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. You may 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.

Making Disciples Together

Making Disciples Together

Angelica, Genbert, and Milbert are siblings who lead their respective Victory groups in Naga. They, along with their groups, believe that now, more than ever, we should boldly make disciples and help each other grow in our relationship with God.

 

Angelica Dacudao, 17
Angelica is an incoming Grade 12 student. When the enhanced community quarantine was implemented in their city, she didn’t expect that it would last for a while. But when it did, she knew that it would be a challenge to meet her Victory group since it’s hard to get a stable internet connection in their area.

To continue meeting with her group and her classmates who were going through ONE 2 ONE, she started chatting with them through a messaging app. They couldn’t do a video call due to network problems, so she took photos of the ONE 2 ONE booklet and did the discussion via chat instead.

According to her, a lot of students, especially now, are longing for a relationship with God. Many are anxious and in need of compassion, understanding, and love. In this time where a lot of things are uncertain, there is a greater need for us to do our part so more people can come to know Christ.

She believes that with or without the quarantine, our call remains the same: to honor God and make disciples. We have to continually point people to God, encourage each other, and pray for one another.

Genbert Dacudao, 20
Genbert is a second year BS Information Technology student. He considers it a blessing when his uncle invited him to church again and connected him to a Victory group in 2017.

In 2018, Genbert started leading his own Victory group. Since then, he has been passionate about helping young men like him grow in their faith and walk with God.

In order to continue connecting with his group during the enhanced community quarantine, he met with them weekly every Monday night. They would usually wait for the internet connection to be stable at night so they could chat without interruption and sometimes do a video chat.

For Genbert, in spite of the quarantine, there is no excuse for reaching out to others. God has given us ways to connect through technology; we should maximize these and press on as we make disciples even in this challenging season.

Genbert also shares that it is important for us to hear God’s word, especially now that a lot of people are losing hope. He believes that by reading His word, we find new hope and strength in God’s promises.

Milbert Dacudao, 21
Milbert is a web developer. It was his prayer before to see his siblings in church. When it finally happened, he felt so blessed that God gave all of them a chance to know Him and serve Him through music.

Like Genbert, it was their uncle, a pastor in Victory Naga, who invited Milbert to church. After graduating from college, he was supposed to work in Manila, but a job opportunity opened up for him in their city. He was so thankful that God made a way for him to stay in Naga so he can still serve in their church and lead people to Him in their area.

Though his current job demands a lot of time in the office, Milbert makes it a point to still meet his Victory group weekly. They usually meet online every Wednesday morning and help each other grow in faith.

According to him, knowing that someone prayed for him and led him to God is a big thing. And that has always inspired him to do the same. If someone was patient enough to walk with him, he should also do the same with the men he’s leading. To be God’s instrument in sharing His word is a blessing in itself.

Now that a lot of people are confused with everything that’s happening, he believes that we could all the more be a voice that will encourage and point others to God. What people need now is someone who will lead them to Him—His comfort, peace, and love.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14,15

Aside from leading their own Victory groups, Angelica, Genbert, and Milbert are also serving in Victory Naga’s music ministry.

Finding God in the Midst of Crisis

Finding God in the Midst of Crisis

Our current situation may have brought a lot of uncertainties and changes in our lives, but it has also helped most of us see hope in the face of loss, sickness, and hardship. Here is a story of a mother who found God in the midst of the COVID–19 outbreak.

 

In January of this year, my husband passed away. It was a very difficult time for me. It was not easy to start again and raise our children on my own at the age of 50.

To comfort me, my eldest son who attends our church in General Mariano Alvarez invited me to one of our services. There, I got connected with a Victory group that didn’t stop reaching out to me even after the lockdown.

I thank God that when the outbreak started, my relationship with Him was also gradually built. In spite of the new battles that came our way after my husband’s death—like my eldest son’s emergency appendectomy in February and his almost bout with COVID after being tagged as a person under investigation (PUI)—our whole family remained strong because of God. The harder the trials we faced, the deeper my relationship with Christ became.

During the enhanced community quarantine, I continued going through ONE 2 ONE with my Victory group leader via video call. I also continued to attend our Victory group meetings, which watered and tended the seeds planted in my heart. Now, I look forward to reading and hearing God’s word every day.

I am grateful to God that in the midst of the pandemic and even at this age, He pursued me and led me to Him. He used my son and our church community to help me know Him more and have a deeper relationship with Him. Now, I also get to share His goodness to my 75-year-old mother who gets daily encouragement and inspiration from God’s promises.

It’s amazing how God healed my heart from all the things that happened to our family early this year. He taught me to let go of the things that I could not surrender to Him before and made me realize that I should not be afraid of anything that might come our way. I know that no matter what happens, I can always depend on Him.

Finding God in this time of crisis gave me the strength to face each day with faith that comes from Him. It is my prayer that more people will reach out to their family members and friends in this trying time, so more people can know God and see His goodness amid loss, sickness, and hardship.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

Janette Coronel is an account supervisor with four children. She is growing in her faith as part of a Victory group in our church in General Mariano Alvarez.

Never Too Old to Fulfill His Purpose

Never Too Old to Fulfill His Purpose

“In God, there is no retirement.” At 76 years old, Whelma continues to actively preach the gospel and lead a Victory group. She and the rest of the women she is leading prove that no matter how old we are, God can use us to fulfill His purpose.

 

Prior to the lockdown, my Victory group would always meet and walk together in our village. That’s something we always looked forward to. Our weekly meetings became avenues for us to share our lives with each otherwhich is very important, especially at our age.

When the enhanced community quarantine was imposed, we knew that we could no longer meet like we used to. But we are thankful that God has provided means for us to still meet virtually. When I learned that we could meet online through a messaging app, it made me really happy. It’s always a joy to see the people in our group and witness God’s faithfulness in their lives.

Our weekly online meetings are usually held on a Wednesday. We start at 2:00 p.m and usually end at 4:00 p.m. Our group, composed of fifteen women in their 60s and 70s, loves to talk and share different stories with each other. Sometimes, even after we’re done with everything, we still continue to chat and catch up with one another.

We start our Victory group meetings with a prayer. After that, each of us recounts weeklong testimonies of God’s goodness in our lives and in our families. We also praise God before doing our group discussions.

In this challenging time, staying connected with our Victory groups is so important. Sharing how God turns our problems into testimonies goes a long way in encouraging us and bringing us hope. Most of us are already in the twilight of our years and dealing with different health issues. By meeting together, we are reminded of God’s promise in Isaiah 46:4 that helps us be strong in our faith:

“. . . even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

In God, there is no retirement. No matter how old we are, God can use us to lead people to Him. One of the ladies in my Victory group once shared with me how happy she was to finally have a relationship with Christ—and hoped she had heard God’s word a little early in life. Whenever I remember that, I always get encouraged to continue doing what God has called me to do. Though I never really saw myself leading a group before, God showed me that He can strengthen me beyond my ability and use me in this capacity.

