Category Archives: Feature Article
by Patrick Tan
This week I was asked to share the morning devotion. I thought of a few topics that I could share, but as I prepare my exhortation, one message became clear. I felt that I need to share my learnings about serving in Chi Alpha Philippines. The following message was given to youth leaders last National Youth Leaders Summit of PGCAG on January 29, 2014.
This year is my 10th year serving in youth ministry as a youth minister. And I still remember in April 2004, fresh from graduating in UST architecture that I was struggling about my calling. I was 22 years old at that time. I found myself going up to Baguio to go to AIYS (Asian Institute for Youth Studies, 2nd batch). I took up Institute of Campus Ministry, not knowing what I was in for, because I always wanted to try something new (I’ve been serving in the youth leadership for some years now, but not as youth pastor). There I met Kuya Sur, Ate Merla, Ate Afel, and Brian Lopez. And as they say, the rest was history. I received confirmation from God to be minister of the gospel. Never did I know that was the beginning of my journey in serving in Chi Alpha.
God gives each person a window of opportunity to fulfill what he was made for, not to bring glory to himself, but to God. We often call it now as a “kairos moment” or a time of opportunity. In the Bible, God invites ordinary people to take part in doing something extraordinary for God. I remember when Esther found herself in her make or break situation, God spoke through her uncle Mordecai saying, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) And like Esther, you are here because God raised you up to do something special for Him in this season. The question would you be bold enough to take that window of opportunity to be used by God for His greater glory. Would you be faithful to take the movement to the next generation?
Here are five things I’ve learned about movement-making as I served in Chi Alpha. This is not an exhaustive list, it may also be incomplete, but these are some principles that could help someone who are serving in movements.
“Oh, that Thou wouldst render the heavens and come down.” Isaiah 64:1
The Christian church has a tremendous history of revivals and evangelism. There have been times, however when it seemed as though a cloud of darkness hovered over the church. The church appeared to lose her effectiveness and even her message. She seemed to lose her saltiness, and her light burned dimly.
During those times of spiritual apathy and darkness the Holy Spirit would quietly stir in the heart of an individual or in the hearts of a small group of people. He would call them to prayer. The brightness of the glory of God would begin to dispel the darkness in the days that followed. Mighty preachers would be raised out of nowhere. The Word of God would thunder forth in mighty power. Souls would set aflame for the glory of God. Prayer initiated revival, and revival initiated prayer.
An apparent correlation exists between a movement of prayer and spiritual awakening. In some instances it is difficult to tell which came first. That is because spiritual awakening and prayer have the same focus: God. Revival is simply the manifest presence of God among His people. It is a special visitation of the Holy Spirit to His church.
True prayer is the method by which the Christian comes before the presence of God. Consequently, a praying Christian will be a revived Christian, and a church that seeks the face of God will be one that knows the glory of God. Martyn Lloyd-Jones witnessed God’s presence in his congregation in South Wales. He was a student of the great awakenings and revivals of past days. He stated that the great need of the church is that of a knowledge of the glory of God. He said, “There is no doubt but that 99.9 percent of our troubles as Christians is that we are ignorant of God. We spend so much time in feeling our own pulse, taking our own spiritual temperature, considering our moods, and states and fears. Oh, if we but had some conception of Him, the inconceivable glory of God.”
The great need of the church in this generation is the manifest glory of God. We need men and women with the mark of God’s glory upon their lives. Our pulpits need to be set aflame by men who have seen the King of glory in their secret chambers of prayer. Our pews need people to fill them whose hearts long for God’s manifest presence in their lives. The need exists for men and women who are like Jesus because they have been with Jesus. Revival is when God is known as God of our lives, homes, churches, and communities.
Five major traits characterize the great historical awakenings. First, the awakenings were preceded by gross moral and spiritual declension in the church. The church ceased to be a great lighthouse for the world in a stormy sea and was drowning in the waves of immorality and impurity. Because her eyes were filled with impurities, she could not see God in his splendor and majesty.
Second, God would, at the darkest moment, breathe on the hearts of a few individuals. They would begin to seek His face, and a revival of prayer would result. The Holy Spirit would show men and women the utter necessity of absolute dependence upon God.
Third, a visitation of God’s presence would come among God’s people. A fresh breath of life blew into the churches—the life of God in the hearts of His people. A new sense of purity of character grew among God’s people. The church experienced the holiness of God, and Christians were conformed into the image of Christ.
