Young People’s Bible Conference in the Philippines
We praise and thank the Lord for the YPBC 2020. Praise God for using the FilBF to spearhead this work. We thank the Lord for the Philippines Missions Bible Center which He used to facilitate this ministry in the Philippines. We also thank God for moving the hearts of pastors and leaders of 15 churches to host this ministry despite the many government restrictions due to the pandemic.
We expected 340 young people to attend and God brought 337. We thank God for reports of confession of faith in Jesus Christ by the young people to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour. There were others who came to worship with the host church the Lord’s Day after the YPBC. There were also a number who committed themselves to serve the Lord. Thank God for the increased participation of Bible-Presbyterian churches.
We acknowledge the prayers and financial support of True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church through our pastor, the session and members. Thank God also for all Filipino FEBC students who were very supportive in helping this ministry. Special thanks to Biboy whom God granted gift for the recording and technological processing of the messages. All glory be to His Name! Below is part of the rationale of this ministry.
The theme verse of YPBC online conference was originally Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The emphasis would be the preaching of the gospel of salvation as we expected many visitors to come to this camp. However, like the Apostle Jude, I found “it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). What moved me was the burden God gave to respond to false claims by no less than the Pope not many weeks ago. Being the head of the Roman Catholic Church which has a membership of about 80 percent of more than 100 million Filipinos, his claims need to be examined in the light of the Scriptures. International media originally posted the news that the Pope was throwing his support to civil union of gay couples although he maintains that he is against giving the sacrament of marriage to same-sex partners.
Immediately, it spread like wild fire to the lay people who interpret this as the Pope showing favour to same-sex couples forming families although they cannot be married. The Pope’s claim created an uproar on October 21, 2020.Immediately after that, the Pope’s comment was clarified by the Vatican which said he was taken out of context. They said that what he actually said was about the rights of homosexuals for a certain legal protection and that they should have the rights to be a part of the family. However, the claim that these homosexuals are also children of God is a misrepresentation of what the Bible says. Many Roman Catholic bishops in the Philippines tried to portray the Pope in the brighter side. The Pope is described to be acting like a loving parent who would not give up on his children. They hailed the Pope as comparable to Jesus who did not bring people to conversion by judging them but by loving them, caring for them and being compassionate to them. The call was to welcome these homosexuals into the churches and let them feel accepted even though they are living still in their perverse lifestyle which is contrary to the Bible.
This Bible Conference earnestly contended for the faith as given to us in the Bible that “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (male prostitutes), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals)…” (1 Corinthians 6:9). Since homosexuals cannot inherit the kingdom of God they are therefore not children of God. The Bible also describes that those who live in such sinful lifestyles cannot remain in their perverse state if they truly become born-again Christians. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Paul described them as “were some of you” which means God gave them a new nature.
Is it loving, caring and being compassionate to the homosexuals if they are allowed to continue in their sins? Definitely not! It is only by telling them the truth of the gospel and calling them to repentance from their evil ways so that they believe in Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Saviour! Then they can be saved and then they will become “new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Amen! Rev Dr Jose Lagapa
Salvation Testimony from Kemaman
I am Tan Xuan En, 14 years old, a Form Two student of Sultan Ismail Secondary School in Cukai, Terengganu. I am living with my mother and sister. My dad died in 2016. I enjoy singing, reading and more. Praying and reading the Bible have become my daily habit.
My mother believed in Jesus Christ and was baptized when she was 16. I followed my mother to church since I was small. But then we backslid and did not go to church for about two years. This happened when I was eight years old. The absence from church led us to depression and negative thoughts. I remember my parents often quarrelled over financial problems and this caused us to be unhappy especially when we did not go to church during that time. Then, my father died in 2016 when I was ten years old.
After the funeral, my mother brought my sister back to Kemaman to look for work. I remained in Kuala Lumpur with my grandparents. My aunty is a Christian. So I followed her and her family to church every Sunday. When I was 12 years of age, my mother brought me back to Cukai in Kemaman to live with her. At that time, my cousin, Charis Bok Pei Erm, persuaded me to attend a Bible camp organized by Kemaman Life Bible-Presbyterian Church. That was the time I really and totally knew Jesus Christ personally. I have been attending Sunday School with my sister, Tan Xuan Yi, after that meaningful Bible camp. I learned a verse in this camp and it helped me a lot even now when I feel down. That is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”This caused me always to believe and trust in Jesus Christ.
In 2020, my family was hit by the financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. My mother’s salary was reduced by 50% to RM500 per month. We all prayed to God. God answered our prayers. This experience showed that Christ is always watching and helping us. I feel blessed by God, and I appreciate God because He cares for me no matter what happens.
The reason why I want to be baptized is because I want to follow Christ with my whole life. He tells me to be baptized because His Word in Matthew 10:32 says, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” I have confidence in the Bible because Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
I am thankful to God for electing me to be His child. I am but a sinner, a nobody; yet God chose me before the foundation of the world and sent His servants to reach out to me. I am thankful for all the Sunday School teachers in Kemaman Life Bible-Presbyterian Church. God sent them to teach us the truth. Some come from as far as Singapore.
From Kemaman Life Bible-Presbyterian Church, I learn to appreciate the Christian way of life. I want to thank God for the people that He has sent to help me grow in faith.
Thanks to Elder Tai Mern Yee for guiding and teaching us the catechism class in zoom meetings. He prepared the lesson and explained God’s Word to us before baptism. Thanks for his kindness and may the Lord bless him always.
Thanks to my cousin, Charis Bok Pei Erm, because it was she who persuaded me to go to the camp and that gave me direction to becoming God’s child now. I sincerely pray that she will be saved also.
Thanks to all who have been helping me a lot. I know it is the Holy Spirit working in them to do the will of God. I also want to follow Christ who is the Author and Finisher of my faith. I just feel immense gratitude to everyone and may the Lord take care and bless all of us as we journey through this life on earth. I am confident we will overcome because of His Word (Jude 24–25). (31 October 2020)
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