 

Whelma Hermano is a former OFW with seven children. At 76 years old, she faithfully leads a Victory group for seniors in Victory Santa Rosa.

Discipleship Never Stops

Discipleship Never Stops

Our current situation should not stop us from encouraging one another and growing in our walk with God. Here’s how one student from Olongapo continues to meet with her Victory group through calls and different online platforms.

How did you feel when you learned that the enhanced community quarantine would make it challenging to meet with people personally and engage them with the gospel?
During the summer break, I was really planning to spend more time with God through devotions and discipleship. I was looking forward to meeting my Victory group so I could finish going through ONE 2 ONE with them. When the enhanced community quarantine was implemented, I knew we could no longer interact with each other physically. That made me sad, but I also knew how important it was for us to stay home and be with our families.

What inspired you to continue making disciples even in this challenging season?
Because of social media, we were still able to chat and encourage one another. We would usually share lessons and insights from our devotions, and that always inspired me to continue what I was doing prior to the lockdown. Our online youth services also made me realize that even in this challenging time, we could still do our part in reaching out to other students.

How did you reach out to your Victory group? 
Just when I thought I could start doing discipleship again through social media, our town’s internet service provider encountered a problem. But instead of losing hope, God gave me the grace to still reach out to my group by doing phone calls with them. It’s a good thing that most of us are subscribed to the same mobile network; it allows us to do unlimited calls with each other.

Why is it important to continue making disciples in spite of the challenges we’re facing today?
I’m thankful to God that even though we did most of our Victory group meetings over the phone, we continued to stay connected. Instead of losing interest, they all continued to attend our meetings and appreciated that we didn’t let our situation stop us from growing in our walk with God. In times when we had spare internet data to use, we would also chat and send Bible verses to each other.

In spite of what we’re facing, I believe that it’s important to continue reaching the next generation. One thing I learned is that, if we do our part, it can make a great impact on the lives of the people around us. We have to continue pointing them to God so they can be reminded of His love in this season. And once they experience that love from God, they will also develop a desire to share that love with others.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another . . . Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

Rania Viduya is an incoming Grade 10 student. She is one of our Victory group leaders in Olongapo.
Above photo was taken in June 2019 inside their campus.

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. They are blessed with 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 has 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 on 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.

Going Beyond the Walls: Bringing the Church Online

Going Beyond the Walls: Bringing the Church Online

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a major shift in the way we do things. It has changed how we work, learn, communicate, and spend our leisure time. In spite of its significant impact on our daily lives, this crisis shouldn’t change our mission as a church to reach people with the Good News of Jesus.

Because of the recent outbreak, we have temporarily shifted most of our church activities online (including our worship services, prayer meetings, giving, discipleship classes, and Kids Church). We believe that even in this season of fear and uncertainty, we can continue to encourage, inspire, and point people to Christ. It is our prayer that through our online digital platforms, we will all be able to bless one another and grow in our walk with God.

Here are some encouraging words we received from our Victory group members and leaders who are praying and worshiping God with us online.

The crisis we’re facing now can sometimes put fear in our hearts. I am grateful that through our online worship services, morning worship and prayer, and online Kids Church activities, we are reminded to trust God more. Even though we don’t meet physically, we still get a chance to hear the word of God. It’s good that we also have an online giving option which we can try anytime.

—Claudette Cañeda, Victory U-Belt

We are bringing the “church” to people’s homes, and that is very encouraging. Even if we can’t go outside, we can still participate in online church activities. At home, we do Victory group meetings through video calls. Seeing my friends’ faces online is very comforting, especially in this season.

—Josh Torres, Victory Ortigas

Not being connected to the church community in this time of crisis can be disheartening. I am grateful that through our online platforms, I can connect with my friends from church and believe God for better days ahead.

—Andrei Liclican, Victory Katipunan

I attend our worship services online and listen to the morning worship and prayer every day, These activities are very encouraging and refreshing. Now, the church feels a lot more personal. The online sessions also encourage me to have an alone time with God.

—Jon Isla, Victory Santa Rosa

We are grateful to God for giving us avenues to continually spread the Good News. Through technology, we can continue to . . .

WORSHIP AND HEAR THE WORD
You can join our worship services and prayer meetings online. Visit this page on our website to check the schedules of our online services or follow your local church on social media.

PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER
If you need prayer, you can message us at victory.org.ph/prayer-request. You can also join our online prayer meetings through our local churches’ social media pages.

HONOR GOD IN OUR GIVING
Giving is one of the ways we worship God. You can continue giving through victory.org.ph/give. We now have a GCash option as well.

MAKE DISCIPLES
Discipleship never stops! Victory group and ONE 2 ONE meetings, as well as discipleship classes, are being done virtually. For more information, you can check and send a message on the social media pages of our local churches.

Despite what we’re facing in our country and all over the world, we are in faith that God will see us through. Amid the pandemic, let us continue to build up one another and never give up meeting together—even in the confines of our homes.

For now, let us continue “seeing” each other online!

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another . . .

Hebrews 10:25, (NLT)

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.

Discipleship 2020: Empower

Discipleship 2020: Empower

Today, a total of 23,410 Victory group leaders and interns in over 50 locations across the Philippines gathered simultaneously for Discipleship 2020! This conference was the first time our provincial churches—from up north in Ilocos Norte to down south in General Santos—participated in the event at the same time as Victory in Metro Manila. 

Since 2017, our discipleship conferences have been about each part of the discipleship journey: Engage, Establish, Equip—and now, Empower. We believe that our discipleship journey can’t end with equipping believers to minister­­­­­. As followers of Christ, we are empowered to make disciples.

To further reinforce the message of this year’s discipleship conference, Pastor Steve Murrell talked about how Saul (eventually Paul) was immediately empowered to make disciples and preach the gospel. He taught us that we don’t have to wait long before we start leading others to Christ. 

When Pastor Steve and Dr. Rice Broocks came here in the Philippines in 1984, they did the same thing to over 150 Filipino youth in the heart of the University Belt. They preached the gospel to them, established biblical foundations in their lives, equipped them to do the work of the ministry, and empowered them to lead. They didn’t wait for years before empowering them to preach the gospel and make disciples. They didn’t look at what they lacked or didn’t know at that time. Instead, they allowed them to grow in strength by empowering them. We plan to continue doing this as a church.

Our recently concluded conference is a great reminder that discipleship is about doing just that: having progress in the right direction, not perfection. Once we learn to empower others in making disciples, we will be amazed at what God can do in and through us and in the lives of the people we empower to lead.