Fourth, a reaping of a great evangelistic harvest occurred—a renewal of the preaching of the old truths of the Bible. Pastors and evangelists preached the holiness of God, the corrupted nature of man, and Christ as God’s only provision for man’s sin. They preached that Christ must be received by faith and that man must be born again. They preached against sin and set forth the extraordinary love of God. And God gave the increase. The greatest times of evangelism took place during the great spiritual awakenings.
Finally, growth in the church resulted, and new movements and ministers were thrust into world evangelism. There were lasting results; the fruit remained. Although there would be some excesses in each movement, in general the church would make great strides in building the kingdom of God.
One aspect of historical spiritual awakenings needs further study by Christians. The Bible exhorts the believer to remember the things that God has done for His people in past times. We have much to learn from the history of God’s dealings with His people. Prayer will always be found at the root of those dealings. As a result, it would benefit us to look at the importance of prayer in historical awakenings. Although this is not an exhaustive study of spiritual awakenings, it will serve to remind us that God has not changed, the God of Paul, Peter, Whitefield, Wesley, Finney, and Moody is the God of our generation. He is looking for men and women who will take hold of Him in prayer and not let go until His glory comes.
by Patrick Tan
Ezra lived during the time when Israel lived in captivity in Babylon because of their unfaithfulness to God. Now God has made a way for the remaining citizens of Israel to return to their city Jerusalem by favor of the Babylonian king:
Ezra 7:9 He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. 10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
– God planted a vision in the heart of Ezra, to establish the saturation and practice of God’s word in his city Jerusalem … What is the vision God has placed in your heart for your campus/city?
– God was with Ezra’s team throughout their journey from Babylon to Jerusalem “for the gracious hand of God was on him.” – Recognize that as you obey and pursue God’s vision for your campus, God’s presence will go with you.
– Recognize also that two heads are better than one. Ezra didn’t come to Jerusalem alone, but a team went with him. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to the mission field! (Matthew 9)
– Ezra did his part – He continued his devotion to God. Devotion is not defined by keeping yourself from breaking the law. Devotion is giving more than the bare minimum:
1. Ezra devoted to study God’s Word – How’s your Time Alone with God (Seek Christ First)?
After a day of ministry Jesus’ disciples came back rejoicing because God gave them victory in their journey. But this is what Jesus reminded them: “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). – Let us not forsake cultivating our personal intimacy/relationship with God (your names are written in heaven) over ministry (spirit’s submitting to you). A ministry/service apart from genuine love and devotion to Christ is empty and lacking.
The Apostle Paul says, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Co 9:27).
2. Ezra observed the Law of the Lord – Every revelation must have an application. Are you living it out?
Don’t allow a disconnect between studying and observing God’s Word. They must be seamless.
3. Ezra taught to the law to Israel – Commit to discipling the next generation.
Reaching your generation may well be adding up to God’s kingdom, nothing wrong with that. But if you want a multiplication of harvest, commit to reach to next generation.
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by Patrick Tan
|National Chi Alpha Team: Patrick Tan, Merla Laanan
with Afel Concon during Chi Alpha presentation in STDC
youth leaders meeting in Batangas City, Sep 25, 2010.
This are the very words our Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples when he saw the crowds coming toward him. In Chi Alpha we see that there is a great harvest of students in our schools and universities waiting to be transformed into radical followers of Jesus Christ. In fact recent studies found out that students are ever becoming more open to spiritual things and are desiring are a spiritual renewal they can experience for themselves. But the Lord makes a second observation, the laborers are few. With majority of our population being young people, there is an urgent need for our churches to be mobilized to intentionally reach our schools and universities as we obey our Lord’s mandate to ‘go and make disciples of all nations.’ The task may be overwhelming, but it is not impossible. Today there is growing interest in student outreach among our churches and they are being inspired, empowered and equipped through Chi Alpha Student Ministries. In the recent months we have conducted trainings and presentations in Palawan, Malolos, Bulacan, Iloilo City and Isabela. We have also helped establish a new Chi Alpha chapter in Palawan State University. Chi Alpha continues to strengthen its identity as it monitors the grassroots movements that were established by our predecessors. We rejoice with what the Lord has done, but we are excited for more things that God has in store for the movement. With your prayers and support, the task of creating movements of multiplying disciples in the campuses and universities of the Philippines is gradually being realized. Thank you for believing in the cause of student ministry. Thank you for believing in Chi Alpha!
