Imparting a Righteous Fight

Imparting a Righteous Fight

“Lord, I did everything I knew to do to make my life remarkable, so I can give the glory to you,” states Pastor Greg Wark, alluding to what he would want to tell God face-to-face when he meets Him.

Pastor Greg, the founder of Force Ministries, a non-profit organization that uses mentoring relationships to help soldiers and their families grow as leaders, spoke to more than 2,800 men from different parts of Metro Manila, for the talk Boots on the Ground. The event discussed what it means to be a man in today’s age. It was held at different Victory locations last week. Pastor Greg’s ministry partner JT McCraw, founder of the BE MEN Movement, also spoke at the event.

“Manhood is defined when you are in combat,” Pastor Greg says, expounding on the truth that every man must be in a righteous fight. He notes that “a man without a righteous fight will degenerate.”

He emphasized that as followers of Christ and believers in the gospel and God’s Word, “we have a solution to every problem man can invent.”

“Go out there and do something,” he adds, telling the audience that if we are to put on the armor of God, it’s because you need to “go somewhere where you’re going to get hit.” “He wants you where evil is prevailing,” he continued, citing his experience in venturing to dangerous and conflict-ridden sites, with the ultimate goal of expressing God’s love and compassion to those in need.

“Jesus only took one thing on earth, His scars,” Pastor Greg explains, highlighting that every man is “born with a mission inside of our soul,” referencing how Jesus best exemplified this during His ministry here on earth.

“You’re either going to be weighed down with the weapons you need in your future, or weighed with the wounds of the past,” says Pastor Greg, reminding the attendees that they need to be healed from the wounds of the past before getting into the fight. After his part of the talk where he discussed the need for men to always be ready for the mission God has called them to, he invited Pastor JT to preach about the need for healing.

Pastor JT discussed the three wounds that every man needs to address: the father wound, mother wound, and friend wound. All these have an effect on how a man interacts with the world around him and sees himself. “When you have those wounds, you’ll accept passivity and reject responsibility,” he says.

Pastor JT also encouraged everyone to accept responsibility, lead courageously, and invest eternally. He then proceeded to lead the men in attendance in a time of prayer and ministry, reminding everyone that “those wounds inflicted on you (are) not your fault.”

“Don’t take your wounds into battle,” he notes, sharing that a relationship with the Father, commitment and focus to our mission as men, and strong friendships with other godly men, are necessary for these wounds to heal.

After Pastor JT spoke, Pastor Greg came up the stage to close the meeting. He asked the men to do a prophetic act, encouraging them to clench their fist, as if holding onto something. It would symbolize the issues and the pains they have been holding on. “I want you to cast it on the ground and step on it,” says Pastor Greg. The minister counted to three and altogether, a chorus of feet stomping could be heard across the auditorium, not unlike the inspiring cadence of boots on the ground, marching on to fulfill their mission.

Shepherding the Black Sheep

Shepherding the Black Sheep

“I debated many things with her,” Kath reveals, “but I couldn’t question her changed life.”

Twenty-two-year-old Kathlene Parungao shares how her close friend and discipler, Kara de Leos, steered her from her self-serving lifestyle to a life that honors God. The two girls met in college in a less than typical way. “I didn’t like her at first because she was dressed in a way that irked me. It’s probably a girl thing,” Kath laughs, “I knew she was a party girl like me.”

Coming from a Christian family, Kath knew about the gospel and salvation but, as with all the other members of her family, her knowledge didn’t translate to a changed life. “I thought Christianity was just about following a set of rules, looking good in the eyes of people, and going to church every Sunday,” she shares, “I never understood that it was about a relationship with God.”

Growing up, Kath would attend church out of fear that she won’t be saved if she missed a Sunday. Her so-called Christian life evolved around a “good works mentality.” For her, God was Someone too far to reach. Christianity was in her mind, but it never touched her heart. She never established the necessary foundations in her Christian journey.

During her teenage years, she harbored anger towards her parents and felt that no one really loved her. She started to fill her need for acceptance through her peers. “I did things that I never thought I’d do just so people could accept me or be friends with me,” she reveals. Soon, she entered into a wrong relationship, learned how to drink and smoke, and embraced the night life. Kath was branded the black sheep of the family.

Victory Group When she entered college, Kath became her worst nightmare. “Because of my rebelliousness, I brought a lot of pain to my family,” she confesses, “I’ve made my mom cry, my siblings, my lola, and probably even my dad! That’s how hardened I was.” She also started influencing other people with her wayward lifestyle.

Every day after school, Kath and her friends would go straight to Greenbelt to hang out and drink. It became their routine, until one day, Kath was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. “I heard a voice ask me if I was really happy destroying my life and lying to my parents, she reveals, “It asked me if I was happy trying to live up to the world’s standards.” Faced with reality, Kath had to be honest with herself and accept that she wasn’t really happy. She knew that if she kept up with her lifestyle, it would only be a matter of time before she crashed and burned.

“I knew I needed help, so I started praying,” she says, “I prayed every single night: God save me.”

Kath eventually transferred to De La Salle University, seeing this as an opportune time to start on a clean slate. Unfortunately, without a strong foundation and by relying completely on her own will, Kath was swallowed by temptations and ended up reverting back to her life as a party girl. In her new university, she felt that it was still her old life.

Until one day, she noticed something different in Kara, the girl in her class who annoyed her. She felt the feeling was mutual. She knew Kara partied hard like her. “But when I saw her again, she was different! She was dressed modestly and her face was radiant,” she exclaims, “I felt that she had a lighter spirit, and that really got me curious. So, I stalked her online!”

Kath found Kara’s blog, wherein she wrote how God saved her life. Being a party girl herself, Kath related so much to what she read. She sent a message to Kara on Facebook and asked her more about her transformation. It was a call for help, and Kara answered right away. She invited Kath to the La Salle cluster of Every Nation Campus Philippines, where students gathered for Victory group meetings.