Let us continue to do what we are called to do as a church, and through empowered leaders, see our nation transformed by the gospel!

Sharing God’s Message of Grace, Hope, and Love

Sharing God’s Message of Grace, Hope, and Love

It takes courage and faith to leave our old lives behind and follow God. And it takes boldness and grace to help others follow Him, too. No matter where we are, there is always an opportunity for us to share His message of grace, hope, and love.

Luis came to know Christ in 2013. One of our pastors in Victory Alabang preached the gospel to him and his wife. After receiving Jesus in their lives, their marriage was never the same. Knowing Him and His love changed them from the inside out.

Before Christ, Luis felt lost. He grew up with so much bitterness in his heart and that showed in the way he lived his life. But when he heard the gospel, a lot of things changed. He learned to forgive and also received forgiveness. God fixed his marriage and placed a burden in his heart to preach the gospel to others.

A few days after Taal’s eruption, he took the rare opportunity of preaching the gospel to affected families in San Luis, Batangas. While there, he sensed worry, fear, confusion—and hunger that no amount of food could fill. He knew he couldn’t pass up the chance to share Jesus. Using a megaphone, he shared God’s goodness in his life and led the people to a prayer of salvation.

Luis knew that only Jesus could fill our hearts with joy and peace. For him, there’s nothing better than seeing those families pray and come to God in the midst of pain and suffering. Relief goods would only last for a while, but the peace that comes from God will last even after this lifetime.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

Luis and his wife are part of a couples Victory group in Alabang. They have been married for 12 years and have four kids.

 

If you have stories to share, please email them to stories@victory.org.ph or send them through the Victory app!

On a Journey Series

On a Journey Series

Discipleship is about following Jesus and going on a journey with Him and other people. It’s about relationships.

In this series, we will look at the life of Jesus, who—throughout His lifetime—exhibited a posture of following God, fishing for people, and walking with others. He is the perfect example of discipleship.

Here are the topics for each week:

  • Week 1: Be One
  • Week 2: Make One
  • Week 3: Walk with One

May this series help us understand discipleship and encourage us to have a growth-filled journey with God and the people around us.

Let’s go on a journey together! See you at our worship services across the Philippines!

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.

Never Too Young to Reach Out

Never Too Young to Reach Out

AG—a 12-year-old girl from Kids Church—made her own tool to share the gospel to her friends in a language that is easily understood by children.

AG first attended Kids Church when her mother was invited by a friend to attend a worship service at Victory Fort. At first, she did not know that she was attending a church. It was more like a school and a big playground for her. She enjoyed learning new things while gaining new friends. Aside from having fun with other children in church, she was also happy to spend some quality time with her mother and sister every weekend. Going to church became their weekly bonding moment.

Not long after, AG heard the gospel and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. People in church helped her grow in her faith, and AG knew she needed to tell her friends about the gospel, too. She did not know how at the time, but she never stopped praying. The desire to be used by God simply grew in her heart.

Though afraid that she would fail to say the right words, AG resolved to share the good news to the young girls in her group of friends. Inspired by a tool given out at Victory Fort to simply present the gospel to others, AG started creating her own version that she thought would help her friends.

AG’s ‘Best Map Ever’, an evangelism tool she made herself so she could share the gospel to her friends.

According to AG, the image of a map came to her mind one day while she was in Kids Church. She realized that every time we sin, we take a few steps away from God’s plan; we head toward the wrong direction—and the only way for us to get back on track is through repentance. AG believes that each time we repent, we allow ourselves to see the path that God has laid out for us.

Fueled by her passion and desire to share the good news, AG showed her tool to her younger sister and preached the gospel to her. She also boldly shared it to her mother, who was in awe of how God was using AG to make Jesus known. She had never thought it was possible for a girl as young as her daughter to make such an impact.

Today, AG continues to reach out to more kids in school and in church. She knows that being used by God this way is a privilege, and she wants to be a willing instrument of His mission.

Like AG, as followers of Christ, let’s tell others about who God is and what He has done for us. No matter how old or young we are, God can use us to fulfill His plan of salvation and redemption—His mission, His heartbeat.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Accepting God’s Free Gift

Accepting God’s Free Gift

God reaches out to us in ways we often do not expect. Janevie, one of our Kids Church teachers in Victory Sta. Rosa, experienced this when a friend invited her to join a small group a few years back. Here is her story.  

It was a casual invitation. A good friend invited me to meet with her for dinner—her treat. As a high-school girl with limited food allowance, the idea of having free food for dinner sounded really appealing to me. I said yes and hurried off to our meeting place, not expecting anything.

The minute I arrived, though, I sensed that something was different. Aside from me, there were other high-school girls flocking to my friend’s table; they were all eagerly sharing stories about their faith in God. It was too late to back out when I realized that it was not a simple catch up dinner—it was a dinner with my friend’s small group (or what’s known as a Victory group).

Since then, I found myself joining them every week. At first, it was all about the free food and the idea of not having to head home right away. (It was a convenient excuse for me not to spend time with my family.) Though my heart and my head were never really there, I found it a good way to let the hours pass while half-listening to their testimonies.

But things changed quite unexpectedly. God gently nudged my heart.

As the months passed, I found myself suddenly becoming curious, eager to know more about God. I started attending regularly with a sincere interest to grow in my faith. I would spend hours meditating on the Bible every single day, meeting with people who were also hungry to hear about God’s promises. Not long after—that same year—I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and surrendered my life to Him.

Slowly, things began to change in my life. From a high-school girl clueless about Jesus, I turned into someone passionate about her Savior. From a daughter who was indifferent about her parents, I turned into someone who values her family and honors her elders. I was never the same again.

As I grew deeper in my relationship with God, He—at the same time—was also planting a new desire in my heart. One day, I boldly stood in front of our class and preached the gospel to my classmates. Never had I done something like that before. Suddenly, I became so eager to talk about Christ and became really passionate about reaching out to “old Janevies,” students who knew nothing about His goodness. The heaviness to spread His Word and reach out to young people just swelled in my heart—until I finally said yes to another “invitation.”

By January next year, I am making a commitment to reach the next generation by being a full-time campus missionary. I will heed His call and preach the gospel to more students who were once like me. It will be an honor and a privilege to do something I have grown passionate about—something that is exciting yet humbling at the same time.

It has been years, but I will always look back to the day I got invited for a free dinner. It was, after all, a free dinner that led me to God’s FREE gift of salvation—a gift far more valuable than anything else.

Get ready for Discipleship 2018!

Get ready for Discipleship 2018!

