advertising our needs. Some people would call, text, and show up to the house saying, “The Lord told me to give you this.” It’s amazing how God has provided for our needs as we allow God to use us as a channel as well.


Bishop Juray Mora oversees our pastors as the director of Victory Ministers Association. He also serves as a preacher in Victory Ortigas. He has been married to Deah for 27 years, and they continue to believe God for greater things with their six kids—TJ, Iya, Sophia, Juliana, Celina, and Raymund.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Read the continuation of this interview here!

Beyond the Series: Truths on Suffering and Raising a Godly Family

Beyond the Series: Truths on Suffering and Raising a Godly Family

As the Wordview series comes to a close, we took time to sit down with Pastor Ariel Marquez of Victory Alabang to hear about the Word in action in his life. In this article, he shares his experiences from more than three decades of walking with God and reading the Word.

How did you learn to devote yourself to the Word?

I’m thankful that when I was a young Christian, there were disciples in church who taught me about the Word. It wasn’t just one pastor. Pastor Steve Murrell was the first one who sat down with me to disciple me, but there were also other people who taught me devotion to the Word. These include my friends from church who helped me and my brother Bernard how to read, journal, and devote ourselves to the Bible. That was my first experience of being devoted to the Word.

Can you share verses from Scripture that made a huge impact in your worldview?

“There is an assurance that you can go through life and have stability because of the Word.”

Psalm 1 is so meaningful for me. It starts with: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” When it comes to looking at the world, the question is, “Where do I get my idea, my counsel, or my perspective?”

You’ll see two ways in this chapter—the way of the world and the way of the Word. The first way is a progression of destruction. It shows the pattern of people agreeing with the ways of the world. The Bible says in Romans 12 that we should not be conformed to the world’s ways.

The other way in Psalm 1 talks about one who meditates on the Word day and night, who is likened to a tree. When I heard this passage, I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be always fresh, flourishing, and bearing fruit. The picture in the psalm is a tree planted by streams of water. There is an assurance that you can go through life and have stability because of the Word. The promise in Psalm 1 helped me when we lost our son in 2003. It was one of the darkest moments in our family.

Our son, Jerome, got sick in October 2003. Two months after, he passed away. It was very quick because tuberculous meningitis is aggressive. We were in and out of the hospital for two months while our son had five surgeries. With all these things, you’ll definitely be shaken. It will shake you to the core. I had what I called a “faith quake.” At that time, I asked myself, “Who do I hang on to?” I’m so glad that the Word was there to sustain us. I have a strong wife, but situations like these test a marriage.

I know a couple who ended up going their separate ways because they couldn’t handle the pain of loss in a similar situation. In our case, it was really the Word that brought stability to our marriage. The book of Job helped me during that time. When Job lost everything, he said this statement, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Instead of Job blaming God, he blessed God. This became pivotal for us. We were a young couple in our early thirties then. Jerome was only eight years old, and Bea was almost twelve, but we were able to go through all that and still hang onto God’s promises. It helped us have a different perspective on suffering.

When people come into a relationship with God, blessings and eternal life are usually what they have in mind. Many expect a good life. Yes, that’s part of our relationship with God. Jesus said that He came to give us life and have it to the full (John 10:10). But, sometimes, people misinterpret this and think it means no more problems, no more sicknesses, and no more sufferings in life. Remember that Jesus Himself said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.” It came from His mouth. The book of Job gives us a new perspective on suffering and encourages us that we can serve God in the midst of that. In suffering or pain, you can find your purpose. Jesus, the founder of Christianity Himself, went to the cross for us and suffered so much. Knowing these truths from the Bible helped me go through that difficult time.

“Suffering is part of the completion of our character in Christ.”

If ever a person or a family goes through a situation of suffering, don’t be surprised. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Suffering is part of the completion of our character in Christ. You can’t forge gold without fire. You can’t make a pot without going through heat. I think this is what I learned most from Job.

God is faithful. He won’t let you go through life without blessing. At the end of Job’s life, you can see the blessing of God. The story of Job gives you a holistic view of life. When we receive blessing, we praise God. When there’s none, we usually question God’s faithfulness. If you’re going through a good experience, you think God is good. What if you’re going through suffering or pain? Is God not good? The right answer is God is still good.

How do you devote yourself to the Word of God every day?

You have to find ways to make the Word fresh and like a novelty. I’ve been a Christian for 31 years. If you’re someone like me who has been reading the Word regularly, you have to find ways to be creative in reading it. When I start the year, I sometimes take on new Bible reading guides. I also buy a new version of the Bible. I just change the versions for my devotion. But for study, of course, I use the English Standard Version. I separate my study time for preaching from devotion time for myself. I study because I’m a pastor, and I read the Bible because I’m a Christian. That’s different. If I weren’t a pastor, I would still read and study the Word. Since I’m a pastor, I do both.

“The Word you’re reading right now will not only have an impact in your life. It will create a ripple effect in generations after yours.”

What inspires me? My children. Deuteronomy 6 tells us about impressing the Word on our kids. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  You’re not the only one who benefits from the Word you read. I know my kids will think, “Is my dad living it out?” This is my inspiration. My family is the one who is following my leadership. My children and the people I’m discipling continually inspire me to devote myself to the Word.

Whatever you have in your heart, impress them on others. The Word you’re reading right now will not only have an impact in your life. It will create a ripple effect in generations after yours. This is probably my main inspiration. If I fail in the home, no amount of success in the ministry can compensate for my failure. When it comes to the Word and love and passion for God, I would rather see my kids passionate for God first before the Victory group leaders in church. I always ask, “How’s my family? Are they walking with God? Are they loving the Word?” My home will validate my ministry.