“I was so shocked because people there were so kind even after knowing my story,” Kath shares, “I didn’t feel judged. I didn’t feel that I had to do anything to be accepted.” It was a far cry from her experience of pleasing people for approval. From her life-changing encounter that day, Kath was connected to a Victory group.

Kara started leading her to ONE 2 ONE, and patiently walked with her in her new Christian journey. “I saw her relationship with God and how she was so deeply in love with Jesus. So, I prayed to God, ‘Lord, I want that kind of faith, too.’”

Kath started reading the Bible, in faith that God would speak to her, too just like how He spoke with Kara. She would read His word everyday, always praying for Him to speak to her. Until one day, she got her answer. “I couldn’t forget the day God finally spoke to me! All my questions were answered. It all made sense, she reveals, “That encounter is the encounter I always go back to whenever I feel the urge to give up. God spoke to someone as small as me. He had me at my worst and still chose to love me. What a personal God!”

This encounter stoked a fire in Kath’s heart. She felt an overflow of love that she had to share with other people. She went back to her previous church to inspire her friends there that it is possible to have a relationship with Jesus. She also started leading others to One 2 One, until she was able to create Victory groups in high school and in La Salle.

Kath VGHer family, who initially persecuted her, also started attending church after seeing the dramatic change in Kath. After years of praying for them, Kath is ecstatic to see them being discipled. Her sister has just undergone Victory Weekend, while her brother just finished ONE 2 ONE. Their mother now attends a Victory group and Kath is excited for her to start ONE 2 ONE, too. “I thought reconciliation was impossible,” she confesses, “But it’s happening now by God’s grace.”

Recently, Kath was given an opportunity to go on her first mission trip to India. She couldn’t help but be amazed at how God uses her for His mighty purpose. Three years after she met Kara, Kath still helps in the campus even after having graduated for a year already. “Imagine, with my previous lifestyle, I was so close to doing drugs, until God sent her to me. She took a chance at me before the world could! If she delayed her obedience, I would probably still be the old me.” With this, Kath realized that every second counts.

Throughout her journey, she learned that the youth can make or break the future of this nation. She admits that it’s not an easy journey to lead other people, but for her, there’s nothing that compares to winning the souls of young people for Jesus Christ. She is in faith that one day, the young people she’s discipling will choose to honor God and stand for what’s right wherever they’re planted. <

“I realized being a Christian is more than having a religion, but it’s a relationship with Jesus. It’s as real as any relationship we have now.” From being a black sheep, she is now sheep of His pasture, a disciple of Jesus who was lost and has now been found.

Leading By Example

Leading By Example

Oliver Odono“When I was younger,” says Oliver Odono, “I told myself, ‘whatever happens, I will never change my religion.'”

Because their parents both had to work to make ends meet, Oliver and his sister were raised by their grandmother, a devout woman who introduced them to religious traditions that they practiced but never fully understood.

“I memorized prayers,” Oliver recalls, “and grew up making regular trips to the church every Sunday.” This was their arrangement until he finished high school. Just before college, he decided to leave his hometown to study in Lucban, Quezon.

“Being independent, I experienced a lot,” Oliver shares. His world expanded, and he met new people. As a sophomore at Southern Luzon State University, he started looking for organizations in school, and was eventually introduced to Youth on Fire (known today as Every Nation Campus Philippines).

“I joined Youth On Fire activities with my friends, despite knowing that it’s different from my beliefs growing up,” Oliver shares. As he grew closer to his Youth on Fire friends, observing them friends time to time during prayer meetings, he sensed something had changed within him; something was not the same. One day in September 2003, Oliver went to church and listened to the preaching. The message affected him significantly, and he found himself responding to the altar call.

Oliver realized he was relying on his own good deeds and religious sacrifices to give him peace of mind. Because he was a good student and was generally obedient to his parents, he didn’t really believe that he needed anything more. However, he envied the joy that seemed to emanate from his new Christian friends at SLSU–it wasn’t a work-for-it kind of joy, but a kind of joy that can only be seen from lives that has found their purpose–and wanted what they had. He realized that it wasn’t about religion; it was about relationship with a God who loved him unconditionally, and Oliver sought to build relationships with others who could help him grow deeper in his relationship with God. Before long, Oliver met Victory group leader Paolo Grande, and was connected to his Victory group.

“Paolo didn’t waste time,” Oliver says, “He did One 2 One with me and was patient in answering my questions.” Oliver also started volunteering in Victory Lucban, and served in the music ministry. After graduating, he went to Manila to take the board exam.

Fast forward to 2010, Oliver returned to the Philippines after working in Macau, China for two years. “God blessed me with a Christian church I can be part of while I was there,” Oliver shares. When the financial crisis hit, he was forced to go back to the Philippines. After several months, God gave him a job at a hotel in Makati.

“Victory Makati didn’t exist then, so I started a new journey at Victory Pioneer,” he says, “I was introduced to Jim, who became my Victory group leader.” Jim empowered Oliver, and encouraged him to lead his own Victory group, too. Before the year ended, Oliver started leading making disciples and his first Victory Oliver 7group was formed.

“We grew in number because of God’s goodness and faithfulness,” he shares, “I went through One 2 One with them just like how my leader patiently went through One 2 One with me.”

Asked how he raises leaders, Oliver says he encourages them to lead their own group lead other people through One 2 One. He then identifies those who are capable and willing to lead. Last year, two of his Victory group members informed him that they wanted to lead their own Victory groups. Because of this, Oliver divided his Victory group into four smaller Victory groups, and assigned leaders to each one. “Every week, I attend to a specific group, so I can assist the leaders, and mentor them on areas they can improve,” he shares. Once he sees that the leaders can already lead on their own, he stops attending the group, and starts building a new one. “Today, I have six new members in my Victory group,” he says, “I’m also thankful to God because I became a discipleship coach last year.”

