MCGI declare the praises of God amidst the many kinds of persecutions and the threat of Super Typhoon Parma
The 1st of the 3-day International Thanksgiving of the Members, Church of God International, MCGI started off last 02 October 2009 with the congregational singing of hymns and praises, while brethren continued to flock the Ang Dating Daan, The Old Path (ADD) Convention Center, Apalit, Pampanga.
The brethren came from all over the Philippines. This offering of sacrifices of thanksgiving to the God of Israel, to the Lord who created all things, is being celebrated four times a year, aside from the weekly, every Saturday, where as the ADD Convention Center serves as the hub.
This event coincided with the reported coming of the Super Typhoon Pepeng, (Parma) with its heavy strong winds and heavy rains heading to Luzon, while the government evacuates thousands of families from their houses.
Despite the many kinds of religious and government persecutions, and calamities, there were several activities lined up from different continents for this glorious and holy event for MCGI to thank God for all the things He has done and those that they do not know.
Brother Danny Navales, one of the Ministers in Charge, MICs went to the pulpit and served the congregation in starting off with the topic of that day.
Before he began to discuss the topic, he said, “Our Lord God is there to always guides us, whilst our leaders, presiding and vice presiding ministers, Bro. Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon, respectively, help us.”
He said that though the ADD Convention Center is bigger than Araneta Coliseum, though a large number of brethren occupied the whole area inside and those covered areas outside the convention centre, there were more brethren coming in.
In the monitor, you can see that there were several tents too.
Likewise, Bro. Navales acknowledged the different monitoring centres in different provinces in the Philippines where other brethren stayed, those who can’t travel to ADD Convention Center, for example, the old ones, the sick, etc. He also acknowledged foreign countries monitoring areas (group and or individual).
He exclaimed that in spite of the persecutions, MCGI can continue to worship God, simultaneously from different areas. All the brethren who attended last Saturday for the Thanksgiving, during the Typhoon Ondoy, were safe, including their vehicles. “It’s always for our benefit when we follow God,” he reiterated to the brethren.
He reminded the brethren that God is conversing to his children through His words by the teachings they learned. He discussed the first part of the topic for that day, entitled, “This one thing, aside from the word of God, that should always be broadcast and be heralded or shouted by the Nation of God up to the end of times according to the Bible.”
There were several questions connected to the topic. He mentioned the opposite of what is being done in other religions. He gave an example saying, “In other religions, not only did they subtract the word, they deleted a lot of verses, there was a time that they forbid their sisters wearing jewelries, but instead of moving forward according to the bible, they changed their doctrine and allowed them to wear it instead.”
Bro. Navales reminded the brethren that they should not be affected nor be offended from the hindrances that come their way in following the will of God because they, as Christians, were taught about this beforehand.
MCGI cleaved to the Church of God, the church being preached by Saint Paul. Cleaving to the Church of God would definitely experience what the 1st century Christians suffered in the hands of the world.
He also tackled the value of persistence to listen to the words of God as it is being taught to the brethren. He asked, “Is there an evidence that listening gives as a chance to salvation?”
He noted that the opponents celebrated when they thought that Bro. Eli left. Even some offices in the government are being swayed to persecute the Church of God, it can be observed that when MCGI already paid for places and time slots for the propagation of the word of God, on the last minute, they will not honor it and the holy work is being delayed.
The MCGI were encouraged also to help and support the church, but they were admonished not to steal.
The next activity that day was an open forum consultation. Other brethren gave their concerns in every aspect of life. As expected, Bro. Eli advised them with wisdom coming from the Holy Spirit, reading to them the scriptures.
The Mindanao and Visayas Regions reported their previous activities to the congregation and offered song of praises to the Lord.
Bro. Daniel informed the congregation on the current weather advisory and disaster related precautions about the super typhoon in the country.
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
After which, he discussed further the first part of the topic. He reiterated the warnings in the Bible and the dangers for those who misused it. He also asked a question, “Why won’t they acknowledge the creator?” He discussed several verses concerned on this topic. One of the verses he mentioned was:
Luke 19: 40“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.“
Among the verses read by Bro. Daniel, he gave a hint what the topic was all about:
I Peter 2: 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
“We, the MCGI are obliged and commanded to praise the Lord,” Bro Daniel explained. In Psalms 148 the following were mentioned whom should praise the Lord: for example those from the heavens; the highest heavens and the waters above the skies; those from the earth; etc.
He then asked, “If MCGI praises God, what do other denominations, who say they are religious, do?”
Romans 1 (New International Version)
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Bro. Eli Soriano tackled the topic. He began asking, “What is the significance of offering sacrifices of thanksgiving to God?
He contemplated and recalled that those people whom, though have the means to prepare for the thanksgiving, didn’t offer any to God. Brethren were given this example to realize that those who joined the congregation and weren’t grateful didn’t last long in the Church.
Bro. Eli pointed out that in order to remain steadfast, strong, and unmoved in serving God, brethrens should serve the purpose of their calling:
1 Peter 2: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
He said that people forget God, how to worship him. They spent their whole day for other things, but left nothing to thank to God; not even to pray before sleeping.
Bro. Eli asked the congregation, “If you are God, how would you feel?”
Ec:12:1: Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
Every creature, the four beasts, the 24 elders, their roles impart that we should play our part in praising and worshiping God while there is a chance, while there is an opportunity for us to do it.
He reminded the whole congregation, “While the door remains open, let’s use our tongue to praise His Name and through the sacrifices of thanksgiving to God.”
Bro. Eli called for initiative “lead by example”, not only among the MICs and OICs, but also the brethren in offering of sacrifices of thanksgiving, that they should learn from the past, to prevent themselves turning out to be like those people who left the church who were seen ungrateful to God.
He said, “Every creature should praise God,”
Re:5:13: And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
There were several points in the Bible that Bro. Eli read to the brethren and gave their connection and relationship to each other; and how it affects the MCGI and the hearers of the word of God.
Bro. Eli requested to sing the song, “How Great Thou Art” simultaneously in Filipino-Tagalog, and English, together with a sister who did a sign language. After which, he asked how it is sang in Spanish. The brethren found it interesting and wonderful to hear many tongues singing in unison.
He imparted that not only the word of God that MCGI should herald to the world, but also the glory of God, in praising Him for calling them from the darkness to His righteousness.
He reiterated that each and everyone of the brethren should always insist that in everything they do, they don’t acknowledge themselves, but instead, God. He clarified that they learned about the God of Israel, that’s why they should act that way.
These were some of the things I learned and witnessed in watching from our locale for the first day of the International Thanksgiving to the God of Israel. There are more things to write about that day, even about the second day, but I know that it still best to hear them live; and I am sure that it will also be exciting and enlightening come the third day of the celebration.
One of the verses I learned and wanted to leave to the readers,
Zec:8:21: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.
All thanks, praises, and glory be to the Living God of Israel for His overflowing love to men, and His an unspeakable gift!
Please do visit Facebook.com for some insights blogged by some other brethren who attended the celebration.
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