Pastor Ariel Marquez is the senior pastor of Victory Alabang. He is happily married to Shirley, and they have three daughters—Bea, Anna, and Andrea.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors dealing with topics related to our sermon series. For our Wordview series, we also sat down with Bishop Manny Carlos to talk about devotion to the Word.

Beyond the Series: Why Personal Devotion Is Essential to a Christian Life

Beyond the Series: Why Personal Devotion Is Essential to a Christian Life

For the past weeks, through our series, Wordview, we at Victory have been learning about the Word of God and how it shapes our worldview. In this interview, Victory chairman Bishop Manny Carlos shares how his worldview was personally shaped by the Word, and discusses how a daily habit of reading the Bible can transform lives the way that it transformed his.

Bishop Manny, what is a worldview?

“A worldview is the way you perceive and make sense of the world around you.”

A worldview is the way you perceive and make sense of the world around you. All of us grow up having a worldview. It’s a combination of what we’re taught in our families, our schools, our churches, and through our own experiences. A worldview is something that is developed over the course of one’s life and shapes one’s values. It is like a set of lenses through which you view life and reality. If you’re wearing sunglasses that have a yellow tint, everything you see will be tinted yellow. If you change the tint of your sunglasses to blue, then everything has a hue of blue. That’s what a worldview is. It’s a set of lenses that basically colors the way you see the world.

How did the Word of God shape your worldview?

The Word of God brings a counter-imagination to what is prevalent in the world. A biblical worldview enables you to see the world from God’s perspective. If we are to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to God, then we want to develop a biblical worldview, which is how God sees the world we live in.

“The Word of God does not just inform us or conform us to a standard. It has the power to transform our lives and change us into a whole new person.”

When I committed my life to Christ, I began to be exposed to the Bible. Yes, I started to go to church, but my thinking and values were not aligned to His Word in many ways. My worldview began to change as I read, meditated on, believed, and obeyed the Word. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The Word of God does not just inform us or conform us to a standard. It has the power to transform our lives and change us into a whole new person.

I experienced this, but it didn’t happen instantaneously. God changed my heart and desires. I used to live for my own dreams and visions, and I had my life pretty much planned out for myself. I wanted to be in the corporate world and succeed there. But as I devoted myself to the Word of God, I grew in my relationship with Him. Eventually, I heard the call of God to be a minister of the gospel. He changed my desire to live for my own dreams into desiring to live for His dreams.

The Word of God also changed the way I understood His purpose for relationships, such as marriage and family. It helped me prepare not just for the call of God in my life, but also to be a husband and a father who honors God. It also made me see my family as a great blessing. I learned that we can serve God together and fulfill His purpose, because God has purposes not just for individuals but also for families. The Word also helped me to see the church as a spiritual community, and that it is the instrument that advances His kingdom on earth. All of these things came from the Word of God. It changed the whole way I view my life. Apart from God’s Word, we will not understand His plan for humanity, society, and the world.

How did you develop a devotion to God’s Word?

Somebody taught me to live a life of prayer and meditating on the Word. I’m combining both because these are the main spiritual habits that God wants us to develop. Left to ourselves, we can’t develop either. We need others to model it for us.

The classic example of this is the disciples themselves. In the Bible, Jesus was approached by His disciples, who asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 

Prayer and meditating on God’s Word are not something you automatically learn by yourself. You need someone to help you. That is why discipleship is key to developing your devotional habits. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He began by saying, “This is how you should pray.” He gave the model prayer. We learn not just by being informed, but by being mentored. When I began to walk with God, there were several people who helped me learn about prayer and reading the Word. These included my discipleship group leader, pastors, and friends. However, it is the Holy Spirit who will ultimately help us develop the habit and give us understanding of His Word, for He is our teacher who leads and guides us into all truth.

“Careful meditation leads to careful obedience, which brings success.”

I start my personal time with God by reading His Word. In my early years as a Christian, I read more than a chapter a day and used materials such as Bible reading calendars and Bible study guides like The Purple Book. When I didn’t know how to study the Bible by myself and was not yet familiar with the Word, these foundational books helped me. They helped me go through different Scriptures, and developed in me the discipline of writing Scripture down. Writing Scriptures helps you learn the habit of getting into the Word.

Over the course of time, I’ve been able to read through the Bible. I usually don’t finish the entire Bible in one year. I don’t read for the sake of reading. I read to reflect and meditate. Meditation enables the Word to take root in your soul and in your mind. Careful meditation leads to careful obedience, which brings success.

Why should we devote ourselves to God’s Word?

“The reason we engage with the Word of God is to grow in our relationship with Him.”

God wants to have a relationship with you. That’s the starting point. God already took the initiative to bring you to Him. He already made the effort to draw you near. God wants to commune with you, and desires to teach you and instruct you in His ways. A relationship with God is the motivation. He wants to communicate with us and reveal His will for our lives. This is why reading the Word is not an obligation.

In devoting yourself to the Word, you can’t read without praying. You can’t pray without reading. God’s Word propels you into communion with Him. The Word of God is more than the renewing of the mind. It helps us to be spiritually nourished and strengthened to walk in faith and obedience to His Word, enabling us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. When you commune with God through prayer, He often brings back to remembrance that which you have read in His Word. He communicates with you, and you communicate with Him. The reason we engage with the Word of God is to grow in our relationship with Him.


Bishop Manny Carlos is the chairman of Victory, a church with multiple locations in Metro Manila and over ninety churches in the provinces.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors dealing with topics related to our sermon series. For our Wordview series, we also sat down with Pastor Ariel Marquez to talk about devotion to the Word; be sure to visit our website next week to read his interview.