Oliver Odono 3For Oliver, raising leaders is not an easy task, but it is very rewarding. When he sees his Victory group members raising other leaders, he can’t help but be overwhelmed by God’s grace and goodness. For him, it’s just a matter of paying it forward and honoring God by leading people to Him, because a long time ago, someone also took the time to tell him about God at a time he needed Him most.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Living Out Servant Leadership

Living Out Servant Leadership

Adel Intervalo “YOLO. That was my mindset, then. I wanted to try everything.” This was the philosophy that 21-year old Adel Intervalo adhered to when she was still a student at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. A self-confessed party girl, she found herself wanting to audition for the UP Streetdance Club. To her delight, she passed. She joined the team, and started to officially train with them. That’s where she met Mark, a student from Victory Malate who would always preach the gospel before they start training. “I was an atheist that time,” Adel reveals, “I was really curious why this person was so deeply in love with Jesus.”

Adel dealt with issues of rejection and abandonment in her high school years, and brought these baggage with her until college. She described herself as violent, and she was constantly angry at her mother and sisters. She tried all the vices she encountered, and partied hard.

Eventually, God paved the way for Adel to meet more Christians in the university. Her curiosity turned to wonder. “They made me curious about having a relationship with Jesus,” she confesses, “I was beginning to ask myself why they’re so happy, and I’m not.” Her hunger to know more about Jesus gave her the motivation to attend a youth service at Victory Metro East, after being invited by a friend from high school.

That day, during the youth service, Adel surrendered her life to Christ. However, it would take her some time to grasp God’s lordship in her life. Several months passed before she agreed to go through ONE 2 ONE, and eventually, Victory Weekend with her mentor, Janine Bitoren. Adel’s relationship with her family improved, and she started preaching the gospel to her mother and sisters.

Ate JanineRecognizing Adel’s potential, Janine raised and empowered her to be a leader. Soon, Adel was leading fellow students at the UP-Diliman and at Metro East. She is also a volunteer at Victory Antipolo, which was birthed through a campus outreach. She met more students at Victory Antipolo and started leading them in a Victory group, too. “The students who would reason out that Victory Metro East is far from where they live, now have no excuse but to attend,” she laughs.

For Adel, it was instrumental that her mentor empowered her because it gave her the courage and the motivation to step up and lead. She brought this same encouraging environment in her own Victory group, too. “Ate Janine stepped down, so that we can rise up, so I do the same to the young people I’m leading,” she shares. “Most importantly, I became secure that leading is not really about me, but about Jesus. I’m not better than the people that I am leading, I’m simply the one that God used to lead them.”

Leading other people to Christ brings joy to her heart. However, it is not without challenges. Because she is taking on a leadership role at such a young age, Adel has encountered feelings of insecurity and unworthiness. Nevertheless, she always receives an assurance from God that it is He who will supply her with wisdom and the right words to say. “God would remind me that He is the one who will change people, not me,” she shares.

Victory groupBeing a student, there were also times that Adel had to sacrifice her resources to bless others. She would go to Antipolo to minister to people, which would require her own time and money. There were instances that she was tempted to stop leading, especially when she would entertain the lies that her efforts are of no use. “Every time I would be ready to tell my Victory group that I will be introducing them to another leader, every time that moment comes up, I end up ministering to them instead,” she shares. “That always reminds me that God entrusted people to me for a purpose.”

Seeing God move in these people’s lives gives her joy, so much that her hard work pales in comparison. After encountering the love of Christ, Adel finds it selfish not to share it with others. She continues reaching out to others because she believes that if God could bring hope in her life, then He could do it in anyone’s life. “All sacrifices are not in vain and are nothing compared to what Jesus did for us,” she says.

When Adel surrendered her life to Christ, she experienced what she calls the greatest miracle in her life. God changed her life, and used that to reach her family. Now, her mother and her sisters have a relationship with Jesus, and they continue to grow in their faith. Adel is in awe whenever she would see them leading people to God, or serving in church, and in their campus.

For Adel, Christ satisfied the emptiness she had in her heart for so long. It changed her self-centered mindset to a Christ-centered one, and aligned her desires to His purposes. “From just the desire to change the kind of life I have,” she explains, “He gave me the desire to help others change the path they take. I have the desire to disciple students who are broken, because I know that God’s love can change them into the kind of person that He could use mightily.”

Victory Zamboanga is Now Ready to Charge!

Victory Zamboanga is Now Ready to Charge!

Last month, Victory Zamboanga conducted their own Discipleship conference in Tumaga, Zamboanga City.

The event attracted a total of 124 leaders and interns, including leaders from our Victory Ipil church plant who already started their first Victory groups several weeks ago. Following the theme, Charge!, the conference focused on the power that the Holy Spirit gives us to carry out the charge to honor God with our lives and make disciples.

The participants heard updates on the discipleship efforts that have been undertaken to reach the youth of Zamboanga. Because of the growing discipleship culture among the young people there, our church will be launching a worship service for college students this month. The conference also touched on world missions, which Victory Zamboanga will take part in, by sending short-term missioners to the nations of Indonesia and Mongolia this year.

Please continue to pray for our church in Zamboanga to be a witness to Mindanao and the southern islands. As our current and upcoming Victory group leaders go back to their respective communities refreshed and recharged, they will continue to make more disciples, train leaders, and plant churches charged with the Holy Spirit. 

When God Qualifies The Called

When God Qualifies The Called

Victory group leaders Hendry and Vicky Larcia When Hendry and Vicky Larcia came to know Christ in 1994, the husband and wife team initially contented themselves with attending church. This changed in 2007, when they were challenged by people they met at Victory Pioneer, who encouraged them to be more than just benchwarmers.