Patrick Tan is currently the national coordinator of Chi Alpha Student Ministries. He and his wife Nette have served in youth and student ministry since their teenage years and has now found a common passion to reach the youth and students through Chi Alpha.
by Ley Taberna
This message was delivered by Ptr. Ley Taberna during NLDC Youth Alive “Campus Invasion” Event held September 17, 2010
Our text is the first occurrence of the phrase, “Son of man” as used by Jesus, in the gospel of Mark (2:1-12). This was used in all four gospels about 80 times. It pictures the lowliness, humility, and suffering of Jesus Christ which became the source (or the fountain) of our salvation, healing, freedom and redemption.
In this story, Jesus was telling “the WORD” to a crowd in a certain home. This “WORD” connects our text with a previous story where the leper went out and began to spread “the WORD” (1:45). We can infer from the story that this spread of “the WORD” brought in more people to Jesus. It brought in more sick and hurting people wanting healing, forgiveness, freedom, and redemption.
One of those sick and hurting people brought to Jesus was a paralytic man.
I did a small research and I found out that the Greek word for paralytic, paralytikos, actually comes from the verb, paralyo, which literally means “to be relaxed or disabled on the side.” It could refer to any type of lameness or even weakness.
Thus, we can’t know the exact infirmity of the person who was brought to Jesus, except that he was unable to walk.
You and I see paralytics everywhere—people who seemed to be walking and living and doing things but in reality they are lying down in their mats of suffering, living hopeless, meaningless and joyless lives.
1. THERE IS AT LEAST SOMEBODY IN YOUR CAMPUS WHO IS PARALYZE.
His paralysis may have come from personal sin, deep pain, negative situations and circumstances. It may have come from addictions of all sorts—addiction to alcohol, to drugs, to pornography or to sex. It may have come from personal struggles like homosexuality or lust or sexual promiscuity. It may have come from a bout with premarital sex, a haunting past, a broken family or a financial difficulty.
These paralytics can’t walk the Christian life. They can’t go the distance alone. They are hopeless in their mats of struggle, addiction, pain, or difficulty. They have no hope except when friends will carry him (or help him go the distance) to the one who alone can bring salvation, hope, redemption, and freedom-JESUS!
Jesus sees these friends’ faith.
Who are these friends?
How could Jesus see their faith?
What is faith?
These are interesting questions from the story and I intend to answer them tonight.
Whenever FAITH is mentioned in conjunction with miracles, it seems to imply PERSEVERANCE—the overcoming of obstacles in order to get to Jesus.
2. PARALYTICS FROM YOUR CAMPUS ARE HINDERED BY OBSTACLES FROM COMING TO JESUS.
In our text, the obstacles are (1) the man’s inability to walk, (2) the crowd blocking the normal way to Jesus and (3) the roof blocking the not so normal way to Jesus.
In spite of these obstacles, the four friends are PERSISTENT and RESOURCEFUL enough to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus.
Your friends and classmates in the campus may be paralyzed. They don’t know Jesus. They live lives far from Him. They live lonely, hopeless lives. They seek meaning for existence but still find no sense to life. So they turn to drugs or alcohol or any form of addiction which we call by our postmodern standards “cool” but actually drags them farther and farther away from the one who can provide the happiness, hope and meaning they so desired.
What do you feel when you see them?
I think that the FAITH that Jesus saw was the PERSEVERANCE of the four friends.
We are never told if the paralyzed man wanted to be there in that crowded room where Jesus is teaching. I wonder what the four friends might have said to him so that he would be willing to be hauled to that house, and up to that roof, and down through that hole to be near Jesus.
Could the conversation between the four and that one paralyzed man be like your conversation with a friend you tried to bring to this Campus INVASION tonight?
I am not Jesus but I know one thing from Jesus’ words:
3. YOU MUST BE WILLING TO BRING A PARALYZED FRIEND FROM YOUR CAMPUS TO HIM.
Ben Witherington, author of the scholarly work “The Gospel of Mark,” describes the demonstration the four friends’ faith. In page 115 of his book, he said, “They dared to do the difficult, the dangerous, the controversial in order to bring their friend into the presence of Jesus.”
I am fairly certain that the reason the four friends went to so much trouble to get their friend to Jesus is that they expected the Lord to heal him. They expected Jesus to touch him, to set him free from his affliction.
And He did.