Thousands of leaders are coming together on March 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena for Discipleship 2018, Victory’s annual discipleship conference! Now on its sixth year, this leadership conference in the Philippines will pick up from the “Engage” theme of last year’s conference.

This 2018, we will return to the Arena for our program, which starts at 6:00 p.m.; gates will open at 4:00 p.m. Expect to hear encouraging messages, listen to testimonies of lives changed by the gospel, and be inspired to receive new impartation and commissioning as we honor God and make disciples together!

Victory has held five annual discipleship conferences since our first in 2013. Last year, our discipleship conference equipped and empowered our Victory group leaders to engage culture and community to preach the gospel.

EVENTS DETAILS

  • What: Discipleship 2018
  • Who: Victory group leaders and interns
  • When: March 10, 2018, 6:00 p.m.
  • Where: SM Mall of Asia Arena
  • Registration Fee: PHP 300 per leader/intern

Registration. Leaders may register with the Discipleship administrator at any Metro Manila location for PHP 300 per leader/intern. Upon registration, you will be told when to claim your Discipleship 2018 ID.

Social Media. For Discipleship 2018 updates, follow Victory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The official conference hashtag is #Discipleship2018.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • What time does Discipleship 2018 start?
    Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. Our program will start at 6:00 p.m. We recommend you have a meal before you proceed to the conference.

 

  • I lost my ID/ticket. What do I do?
    Unfortunately, the Mall of Asia Arena does not reissue tickets, so please do not lose your ID and the Mall of Asia Arena ticket that comes with it. These cannot be replaced. The Mall of Asia also implements a strict “No Re-Entry” policy.

 

  • How do I get to the Mall of Asia Arena?
    The Mall of Asia Arena is located at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay, City. For complete directions, please click here. A few of our locations in Metro Manila will be sending delegates by bus; please inquire with your local church if you can ride with them.

 

  • Where do I park?
    Parking is available at the open-air parking beside the Mall of Asia Arena, the Annex parking building beside the Arena, and the multi-level covered parking facility located at the Mall of Asia proper. We recommend you park at the South Parking of the SM Mall of Asia. This is the parking area inside the mall, facing the SMX open parking area. To get there, take J. W. Diokno Boulevard, then turn right onto Marina Way. The South parking entrance will be on your right.

 

  • Can I bring my children?
    The Mall of Asia Arena has no space for a Kids facility. So unless your child is a Victory group leader or intern, we strongly recommend you do not bring your children to the conference.

 

  • I’m not a Victory group leader. Can I attend Discipleship 2018?
    Discipleship 2018 is exclusively for Victory group leaders and leader-identified interns. If you are a member of a Victory group, please ask your Victory group leader if he or she has identified you for internship, which would qualify you for entry to the conference. Tickets and IDs will not be sold at the venue on the day itself.

 

  • What do I wear?
    Slippers, shorts, and sleeveless tops are not allowed inside the Mall of Asia Arena.

 

  • Where do I enter or line up?
    The only open entrance to the Mall of Asia Arena is the Coral entrance. The lines for entry will run alongside Pacific Drive (the covered walkways directly beside the open-air parking facility).

 

  • Can I bring food into the Arena?
    Food and beverage brought from outside the Mall of Asia Arena will not be allowed into the facility. The Mall of Asia Arena has several quality food concessionaires to give you time to dine and mingle.

 

  • What can I bring into the Arena?
    Bring a Bible, a notebook and pen for notes, and a fully charged mobile phone or non-DSLR camera so you can take pictures or video to remember the conference by. Please do not bring the following: sharp objects, firearms, illegal substances, and large banners.

 

  • Can I step out of the Arena during the conference?
    The Mall of Asia Arena has a strict “No Re-entry” policy.

 

  • I am pregnant or a person with disability. Is there a special section for me?
    Please inform your Discipleship Administrator immediately, if you are or someone with you is pregnant or a person with disability (PWD).

We look forward to what God will do in and through us this year. As we come together for Discipleship 2018, let us prepare for the conference and be excited to continue to honor God and make disciples!

Don’t miss out on Discipleship 2017!

Don’t miss out on Discipleship 2017!

On March 24, thousands of Victory’s leaders will converge on the SM Mall of Asia Arena for Discipleship 2017, our annual discipleship conference!

Victory has held four annual discipleship conferences since our first in 2013. Discipleship 2013, held at the PhilSports Arena, focused on the ENGAGE stage of the Discipleship Journey with the theme, “Go!” Discipleship 2014 was held simultaneously at all our Metro Manila locations. Using the theme “Next,” it highlighted the ESTABLISH stage of the Discipleship Journey. Discipleship 2015, “NOW!,” was also held across Metro Manila, and empowered our leaders to share the gospel and live a lifestyle of evangelism. Last year, Discipleship 2016 brought us back together at the Mall of Asia Arena, where we received power from the Holy Spirit to carry out the “Charge!” to honor God with our lives and discipleship efforts.

This 2017, we will return to the Arena: gates will open at 4:00 p.m., and the program of our fifth discipleship conference will start at 8:00 p.m. Expect to hear encouraging messages, listen to testimonies of lives changed by the gospel, and be inspired to receive new impartation and commissioning as we honor God and make disciples together!

EVENTS DETAILS
What: Discipleship 2017
Who: Exclusively for Victory group leaders and interns
When: March 24, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
Where: SM Mall of Asia Arena
Registration Fee: Php250/attendee

Registration. Discipleship 2017 is open exclusively to Victory group leaders, with limited slots available for interns, for Php250 per leader/intern. Please register with your local church’s Discipleship administrator. Upon registration, you will be told when to claim your Discipleship 2017 ID.

Social Media. For Discipleship 2017 updates, follow Victory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The official conference hashtag is #Discipleship2017.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • What time does Discipleship 2017 start?

Gates will open at 4:00 PM. Our program will start at 8:00 PM. We recommend you have a meal before you proceed to the conference.

  • I lost my ID/ticket. What do I do?

Unfortunately, the Mall of Asia Arena does not reissue tickets, so please do not lose your ID and the Mall of Asia Arena ticket that comes with it. These cannot be replaced. The Mall of Asia is also implementing a strict No Re-Entry policy.

  • How do I get to the Mall of Asia Arena?

The Mall of Asia Arena is located at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay, City. For complete directions, please click here. A few Victory Metro Manila congregations will be sending delegates by bus; please inquire with your local church if you can ride with them.

  • Where do I park?      

Parking is available at the open-air parking beside the Mall of Asia Arena, the Annex parking building beside the Arena, and the multi-level covered parking facility located at the Mall of Asia proper. Update: We recommend you park at the South Parking of the SM Mall of Asia. This is the parking area inside the mall, facing the SMX open parking area. To get there, take J. W. Diokno Boulevard, then turn right onto Marina Way. The South parking entrance will be on your right.