“We were hesitant to take part in any church ministry,” the couple says, “but God opened our hearts and minds.”

Deciding to be taught and discipled, Hendry and Vicky went through ONE 2 ONE and Victory Weekend, which further fanned the fire already burning inside them. After undergoing further leadership development classes, they realized that they couldn’t help but reach out to other people.

HendryVicky3“We realized it is necessary for every believer to reach out to the lost,” the couple says, “we are not meant to keep the good news of salvation to ourselves.”

From being two apathetic churchgoers who couldn’t even be bothered to participate in church activities, Hendry and Vicky became ardent fishers of men. As they studied God’s Word together, they established meaningful relationships and were able to minister to other people along the way. Their marriage, as a result, became stronger; their lives, as seen by their children, exemplified obedience and humility.

Their church community soon became their spiritual family. When their youngest son, Paul, was hospitalized due to dengue fever, there was an overflow of prayers, encouragement and support from the people they were discipling. Hendry and Vicky realized, they may be leading these people, but in return they get ministered  by them, too. The people they were helping also provided comfort during their difficult moments.

Hendry_VickyFor Hendry and Vicky, leadership is a two-way street. As they continue to lead and bless others, they are in turned filled with awe and wonder for God’s love as they witness marriages restored, sick people healed, lives transformed, and people receiving breakthroughs.

Together with their Victory group, they have conducted outreach programs to impact different groups of people who need help. For Christmas, they sang carols and gave gifts to kids in San Miguel; then threw a party for 50 street children at McDonald’s in Barangka, Mandaluyong. When Habagat struck, their group donated relief goods to the typhoon victims. Their generosity extended to Quezon City when they conducted a feeding program and gift giving for 65 abandoned children there. They also reached out to children at the pediatric ward of Philippine General Hospital. All of these acts of kindness merely serve as vessels to their one true message, which is God’s gift of salvation.

HendryVickyFor Hendry and Vicky, these are the best moments of their lives: the times that they preach God’s Word while helping other people. From a couple of benchwarmers, Hendry and Vicky now excel as discipleship coaches with a fervent desire to go out of their comfort zone and reach out to other people. Humbled to be used by God, they are purposeful in excelling for His glory and believe that it is by the Holy Spirit that they are able to teach, and love, and give.

Financial Coach Randell Tiongson On Discipleship

Financial Coach Randell Tiongson On Discipleship

victory_christian_fellowship_randell_familyRandell Tiongson is a busy man. Before he sat down with me for an interview, he just came from Central Luzon for a speaking engagement. With his 25 years of experience in the Financial Service industry, he has become one of the most sought after speakers and one of the most respected personal finance coaches in the country. He regularly makes trips abroad to educate OFWs about finance, too. As if that’s not enough, he is also a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a trainer, an author, and best of all, a family man and a father of four. Busy man, indeed.

What many people outside church may not know is that he’s also a Victory Group leader and a disciple maker. And despite his hectic schedule, these roles are non-negotiable for him. Asked about his own discipleship story, he attributes his initial exposure to church to his high school friend, wealth and life coach Chinkee Tan. His first experience of a worship service didn’t automatically change him, though. It took time, and the mentorship of another good friend, writer and entrepreneur Francis Kong, before he finally understood the gospel.

It was 2008 when Randell started attending the then-newly planted Victory Greenhills. That’s where he met Pastors Larry Uy and Dennis Sy, two men who were instrumental to his growth in his faith. He was invited to join a Victory Group and from there, he was discipled and empowered to lead.

“I had so many people discipling me. God gave me different people for the different seasons of my life,” he said.

He was drawn to the KIDS ministry and for two years, he played an active role there. After some time, he felt that he was ready to lead his own Victory Group, as well.

“Leadership is not intuitive. It’s something you have to learn,” he shares.

Victory group with Randell TiongsonThanks to his leaders who discipled him with the intention of making him lead one day, Randell didn’t find it daunting to mentor new Christians and even those who have been in the faith longer than him. At age 49, it’s interesting to note that his own Victory Group is composed of men in their mid-twenties and late-thirties. He empowers these disciples, so every time he’s out of the country, someone can take over and lead their group. “Our Victory Group meetings don’t stop just because I’m in another country,” he says, “I’m always training somebody.”

The role is not without challenges, though. He recognizes the tremendous responsibility that comes with being a leader and he has had his fair share of lessons learned the hard way. Randell shares a time that he became overeager as a leader, which made him lose touch of the heart of discipleship, which is relationship. One of his disciples was undergoing a lot of pressure and stress, and Randell  responded with rules, instead of love and understanding. As a result, his disciple distanced himself from him and their Victory Group.

“I did everything by the book, but it’s my execution that failed. We should always work for restoration because God’s love is restorative and redemptive,” he explains.

He realized that the role of a leader is not only to take a stand and draw the line, but also to do this in a manner that is nurturing, not alienating.

The rewards outweigh the challenges, though. He says it’s when he sees his disciples maturing in their faith and producing their own fruits–that’s when he feels most rewarded. “God is the reward. Friendship is the reward,” he shares.

Aside from church discipleship, Randell also lives out the “making disciples” call of Victory in his work. He has always been missional, and has always used his platform to minister to people, in and out of church, and even in other churches. “It’s good to teach people about money because you’re ministering to a felt need,” he explains. He makes sure that he builds a certain level of discipleship culture through his work engagements. There were times people got ministered and led to God through one of his blog posts, his book, a television appearance or a seminar he conducted. “Everything I teach is hinged on my value system, and because I’m a Christian, I have Christian values,” he shares.