Jesus is the answer to every paralytic’s affliction. He saves, He heals, He sets free. He can touch anyone who would come to Him.
Some of you talked to a friend and tried to bring that friend here to be saved tonight. Maybe that friend did not come. Do not lose heart. Have faith. Be resourceful and persevere. Talk to that friend again. Convince him and bring him to our next Campus INVASION.
But maybe some of you were able to convince a friend and your friend is here tonight. Why don’t you bring your friend here at the altar and we can all lead him to Jesus. Jesus can touch his life. Jesus can make a difference in his life. Jesus can set him free.
But before you bring them here at the altar, before you come with your friend with you listen to this:
There was this story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done—helping paralytics come near Jesus so He can heal them, them and set them free; even give them hopeful, joyful and meaningful lives.
Everybody was sure Somebody would do that job pretty well. Anybody could have done it effectively but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody won’t do it.
It ended up that while Everybody thinks Somebody does it, Nobody actually does what Anybody could have done and paralytics die every moment and breathe their last and find their way to hell.
I can actually vividly imagine that on Judgment Day, Everybody would blame Somebody because Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
And the Master would be displeased.
I wouldn’t allow that though.
I hope not.
by Ley Taberna
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” -Matthew 16:13-16 (KJV)
This text speaks about a revelation concerning Jesus Christ’s identity. Here, Jesus asked His disciples, “what do people think about me?”
However, it seems that what is important for Jesus in this passage is not what people say about who He is. It seems that in the passage, Jesus wants to emphasize that what is important is who his disciples think He is.
It doesn’t matter what your friends and classmates think about who Jesus is. Since you represent Jesus in your campus, what’s important is who you think Jesus (whom you represent to your classmates and friends) is.
Now there are a few things that you need to realize regarding this piece ofscripture. These are important if you will effectively represent Jesus in yourcampus.
1. YOUR CAMPUS IS A DARK, SINFUL PLACE.
Get some statistics. You will realize that your campus is a dark, sinful place. Observe the lifestyle of the students around you. What kind of life do they live?
Now notice that this groundbreaking conversation in our text took place at a place called Caesarea, Phillippi. This place lies today in the modern day reserve of the Banias in the Golan Heights region of Israel. The city was believed to have been established by Ptolemaic Greeks, a Hellenistic community where the worship of the god Pan was centered.
Pan, according to the truthy Wikipedia, in Greek mythology, is the god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Panis connected to fertility and the season of spring. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism.
Ceasarea, Philippi is therefore a dark and sinful place. It was, in fact, reviled by theJews of Jesus’ time and considered by them as the most idolatrous place inthe entire Galilee. To this day it remains a place of nature worship and deep paganism.
2. JESUS WANTS TO REVEAL HIMSELF IN YOUR CAMPUS.
Why did Jesus deliberately take his disciples to the most sinful, pagan place to reveal who He was? Why not in holier places like the temple courts, or the tomb of Jeremiah or one of the prophets, where He might feel more at home and welcome? No, Jesus revealed who He really was… in the darkest and perhaps, the most sinful corner of Israel during His time.
Now your campus may be a dark and sinful place but Jesus wants to reveal Himself here. He is not shy about letting His light shine even in the most dark place.
He is the light of the world. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. Your campus will remain dark and sinful if Jesus will not be revealed here.
3. JESUS NEEDS YOU TO MAKE HIM KNOWN IN YOUR CAMPUS
Before Jesus returned to heaven, He, being the light of the world delegated that responsibility to His disciples. He told them, “You are the light of the world.” He even said at another place, “Let your light shine before men that they may know your good deeds and glorify Your Father who is in heaven.” In Isaiah God even said, “Arise, shine for your light has come… and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”
Jesus travelled the distance between heaven and earth to reveal Himself for without a revelation of who He is, there can be no salvation. There can be no transformation. He bridged the gap between a holy God and sinful men to bring salvation for each of us.
Would you also go the distance and share the gospel to your classmates and friends in the campus?
Ceasarea, Philippi remains to be a pagan place to this day. Would you allow your campus to remain dark and sinful?
The choice is yours. Your campus’ destiny is in your hands. Don’t let it remain ina state of sin and darkness. Let the light of Jesus Christ shine. Let your light shine. Go the distance. Will you?
Ley wants to be known as a dreamer and a dream releaser in the lives of others. He is currently the Sectional Youth Director of the Eastern Pangasinan Northern Tarlac Section of NLDC.
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