  • Can I bring my children?

The Mall of Asia Arena has no space for a Kids facility. So unless your child is a Victory group leader or intern, we strongly recommend you do not bring your children to the conference.

  • I’m not a Victory group leader. Can I attend Discipleship 2017?

Discipleship 2017 is exclusively for Victory group leaders and leader-identified interns. If you are a member of a Victory group, please ask your Victory group leader if he or she has identified you for internship, which would qualify you for entry to the conference. Tickets & IDs will not be sold at the venue on the day itself.

  • What do I wear?

Slippers, shorts, and sleeveless tops are not allowed inside the Mall of Asia Arena.

  • Where do I enter or line up?

The only open entrance to the Mall of Asia Arena is the Coral entrance. The lines for entry will run alongside Pacific Drive (the covered walkways directly beside the open-air parking facility).

  • Can I bring food into the Arena?

Food and beverages brought from outside the Mall of Asia Arena will not be allowed into the facility. The Mall of Asia Arena has several quality food concessionaires to give you time to dine and mingle.

  • What can I bring into the Arena?

Bring a Bible, a notebook and pen for notes, and a fully charged mobile phone or non-DSLR camera so you can take pictures or video to remember the conference by. Please do not bring the following: liquor, sharp objects, firearms, illegal substances, and large banners.

  • Can I step out of the Arena during the conference?

The Mall of Asia Arena has a strict “No Re-entry” policy.

  • I am pregnant or a person with disability. Is there a special section for me?

Please inform your Discipleship administrator ASAP if you are or someone with you is pregnant or a Person with Disability.

Serving God in Your Youth

Serving God in Your Youth

Clarisse Tagayun Clarisse Tagayun is a thirteen-year old high school student who volunteers at KIDS Church in Victory Pioneer. Her parents, Cris and Lhite, actively serve in church, and their passion rubbed off on Clarisse and her siblings.

“I became active in church last year,” she shares, “I started teaching in KIDS church.”

She soon got connected to a Victory group, where she met her Victory group leader, Rachel Ching. Fueled by her passion to talk about God’s word, Clarisse would volunteer to lead their Victory group when Rachel was not available. Seeing this desire in Clarisse, Rachel empowered her to lead by letting her facilitate their group. “I was nervous because I didn’t know what to do,” she reveals, “But I would just study the Victory group material and my parents would help me. I prayed to God that he will teach me to facilitate.”

The desire to preach the gospel continued to grow in Clarisse’s heart. Discipling pre-teens felt natural for her. It was easy for her to relate with people in her age group and talk about things they have in common. Last May, she she met Florence Panizales, an elementary student who wanted to know more about Jesus. Wasting no time, Clarisse immediately led her through ONE 2 ONE.

Florence and ClarisseEncouraged by her parents and inspired by Florence’s openness to know God more, Clarisse also started engaging Florence’s parents, Willie and Reggie. She was able to connect them to a Victory group for couples, led by her parents. Asked if she felt scared engaging people older than her, Clarisse said she was nervous but she knew she was also fulfilling God’s calling for her. “Age is just a number,” she says, “Being young, you could show lots of people that even if you’re young, God can still use you.”

Her efforts certainly bore fruit. Today, Florence has undergone ONE 2 ONE, and she is excited to be part of the next Victory Weekend for pre-teens. At ten years old, she has started preaching the gospel to her friends and classmates, and she is now leading a small group in her school. Her parents, Willie and Reggie, are growing in their faith, meeting regularly with a Victory group for couples. They have also undergone Victory Weekend recently.

14536990_1393375380691313_316904288_oAsked how she would encourage other people to make disciples, Clarisse strongly recommends getting discipled and joining a Victory group, “Discipleship is important and your Victory group would be there to help and listen to you.” As young as she is, Clarisse has fully embraced her calling to make disciples. She doesn’t see the person’s age, instead she focuses on their need for a Savior. “God wants us to have a relationship with Him,” she states simply, “He wants it for other people, too.”

Clarisse agrees that the youth is the hope of the future. As early as now, she is expectant of the great and mighty things God will do in her generation. “It doesn’t matter how young you are or how old you are,” she says, “God called us to make disciples.”

“My First, Second and Third Attempts at Parenting”, now Available at the 37th Manila International Book Fair!

“My First, Second and Third Attempts at Parenting”, now Available at the 37th Manila International Book Fair!

steve_murrell_profileWe are happy to announce that the newest book of Victory founding pastor Steve Murrell, “My First, Second and Third Attempts at Parenting”, will be launched nationally at the 37th Manila International Book Fair!

Now published and distributed locally by Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM), “My First, Second & Third Attempts at Parenting” is a collection of stories and reflections designed to help parents and would-be parents discover the elusive, yet most important, part of parenting—the heart.

Pastor Steve’s book will be available at the CSM booth at the 37th Manila International Book Fair from September 14-18, 2016, for an exclusive fair-only price of PHP 100 per copy. The book fair will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Also available at the book fair are “The Values-Driven Heart” by Pastor Joey Bonifacio, Real LIFE Foundation’s executive director; and “Why Settle for Good Sex When You Can Have Great Sex” by Pastors Dennis and Thammie Sy, senior pastors of Victory Greenhills.

We are excited for more people to learn how we can honor God through parenting! Get your copy of “My First, Second and Third Attempts at Parenting” at the 37th Manila International Book Fair!

Finding Purpose Again

Finding Purpose Again

Manuel Gan2“I would drink alcohol for breakfast,” confesses 35-year-old Manuel Gan. “I started drinking at thirteen years old; I would drink everyday, even if I was alone.”

Growing up, Manuel had to adjust to the harsh reality of living in a broken family. When he was around seven years old, his parents separated. He and his sister were forced to live with their father in Nueva Ecija, while their mother remained in Manila. Being the older child, Manuel took the separation to heart, and the burden he felt to repair their fragmented family soon took its toll.

He dropped out of high school one day, and never returned. Without direction, his life soon revolved around addictions and fleeting pleasures. “I got angry at God,” he shares, “I felt that he let me down when he allowed me to grow up in a broken family.” His deep-seated anger led to depression, which then led to total rebellion. This further damaged his relationship with his father. In an attempt to assert control over his defiant son, his father would beat Manuel when they would get into disagreements—which happened often.

Manuel would drink everyday, hang out with his buddies, and play computer games; this became his routine. He eventually went to Manila, hoping that his mother would take him in and allow him to live with him. To his dismay, his mother turned him away, but promised to continue giving him money to provide for his needs. She couldn’t take him in anymore; she has already started her own family with another man.