When asked about his advice to people who feel that God is calling them to leadership, he answers like the true finance coach that he is. “Don’t rush things,” he says. In a world that glorifies loudness and big starts, he advocates doing things with baby steps. “Start with one. And then it will become two, and then three,” he explains. He cautions against the temptation to shoulder the responsibility of “getting” people to believe, and stresses that it is the Holy Spirit’s job.

Randell also emphasizes the importance of being part of a local church community. The times he felt down and ready to give up as a leader were the times that his community of friends in church showed their support the most. “Discipleship is relationship” couldn’t be more real in his life.

Despite his successes and his busy schedule, Randell values making disciples the most because he recognizes that it’s the Lord’s command. It is also cultural for him, referring to Victory’s environment of disciple-making. Lastly, it’s an overflow of his love for God. “My life drastically changed because someone discipled me,” he declares, “why would I deprive other people of that opportunity?”

 

Our Provincial Churches Are Ready To Charge!

Central LuzonLast month, thousands of Victory Group leaders and interns converged in our churches in Central Luzon, One Cebu Hub, and Batangas Hub for our annual Discipleship Conference. Following the theme, “Charge!” the conference aimed to empower our leaders to rely on the Holy Spirit as they go and make disciples. Nearly 3,000 current and upcoming Victory group leaders were equipped and empowered to make disciples and build foundations.

For Central Luzon, our churches in Angeles, Aurora, Balanga, Baliwag, Cabanatuan, City of San Fernando, Clark, Dinalupihan, Gapan, Malolos, Meycauayan, Olongapo, Plaridel, Subic, and Tarlac held their Discipleship Conference last April 23 at the Fontana Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga. All leaders present, including 130 volunteers from different centers who served during the event, were charged to impact their cities when they return home.  From last year’s 1,300 attendees, there was a total of 2,000 participants at this year’s conference, making that a 53% increase for 2016.

Central LuzonFor our Batangas Hub, a total of 614 participants from our churches in Batangas, Lipa, Tanauan, and Sto. Tomas converged in Victory Lipa, Batangas, last April 9. The conference served to change the mindset of our Victory group leaders and interns, giving them confidence to engage and empower disciples, knowing the Holy Spirit would give them power to do it because When they got back to their respective areas, these leaders started raising other leaders, and some of our interns started leading their own Victory groups.

For our One Cebu Hub, our churches in Cebu and Talisay conducted their Discipleship Conference last April 30, at the J Centre Mall in Mandaue City, Cebu. A total of 345 leaders and interns were refreshed as they reviewed the previous discipleship conferences, which had the themes, GO!, NEXT, and Now! — and then connected them to this year’s, “Charge!” They were empowered by the message of Pastor Zab, who talked about being “Charged by the Holy Spirit” and Pastor Raymund, who taught them “How to Share the Gospel.”

Central LuzonThe conference was also an opportune time for our leaders in our two congregations to fellowship and enjoy each other’s company after the event by taking photos at the photo booth, sharing snacks and exchanging stories over drinks. At the end of the event, our leaders and interns were able to take home their complimentary 21-day devotionals, as they go back to their respective communities motivated and emboldened to share the gospel.

Stop Giving Lip Service to Christianity

Stop Giving Lip Service to Christianity

In his blog post entitled, “You Don’t Believe In What You’re Saying,” Pastor Paolo Punzalan talks about the importance of practicing what we preach. As Christians, we need to live a life of integrity because we are living testimonies of the transforming love of Christ. Pastor Paolo quoted Matthew 23:3, “Pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach,” which is Jesus’ warning about religious leaders who don’t walk the talk. Pastor Paolo cautions us that outward appearances can be deceiving. Nevertheless, the fruit of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness—will always be evident in a person whose life is truly aligned with Christ—a Christian life that is not merely giving lip service to Christianity. It doesn’t mean we have to lead perfect lives, but it is important to always strive for Christlikeness. Being a Christian shouldn’t mean being adept at Christianity, or knowing the Bible from cover to cover, or knowing the right words to say. The word “Christian” should mean “changed by the

power of the gospel”—repenting of sin and receiving new life in Christ. It should mean, “walking to follow Jesus.”

Why Trust is So Important in a Discipleship Relationship by Joey Bonifacio

Why Trust is So Important in a Discipleship Relationship by Joey Bonifacio

In this mini message, Pastor Joey Bonifacio talks about the importance of trust in a discipleship relationship. There are universal principles that bring relationships together, and trust–which is another word for faith–is the foundation. Like the building of a relationship, trust doesn’t happen overnight. It has varying degrees, which is why it needs to be grown and nurtured. When we disciple someone, we establish trust and help them grow in their faith in God.

ONE 2 ONE app gets APPdated!

ONE 2 ONE app gets APPdated!

This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of ONE 2 ONE. To commemorate this milestone, we’re excited to announce that we’ve upgraded the ONE 2 ONE app on Android and iOS!

This upgrade allows you to now save multiple sessions. This means that you can track your ONE 2 ONE sessions with more than one person, and return to the exact chapter where you last ended. Aside from that, the app also now has an upgraded Search function. When you search for keywords, various results will show up and highlight the words, which makes searching faster, easier and more efficient. On Android, you can now access these translations that weren’t previously available:

  • Simplified Chinese
  • Bahasa Indonesia
  • Vietnamese
  • Tetun
  • Ukrainian
  • German
  • Filipino

In a few days, the iOS version will carry the German, updated Chinese, and Filipino translations as well. If you’ve been wanting to share your faith with your friends or loved ones, and you’d like to help them understand what it really means to walk with Jesus, the ONE 2 ONE mobile app is a tool designed to help you. However, if you’re new to having a relationship with Jesus and you’d like to understand what it really means to walk with Him, we recommend that you get in touch with the Discipleship Administrator of the Victory church you’re currently part of. It is best to undergo ONE 2 ONE with a mentor, so contact your Discipleship Administrator and they will connect you! If you haven’t downloaded the ONE 2 ONE app yet, you may download it for free on your mobile devices on the iTunes Store or Google Play.

