Beyond the Series: The Pains and Gains of Discipleship

Beyond the Series: The Pains and Gains of Discipleship

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

The Pains in 4Es

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

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

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

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

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

The Rewards in Discipleship

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Beyond the Series: Transformed by Grace

Beyond the Series: Transformed by Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Beyond the Series: Living Out the Gospel

Beyond the Series: Living Out the Gospel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

Beyond the Series: Embracing the Message of Christ

Beyond the Series: Embracing the Message of Christ

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

 

Why is Holy Week important to Christians?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 


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

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