Manuel Gan VGFeeling rejected and abandoned, Manuel spiraled further into depression. At the age of 14, he had to be checked into a rehabilitation center to address his alcohol addiction. “I stopped drinking for a while,” Manuel says, “But after some time, I fell back to my old habits.”

He left Nueva Ecija and started living on his own in Manila. This reconnected him with his mother, who has started attending Victory. Still unable to find a job, Manuel continued receiving money from his mother, who has long given up trying to reform him. “I was full of anger. Whenever she tried to interfere with my life, I would just get mad at her, and then we’d fight,” he explains. This went on until Manuel turned 30 years old. He realized he let his life pass by wallowing in self-pity, anger, and alcohol.

One of his arrangements with his mother was to drive her around. One Sunday, she asked him to drive her to Victory Fort. When he was invited to attend the worship service, Manuel surprisingly obliged but he had reservations. “I was compelled to attend because nothing was happening in my life,” he shares, “But at the same time I was judging my mother for being a Christian because I still saw her faults.”

Manuel Gan VWSoon, Manuel found himself attending Victory worship services regularly with his mother, who has already received Christ in her life. He was eventually connected to Alex Monis, who became his One 2 One mentor and Victory group leader. “I didn’t finish school, I don’t have any job to speak of, and I was an alcoholic for almost two decades but Kuya Alex didn’t make me feel inferior,” he shares. This year, Manuel finished One 2 One, and underwent Victory Weekend last May.

During Victory Weekend, he released himself from the bondage of alcoholism, low self-esteem and entitlement. For the first time in his life, Manuel felt unburdened and accepted without judgment. “I gave everything to Jesus,” he says, “I told Him that He is in charge of my life from now on.” His attitude towards life radically changed. Manuel realized he has a purpose, and that is to glorify God in his life. “There’s a reason He has still allowed me to live for this long after all the damage I’ve done to my body,” he says.

Slowly, his relationships with his family improved, emotional wounds were healed and Manuel learned the importance of forgiveness. He also developed a desire to preach the gospel to other people. Today, Manuel is studying more about discipleship and leadership at a ministry school in Parañaque. He is in faith that he will be able to reconnect with his old friends and share his testimony with them.

From someone who was so mired in hopelessness and anger, Manuel now desires to reach out to more people and tell them how God has changed his life around and given him purpose again

Overcoming Self-Righteousness

Overcoming Self-Righteousness

image (2)“I thought I knew God,” JR confesses, “After all, I prayed regularly and went to church.”

That was the mindset that the young professional had when his best friend invited him to one of Victory’s Sunday services. He knew he wasn’t a bad person. He was a sinner, compared to other people committing heinous crimes and making immoral decisions. Thinking that he was on relatively good terms with God, he made up excuses and declined his friend’s invitations numerous times.

Not one to be deterred, JR’s best friend continued to invite him, saying that he should just give it a chance because he had nothing to lose, anyway. “I finally said yes just to shut him up,” JR recalls. “It was only for two hours, so I relented.”

Once the two friends got in the worship hall, JR immediately felt a different kind of atmosphere. He remembers the day vividly. “It was weird, but in a good way. Everyone was singing, people were dancing, and they were raising their hands,” he added. “Deep inside, I was in awe!”

When the preaching started, JR couldn’t help but feel that the pastor was talking to him specifically. He left the church convinced that he would return; he knew that God spoke to him that day through the message, and it was unlike any other feeling he had before. It was something beyond mere attendance and muttering prayers; it was an encounter with God.

imageTwo years later, JR continued to attend worship services. One Sunday afternoon in 2013, he finally gathered up the courage to publicly surrender his life to Christ. “Before, I was so hesitant and shy to even respond to the altar call,” he reveals, “I guess there was still a bit of pride in me, so I would just respond to God quietly on my own.”

JR knew that his courage to step up and publicly acknowledge Jesus as his Savior came from God Himself. Emboldened, he knew he made the right choice. He immediately took steps to be connected to a Victory group, and that’s when he met Marlon Valientes, the guy who would become his Victory group leader. He was also introduced to Martin Remos, who would eventually lead him through ONE 2 ONE. On the first of June in 2014, JR publicly declared his faith in God during Victory Weekend.

“It felt so good to finally shout it out to the world!” he exclaims, “I was so glad God didn’t give up on me despite my many hesitations and insecurities.”

The change in JR may not be so evident on the outside; he didn’t have vices to get rid of nor did he have a perverse lifestyle, but inside, the transformation was drastic. God renewed his mind. He realized he was not better than other sinners, and there was no such thing as mild sinning. JR was so on fire with God’s love, he couldn’t help but tell other people what He did in his life. He joined this year’s prayer and fasting with these prayer requests in mind: to grow deeper in his relationship with God, to be involved in ministry, and to finally lead someone through ONE 2 ONE.

image (3)After a week, JR was invited by one of his friends to be part of the Tech and Stage ministry and he happily committed to serve. He has also started leading someone through ONE 2 ONE, and is in faith that God will empower him to disciple more people in the future.

“Discipleship is important because Jesus commanded us to make disciples,” he shares, “I want to preach the gospel to those who don’t know God because I know how it feels to be lost and just know him, instead of really knowing him.”

With the knowledge and understanding that everyone needs God, JR is believing for his whole family to be saved, too. “God is great,” he proclaims, “He is true to His promises, and that’s something we can always rely on.”

Never the Same

Never the Same

JD Perez“Frats, drugs, alcohol, and pornography,” twenty-year old JD Perez enumerates, when asked what ruled his life before he met Christ. Violence was so ingrained in his character that hurting other people was the norm for him. “I would beat up a guy just to prove I’m not afraid of him,” he shares.

His temper and misguided behavior estranged him from his family. His relationship with his siblings deteriorated, and he was disrespectful towards his elders. Instead of attending classes, he would spend his time at a computer shop to play video games all day. The rotten condition of his heart manifested through his words and actions. “I would chain smoke, get drunk, curse a lot, and beat up other people out of spite,” he shares, “I was the perfect example of immorality.”

With no regard for his future, JD exploited various vices and lived a hedonistic lifestyle. He became such a troublemaker that his neighborhood started treating him like a criminal.

JD Perez 3His turning point came during his third year in high school, when a friend invited him to attend a worship service for young people. That’s when he met Jomari Badiong, the guy who would eventually disciple him and become his mentor.

When he heard the gospel for the first time, JD discovered God’s radical love. “He completely took hold of my hardened heart and He taught me how to love and forgive,” he says.

Through <a href=”http://facebook.com/one2onediscipleship”>One 2 One</a>, JD learned of a Father’s love that is unconditional, steadfast and eternal. Faced with such overwhelming truth, JD couldn’t help but share how God transformed his life radically. He started preaching the gospel to other people, risking persecution and being called a hypocrite. After all, he was the neighborhood troublemaker.