We are Ready to CHARGE!

We are Ready to CHARGE!

More than 10,000 Victory group leaders and interns from all over Metro Manila converged at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, March 5, 2016 for Discipleship 2016! The theme of the conference is “Charge,” and is aimed at empowering our leaders to rely on the Holy Spirit as they go and make disciples!

“From 6,000 leaders in 2013, we are now 10,000 leaders and interns,” announces Pastor Ariel Marquez of Victory Alabang, one of the hosts of Discipleship 2016. Together with Pastor Dennis Sy of Victory Greenhills, they recognized all 13 congregations from all over Metro Manila as well as the new Victory Group leaders. Victory Metro Manila as one church now meets in 24 locations all over the city.

A photo posted by Victory (@victoryph) on

We first heard from Bishop Manny Carlos, Chairman of Victory Philippines. Sharing about the four ways the Holy Spirit helps us, Bishop Manny encouraged all Victory group leaders to seek and pursue the Holy Spirit. “If the Holy Spirit is in you, you can live a life above sin, victoriously over sin,” he shares.

Before our leaders and interns left the SM Mall of Asia Arena, they received limited edition 21-day devotionals!

We are so CHARGED to go and make disciples of all nations!

Get a taste of the Charge experience! Download Discipleship 2016 audio messages by clicking on the links below:

Bishop Manny Carlos – The Power to Live Righteously

Pastor Steve Murrell – The Power to Preach the Gospel

You can also follow our updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates on our annual discipleship convergence.

When His Grace Changes Everything

When His Grace Changes Everything

Ken Regala was on the verge of calling it quits.

She didn’t imagine that her relationship with her boyfriend, Choi Sanchez, would end up this way—with a young son, yet not settling down as a family. “I never expected that this would happen to me. It felt like it was straight out of a TV drama.” The situation left her helpless and confused.

Meanwhile, Choi lived a reckless life before meeting Christ, neither acknowledging or bearing the weight of his responsibilities as a young father. “I was into vices, too, even if I already had a child,” Choi admits.

One day, Choi’s sister, Bealyn, encouraged the couple to a join a Victory group led by her best friend, Jorella. She and her husband, Mike, led a couples’ group in Victory Caloocan. “Choi was hesitant to join the group at first, but he still joined me at the group meetings and eventually became part of it. That made me happy,” she recounts.

Mike and Jorella took time to disciple Choi and Ken through regular Victory group meetings and ONE 2 ONE sessions. What started with persistent invitations eventually became something Choi and Ken looked forward to weekly. “They both made the decision to know and follow Christ,” Mike remarks.

Choi and Ken, with Mike and Jorella's Victory group
Choi and Ken, with Mike and Jorella’s Victory group

As Ken continued to pray for her family and attend Victory group with her boyfriend, God was at work in Choi’s life. “I asked God to give me a heart for Him,” says Choi, “because I no longer wanted to live this kind of life. Little did I know that Ken was praying for me, too.” He committed to change and center his life on Christ.

In 2015, the couple went through Victory Weekend together. Their story, which had a challenging start, would soon move from glory to glory.

When Choi decided to surrender everything to God and change, he realized that he needed to start anew as a family according to God’s Word. He decided to finally ask Ken, his girlfriend and his son’s mother, to be his wife.

Choi and Ken would face another hurdle, in the form of finances. Funding the church wedding was initially a challenge. “We were supposed to have a civil wedding, but a pastor suggested that we hold a church wedding.” They heeded his advice and pooled their finances—but it seemed impossible to make it happen. The wedding date was December. It was already November. Nonetheless, they decided to take a step of faith and tied the knot two days before Christmas.

By God’s grace and a miracle they can’t explain, they made the wedding happen—and despite their financial limits, didn’t owe anyone a centavo after the event.  “We don’t know how it happened—we just know that God provided for us,” says Choi. We’re so amazed (at) how God moved through it. All we know is everything was perfect the whole day.”

Ken (left) and Choi were married in December 2015, surrounded by family and friends
Ken (left) and Choi were married in December 2015, surrounded by family and friends

Mike, the couple’s discipler, describes the Sanchez’s story as, “from darkness to light,” quoting lyrics from Victory Worship’s song, “Grace Changes Everything.” He adds, “They had a long journey, went through a lot of trials, but they put in maximum effort in their spiritual lives.”

From being irresponsible and reckless, Choi is now, according to Mike, “a changed man”—someone who takes responsibility for his family, and leads them according to God’s ways.

Indeed, grace does change everything. God’s grace transformed their lives and turned what was a seemingly dead-end relationship to a glorious and God-centered marriage.

Put Courage

Put Courage

“Encouragement doesn’t need a lot of sentiment or a special occasion. And it’s never a wrong time.”

In this blog post, Every Nation Campus Philippines executive director Joseph Bonifacio shares about the value of encouragement, and its effects on the people with whom we share appreciation. Read more in this post entitled, “Put Courage”.

Living Bridges

Living Bridges

“What lasting legacy will be left by my life?” In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio gives his
insights on living a life that will impact the next generation.

Disciple Like a Parent

Disciple Like a Parent

“There is no joy like the joy of seeing someone you’ve served and sacrificed for growing up and walking in their purpose.”

In this blog entry, Pastor Joseph Bonifacio shares Biblical insights on how discipleship is a lot like raising children.

My Ticket to Heaven

My Ticket to Heaven

sarahballao_dadSarah Ballao, a student leader from Victory Makati, recounts how God removed mindsets in her that kept her from growing in her relationship with Him.

I was a Christian since birth. My parents brought me up in the ways of the Lord, and I had perfect Sunday school attendance. My father served in the church I grew up in. This being said, people would always expect so much from me. They expected me to do the right thing, even without being told to do so. Truth be told, I wasn’t the “good girl” that people thought me to be.

I knew a lot of things, but they never translated to how I lived my life. I was blinded by the idea that God’s grace was a license to sin. I believed that since He had already forgiven me from my past, present, and future sins, it was okay to sin again and again. Because, what did I have to lose if I already had a ticket to heaven? My dad served in church anyway.

My parents trusted me a lot because I was a “good girl”, after all. When I was in college, I began hanging out with friends he never knew about. I abused my dad’s kindness and was always out drinking with these friends. One day, I got found out—and the people around me began condemning me because of what I did.

I was so ashamed of my mistake that I didn’t even want to go to church anymore. I was beginning to lose hope. Then God showed up in the most unexpected way.

The school org I was part of held an event in school, and Pastor Job of Victory Makati was slated to speak there. Honestly, I wasn’t even listening to him talk—I showed up only because my friends were there. After his message, we were all split into groups, and that’s where I met Jaycee. After going through the group discussion, she explained what Every Nation Campus was all about, and invited us to youth service.

That Friday, I attended the youth service, but I felt so out of place—not because of the people around me, but because I felt so ashamed of myself. I thought that they were “holy people”, and I felt like I shouldn’t even be there. I decided not to go back after that, but Jaycee kept on sending me text messages asking how I was. I felt obliged to reply to her because I didn’t want to offend her. We eventually did ONE 2 ONE together, and I slowly began to understand what Jesus did for me. My dad’s service in the church was not my ticket to heaven—it was Jesus dying on the cross for me which made a way for me to be reunited with God.

I still struggled with condemnation because of my past sins, but layer upon layer of my shame was removed when I had an understanding of who I was—and am—in Christ. His Word says that I am chosen, royal, and holy. All of the pain and condemnation that lingered in me was removed. I became secure and I gained back my confidence.

Today, I stand firm with my belief that I am a new creation. My mind has been renewed, and my mindset that my salvation is through my dad’s good works is now gone. I also started to build relationships with the right people—men and women who encourage me to walk in God’s ways and spur me on to God’s will and destiny for my life.

I am now boldly preaching to people how God transformed me and how faithful He is to me, my family, my studies, and my needs. Jesus died not only for Christians—He wants all people to know about Him, and for them to be saved. If someone took the time to get to know me, listen to me, and preach the gospel to me, why would I not do the same?

Truly, it is never too late for any one of us to turn back to God. God is gracious and faithful, and He will change your life.

Sarah (left) and her family are enjoying a restored relationship, with Jesus at the center of their family.
Sarah (left) and her family are enjoying a restored relationship, with Jesus at the center of their family.
Believing God for my Family’s Salvation

Believing God for my Family’s Salvation

gellay_frogosaUniversity student Gellay Frogosa endured criticism from her family when first she preached the gospel to them. Despite that, we can truly know and believe that nothing is impossible with God! Learn how God turned her situation around in this testimony.

 

After I became a Christian in 2012, I’d wanted my family to get to know Jesus like I did. At the time, both my parents worked abroad, while my siblings and I studied in Manila. When I began to regularly go to church, my family strongly and constantly discouraged me from doing so. I received a lot of criticism from them, and I knew that they were questioning my decision to attend church and be discipled. After all, they knew me—they were familiar with my bad habits and attitudes.

Despite this, I continued in my relationship with God. I began praying for them as well, and God answered my prayers one by one. Shortly after I started ONE 2 ONE in 2012, my sister joined me in attending services every Sunday. She also started asking about my newfound faith. I invited her to Ignite 2013, and from then on, she began to grow in her relationship with God.

Because my parents were abroad, it was a challenge to share the gospel to them. In December 2014, we were able to visit them, and I shared the gospel with and prayed for my dad. Now, my father was my strongest persecutor, if one could say that; he constantly questioned my faith. Eventually, he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and he and my mom began to attend an Every Nation church in the country where they work. I’m so excited to share with you that, since then, they’ve attended Victory Weekend, and are now on their way to leading a Victory group there, too!

I cannot ever claim credit for all that God has done in me and in my family. God has changed not just my life, but the lives of my family! Truly, we can trust God’s promises! After all, He did say that when we believe in the Lord Jesus, we are saved—and our entire household as well.

Gellay (left, in black) is in faith for her family to grow deeper in their relationship with God!
Gellay (left, in black) is in faith for her family to grow deeper in their relationship with God!
Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom

emmievictorioEmmie Victorio of Victory Greenhills has a special burden to reach women in prison. Learn how God placed this burden in her, and be encouraged to pursue God and His ways!

 

Jesus calls each of us to go and make disciples . In my case, I felt God calling me to preach the gospel to those in prison.

This started many years ago, when I visited an outreach in one of the women’s jails in Manila. I saw women young and old there, and I felt a great deal of compassion towards them. They wouldn’t be where they were if they heard about who Jesus is, I thought, then I realized that it wasn’t too late for me to let them know who He was.

The more I read God’s Word, the more I fell in love with Him, and the more aware I became of His love for me. I saw how good and kind He is. So when I realized the Bible tells us we show our love to Christ when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison, I saw that people are what are important to Him. He loves all of us, and I want for people to know what that’s like. I want people to know how God is like.

emmie_wedgroup
Aside from preaching the gospel in San Juan’s correctional facility for women, Emmie (first from left) leads a Victory group of women every Wednesday.

Since I live in San Juan, I decided to do ministry in the correctional facility in my city. God’s been faithful to grant me favor there, and I’ve been ministering to the detainees there for the past seven years. I’ve been doing ONE 2 ONE with the women inside the jail; I also hold a Victory group there every Monday morning. I’ve also had an opportunity to disciple some of the jail guards.