“The gospel changed my life inside out, but I wasn’t content to be the only one experiencing God’s life-changing love,” he shares, “I had to share it to other people, no matter what.”

JD Perez VGWith encouragement from his mentor, Jomari, he felt empowered to start his own Victory group. Today, JD leads two Victory groups, and mentors college students aged 17 to 19 years.
He considers discipleship very important and stresses that a healthy relationship is a big part of it. “When you disciple someone, you discipline them because you love them,” he says, “After all, God doesn’t just want to see us saved, He wants see us changed, too.”

In the future, JD yearns to lead more people to Christ as he pursues his dream of becoming a Mechanical Engineer. “My mentor is so passionate in sharing the gospel, even in public places, that it rubbed off on me!” he exclaims. He is in faith that if God can change his hardened heart, He can also change the lives of his brothers and relatives, who have yet to know Christ.

“Discipleship is a catalyst of change!” he declares.

Welcome, Victory General Mariano Alvarez!

Join us this Sunday as we launch our 75th Victory church plant: Victory Gen. Mariano Alvarez!

Launch Details - Victory Gen Mariano Alvarez

From its humble beginnings as one initial Victory group that met here in June of 2015, our community has grown to 15 Victory groups that now meet in commercial establishments and campuses—specifically, the University of Perpetual Help.

“We started a monthly gathering in the University of Perpetual Help,” says Arnel Gallardo, our lead pastor in this church plant, “with an average of 120 attendees. More than 25 Victory groups and Victory group leaders were raised from those monthly meetings.”

Indeed, we make it a point to reach the campuses of the cities where we plant churches, so we can train and empower the next generation of leaders to make disciples.

Soon enough, our church plant steadily grew, and began holding worship services in Portal Mall. We are expectant and excited for more families, campuses, and businesses to be reached with the gospel.

Join us this Sunday, August 7, at 10 AM, at the Arena, in Portal Mall, for the grand launch of Victory Gen. Mariano Alvarez! Invite your family and friends!

Thriving Where God Places You

Thriving Where God Places You

Herreras 2When thirty-three-year-old Normi Herrera got married five years ago, she and her husband, Daniel, agreed that they would take a step of faith and build a single-income household. “I want to be present in the formative years of my kids,” she says, “Everyday is a teachable moment for them, so I want to be the one to do that.”

That meant not being able to use her degree in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs from the College of St. Benilde. It meant foregoing the fancy business attire and heels. It meant her staying at home 24/7, faced with routine domestic chores. It didn’t look and sound glamorous, but Normi knew it was something she had to do.

After starting a home with her husband, she gave birth to two boys–Ziki (four years old) and Amos (two years old). Being a full-time homemaker meant that she homeschooled her children from the time they could understand concepts and remember them. On top of being their teacher, she also has to juggle household tasks. “I have my hands full!” she shares, “I have to carefully schedule my day, especially when I was still doing freelance writing. Otherwise, it would be pure chaos.”

To accomplish her writing jobs, Normi would write after her kids have gone to bed. She would be up after midnight, trying to finish her tasks before her deadline. Sleeping less and working more made her cranky and short-fused. It affected the way she dealt with her kids and her husband. “I would rush bedtime, just so I can go to work already,” she shares. It also distracted her from her regular devotion and quiet time, because she would end up thinking about the things she needed to finish. Eventually, Normi knew she had to give up her writing job, even if it meant lesser income for them.Herrera family

With her husband’s support, Normi decided to focus again on being a full-time homemaker without the distractions of a freelance job.  “Being in a single-income household wasn’t easy,” she confesses, “There were times that my husband and I were counting the last of our savings, but we’re always blown away with how God is truly faithful in providing for His children.”

Despite the challenges of being a full-time homemaker, Normi still understands the importance of discipling other women. “We stopped leading a Victory group when my kids were much smaller,” she shares, “But our senior pastor, Pastor Noel Ojerio and his wife Maryjune, assured us that we should not feel bad about not being active in the ministry for a time because our season then was to raise our kids. After all, Victory’s core value is family.” The kind of understanding and encouragement their mentors gave them helped Normi and Daniel be wiser in their discipleship of other people.
After finding their groove and settling into a workable routine, the couple went back to discipling other married couples. Being a full-time mother, Normi saw the need to help other mothers learn how to manage their household and fully depend on the Lord while doing it. “Whether you’re a working mom or a full-time homemaker, mothers struggle with the same issues,” she explains, “You worry about how to be fully present for your husband, how to properly care for your kids, and how to manage your home. So, I want them to find Jesus first, and be established in Him.”

Their involvement in the ministry became more permanent when Daniel was hired as full-time staff of Victory Caloocan. Normi knew that her husband would take a pay cut if he left his profession as an architect, but she had no doubts that God would provide for them. “There was also clarity from God’s word and support from our mentors,” she shares, “I was fully confident that with his decision to obey, God would cover all our needs.”

TVG Herrerarue enough, last Prayer and Fasting week, Normi saw God’s hand fulfill her simple request. With all the household chores she faces everyday, she wanted an automatic washing machine, so she can multitask better. It was something she wanted since last year, but they didn’t have the extra funds for it. “I wrote it down as one of my faith goals,” she reveals, “It sounds so shallow, but it was so important to me!”

After Prayer and Fasting week ended, Normi received a message asking for the amount of the washing machine she wanted. It was from a friend who heard that she wanted a washing machine, and she wanted to bless Normi and Daniel with one. Knowing how expensive it is, Normi considered replying with a small amount. “I wanted to tell her to just bless us with the amount they can give, and we’ll just cover the remainder,” she confesses, “But I was rebuked by the Holy Spirit. Amidst my hesitation, God assured me that I have asked and believed, so here it is.”VG Herrera 2

She gave the right amount, and her friend deposited the exact amount they needed. They were able to buy the washing machine at a discounted price, which meant that there was even a little extra money left. “I cried tears of joy!” Normi exclaims, “God’s faithfulness is amazing. He really assures us that He is mindful of us down to the tiniest details.”

With all the goodness and grace they experience in their life, Normi couldn’t help but continue to share it with other people. Along with her husband, she regularly mentors other married couples. “When a marriage is shaken, and it is not grounded in the Lord, it can eventually add to the number of broken families,” she says. She also finds time to mentor single women, too. As for her husband, Daniel will enroll in the School of Church Planting this September to fulfill his calling as a church planter.

Right now, the couple is praying for a graceful transition as this change impacts their family. Normi is also in faith that she will be able to reach out to more women and help them navigate their lives. “I am a mother and a wife, so be it through birth counseling, breastfeeding consultation, or discipleship, I will do what God tells me to do with the season He has given me.”