Some of the women I’ve discipled have been released from jail, and they are now attending church and making disciples as well. More than that, I’m happy to share that they are walking in God’s ways. Some of them still remain inside the facility, but have their lives changed. One of them, Maya*, has now started her own Victory group inside jail.

Jesus did not come to serve, but be served—and I believe that applies to us as well. We have to trust that He brings the change in people’s lives. When we are filled with His Spirit, He will use us mightily! As long as there’s someone out there who doesn’t know Him yet, we need to be ready and available to preach the gospel to them. After all, it’s His will for each of us to be saved!

emmie_vgroup
Emmie (in green) also leads a Victory group of seniors in her home church.
No Holding Back

No Holding Back

maylin-duhalig-2015Any work done unto the Lord is worship to Him; work should not be a hindrance for us to disciple others. Maylin Duhilag, a twenty-five year-old stay-in helper, certainly agrees.

Maylin grew up in a Christian home, but she didn’t take her walk with God seriously. That changed after her employers invited her to church, where she was then invited to be part of a Victory group in Victory Metro East. She admits that she had a tough time at first.

“I was only there to listen,” she recounts, chalking it up to timidity. “I wasn’t sharing about my life.”

Eventually, Maylin’s shyness became a challenge when Joy, her Victory group leader, encouraged her to disciple people and preach the gospel to them.

“I was very shy,” she says. “It’s not like me to approach people and talk to them.” But Joy said, “‘You shouldn’t feel ashamed (of preaching the gospel) because of your work. You just have to do it.’ I realized that being timid was not part of God’s will for my life.”

Eventually, Maylin asked God for opportunities to step out in faith and disciple someone. The process wasn’t easy at first, of course. She’d send text messages to different people, inviting them to Victory group.

“They’d reply by saying ‘yes,’ and I’d get excited. I thought this was it!”, she recounts, only to not have these women show up at the set date, time, and place—or worse, cancel at the last minute. Despite these challenges, Maylin persisted.

“Joy also encouraged me to do my best—to keep on praying, and keep on inviting others. You shouldn’t wait for people to approach you, asking to be discipled. You have to go out there.”

Maylin’s persistence and boldness paid off when she met Rama, a thirty-three year-old businesswoman, after an altar call at a church service. They eventually began to meet regularly for ONE 2 ONE discipleship.

“Just like me, Rama was hesitant in sharing about her life,” Maylin says. “But I kept on praying for and encouraging her.”

Wasn’t Maylin intimidated by how different Rama was from her? For one, Rama was older, and she had a totally different line of work. “No,” Maylin says. “The people around us would not know who Jesus is, unless we tell them.”

Maylin and Rama regularly continued meeting for ONE 2 ONE. Just last June, Rama was water baptized, and now has a heart to disciple other women. In the same way, Maylin is continuing on the work God has started in her—by preaching the gospel to the women entrusted to her for discipleship.

Maylin (center, in green) is excited to make more disciples!
Maylin (center, in green) is excited to make more disciples!

Maylin believes that her transformation from being a shy churchgoer to a bold disciplemaker is the work of God’s power in her life. “Jesus did not hold back from obeying the Father when He died on the cross for us.

Now, Maylin has no holding back in sharing God’s love to the people around her—no matter what.

Serving the Next Generation

Serving the Next Generation

Joevanie Nebreja, a Victory group leader from Victory Iloilo, has a passion to reach the next generation. Discover how God compels him to preach the gospel and encourage others to do the same.   Joevanie was a college senior in Mindanao State University when he was first reached with the gospel. Kim, one of his org mates, actively befriended him and eventually invited him to youth gatherings at Victory General Santos. “I noticed that he was different,” Joevanie recalls. “He’d regularly invite me to hang out or share a meal with him. I also found out that he was inviting our boardmates to church.” It was through Kim’s example of genuine concern for him that Joevanie became curious about God. “I came to a point of wanting to know God, partly because I wasn’t pressured into it.” What came next was a realization that God was all that he needed in his life. “At first, l only wanted to know Jesus on an intellectual level. Eventually, I went through hardship before I decided to stop running away from Jesus and follow Him.” God was doing a deep work in his heart by then. “When I decided to give my life to Christ, I gave up my vices. I also worked hard in my remaining months at school.” joevanie-youngpros Joevanie acknowledges that his walk with

God was something he could not do alone. “Kim worked hard to disciple me,” he shares. “It’s difficult to build your relationship with God alone. You need other people to pray with you and stand with you.” Armed with a newfound knowledge for Christ and the support of the people around him, Joevanie had a burden to reach his family and friends. Today, he is now helping reach the next generation through volunteering at Kids Church. Aside from this, he has a mixed group of pre-teens and high schoolers, and another Victory group of young professionals. joevanie-HS What compels him to reach the next generation? “Their identity belongs to God,” he declares. “I want them to experience who God is—as a Father, and as a friend.” This is what fuels him to preach the gospel to others and lead them to Christ. “Life is much better if you’re walking with God.” Joevanie expresses the importance of preaching the gospel because Jesus modeled this to each of us. “Jesus calls us to ‘go and make disciples’ because He did it Himself. He went to the world to be a servant. He called us to be servant leaders, not just leaders for leadership’s sake.” True to form, he is in faith that the students he is discipling today will be great leaders in different sectors of society. Joevanie himself exemplifies the notion of a servant leader—because he himself serves, not just in his home church, but the people he leads to Christ. We are in faith that more men like Joevanie will rise up and raise leaders from every age group, campus, and business. joevanie-kids

Accountability is Sought

Accountability is Sought

“How you respond to correction tells us a lot about you.”

Every Nation Campus Executive Director Pastor Joseph Bonifacio encourages us to seek accountability from others, especially in our words and actions. Check out his blog post here!