The Man Who Lost Everything

The Man Who Lost Everything

Vincent Garcia had everything he wanted. At 20 years old, he had more money than a young man should have. He could eat anything, go anywhere, and do whatever his heart desired. He was a self-described spoiled brat, and he loved it. He was enrolled in various schools in San Juan, Manila, but never paid attention to his education.

“I would go to school for my allowance,” he confesses, “And to meet girls.” He took BS Business Management at the Central Colleges of the Philippines, but never completed his course.

Vincent GarciaInitially indulging merely in designer clothes and expensive perfume, Vincent’s penchant for a hedonistic lifestyle soon found him experimenting with drugs and joining dangerous motorcycle drag races. One night, after winning a race with his friends, they decided to celebrate. Vincent got on his motorcycle, without a helmet on, and cruised along a highway in Morong, Rizal to meet his friends who were also on their way to their party venue. Before he could reach his destination, Vincent figured in a head-on collision with a pick-up truck.

“I didn’t exactly know what happened but I woke up with a fractured left leg,” he shares, “I also dislocated my right knee.” The doctors had to put metal plates in his legs to secure the fractions and dislocations. The accident wasn’t enough to keep Vincent away from his indulgent and illegal lifestyle. After he had healed enough to be able to walk with crutches, he returned to his wayward life, with little concern for his future.

Because he couldn’t ride motorcycles anymore, Vincent soon found another hobby. He brought his mobile phone to a friend to have it repaired. There, he found out that repairing mobile phones actually interested him. He asked his friend to take him in as a shop assistant. While working at the shop, he developed his skills and studied more about cellphone repair. Some time later, Vincent was able to put up his own cellphone repair shop. He had additional income again, but despite the second chance he was given, he still chose to spend his money on his dangerous lifestyle.

In 2009, Vincent met Grace, and they started living together. After a year, Grace gave birth to their son Kurt. With this big change in his life, Vincent attempted to live a healthier lifestyle, unable to reconcile being a father with his life as a drug user. Eventually, he realized that his current lifestyle was not the solution, and for the first time in his self-indulgent life, Vincent wanted to find peace. He wanted to change.

It was then, however, that his business took a downturn: he started losing clients. To make matters worse, Vincent’s father was soon diagnosed with lung cancer, and cursed his son for his bad luck.  Vincent tried to meet the needs of his growing family by starting a business, but even that failed. Left with nothing, he never felt more alone in his life. Without a way out, Vincent contemplated the only thing he could do: suicide. “I was ready; I had no other options,” he confesses, “I had no value or purpose left.”

At his lowest moment, devoid of any hope, everything blurred for Vincent. He was in his room, with muddled thoughts of ending his life, when he spotted the only lucid thing he could see: a book. Though covered with a thick layer of dust accumulated through years of storage, Vincent pulled out The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and suddenly started reading.  Filled by a deep, unfathomable need to do what was written in the book, Vincent decided then and there to stop doing drugs. “I told myself, drugs are history,” he says, “A bad page in my story.”

Vincent - VGThe Purpose-driven Life recommended Vincent find a small group. He went to a nearby church, inquired, but was rejected. However, the rejection couldn’t douse the fire in his heart. For the first time, Vincent prayed. It was a short four-word prayer, “What shall I do?” And for the first time, Vincent heard a voice so comforting and clear, a voice he absolutely knew he could trust.

“I knew it was Jesus,” he shares, “My heart was pounding but I felt peace for the first time. It was beyond explanation.” He knew Jesus was telling him to read the book again, from the beginning. When Vincent opened the book, he saw a handwritten note behind the cover. It was from his cousin, whom he had been avoiding for the longest time. Vincent didn’t waste any time. He called his cousin, and soon, the two of them were on their way to Victory Fort.

Seeds of God’s Word were sown in Vincent’s fertile and thirsty soul. He was prayed upon, and in no time, he underwent One 2 One. Without struggle nor doubt, he surrendered his life to Christ, the only one who has given him peace that transcends understanding.

Vincent Victory WeekendWhile doing One to One, Vincent was given the opportunity to clean landline phones in an insurance company, on a weekly basis. His wages were meager compared to what he used to receive, but there was contentment and gratitude in his heart. “I knew God is my provider, it was indescribable joy,” he declares, “I knew that God was moving in my life.”

After his Victory Weekend, Vincent made up his mind to return to his cellphone repair business, acknowledging that his skill to repair cellphones was given to him by God. Without any capital, he prayed to God and asked Him for his go signal to start his business again. God answered his prayer by sending people who would help raise the business capital he needed. Before long, Vincent was able to set-up his stall again. With the help of his spiritual family, he got back in business and decided to save up for his surgical bone operation. 

Grace and Vincent“The metal plates the doctors used when I got in an accident were actually the wrong plates,” he reveals, “My legs got infected.” Vincent was ready for his operation. He was just waiting for the surgeon’s schedule to be finalized.

While waiting for his operation date, something started nudging the peace he had. Vincent realized, he had been living with his longtime partner, Grace, since 2009. Wanting to set everything in his life right before God, Vincent decided to forego the much-needed operation for his legs, and decided to marry Grace. In a simple ceremony prepared by his Victory group, on the 18th of July 2015, Vincent and Grace tied the knot before God.

Seeing Vincent’s desire to please Him, God gave him a surprise. A client who brought her iPad to be repaired found out about Vincent’s need for a surgery. As he was doing the repairs, Vincent talked about Jesus. When the repair was completed, he mentioned that he was going away for a while because of his operation. His client then suggested that Vincent take a second opinion at their hospital, the Philippine Air Force Hospital. He was also offered to have his operation in the said hospital, with a better solution, at the same expense and a faster recovery period. He was endorsed by his client’s husband, a senior officer in the Philippine Air Force.

Phil Air Force hospital personnelWhen Vincent chose to honor God by marrying Grace, Vincent’s operation became God’s concern. Truly, God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. As Vincent chooses to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first, everything is added unto him.

Today, he shares God’s love to every customer he encounters in his stall at the Greenhills Shopping Center. He serves clients from all over the country and has continuously received excellent feedback. “For every repair or inquiry brought before me, I work at it with all my heart because I  know that it is the Lord whom I’m serving.”

Today, Vincent is part of a coaching group and also leads his own Victory group.  He has preached the gospel and the goodness of God to his sister, Mercy, and to his sister-in-law, Michelle. Both Mercy and Michelle attended Victory Weekend together and belong to the same Victory group.

God has truly begun a good work in Vincent. From the man who has lost everything, he is now the man who has gained everything in Christ. That, for Vincent, is more than enough.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save