We have EMERGEd as gold refined by fire. CCBC’s 2021-2022 theme verse goes this way: Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold (Job 23:10 CSB).
By the mercies of God, we have gone through tough times brought about by the pandemic and many other challenges related to it. We have lost plenty! Not only jobs and opportunities but also people who are dear to us. We have reasons to grieve, and we do grieve. But we also have reasons to rejoice: the LORD is faithful!
“These stories represent the starting point of CCBCers
in the new normal of life.”
This CONNECT Newsletter is more than a mid-year report. Here, we share snippets and threads of the great tapestry that God is weaving together toward a grand story through His children. You will…
…find the friendly encounters between Joy, Noele, and Justin that resulted in disciplemaking;
…hear the story of Vicky who saw the goodness of God through two decades of raising her family singlehandedly and her friendship with Elvie leading to a life of bearing fruit;
…celebrate with Godfrey the joy of growing from a Sunday School student to a Sunday School teacher himself, sharing joy with those who used to be his teachers; and
…learn stories of Jimi, Willie, and Frank that demonstrate how the periods of the lockdown brought about by the pandemic helped fortify marriages and family life.
These stories represent the starting point of CCBCers in the new normal of life. So the question is, how do move on from this point?
There are things in the life of CCBC that we will continue doing, there are those that need to stop, and there are things that we need to restart as times allow for more interpersonal interactions among people.
Definitely, we will continue to pursue our mission and calling as CCBC – “Communing with Christ to Bless Communities.” We will remain in our commitment to proclaim the gospel of Christ, make disciples, and see the transforming work of the gospel in the lives of people and communities in the nations. We will be moved by love and the desire to see Christ lifted up always.
We will continue to use the internet to connect us to people who are otherwise remote to us. For example, we shall maintain Sunday school classes online while organizing a new Sunday School program alongside on-site worship services. We will not lose connection with CCBCers who are outside Metro Manila or even outside the Philippines but are very well connected online.
“We will be moved by love and
the desire to see Christ lifted up always.”
Corollary to this, we need to stop and lay aside fears of moving out into the open and begin meeting with people face-to-face. We need to lay aside the want of “convenience” where we substitute gathering with fellow members in “virtual meetings” and practicing fellowship by merely being an online acquaintance. As the New Testament teaches, “let us not give up the habit of meeting together…” (Hebrews 10:25).
Thus, we will need to restart gathering face-to-face regularly beginning with our worship services and small group fellowships. We need to restart reaching out to our neighbors not merely with our cash donations given online, but to be there where they are in order to touch their lives.
We will be resuming outreach visitations and short-term missions again. We will be worshiping God by singing together, praying together, and breaking bread together in love.
Definitely, we shall not go back to where we were in 2019. We’ve taken a detour but we will move forward. Sometimes, difficult circumstances tempt us to aim lower than we should. Some would be simply content to survive. In reality, we are called to thrive.
Our theme verse for 2022-2023 is found in John 15:8: “This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit…”
Jesus gave us the picture of what it means to do so; it is a picture of a fruitful vine. He wanted His disciples to bear fruit in the new normal of the Kingdom of God. This means:
- Thriving towards maturity “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:18).
- Thriving towards Christlikeness “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Thriving towards prosperity and impact. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
- Thriving in witness. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:9-10
- Thriving for God’s glory. “This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit…” John 15:8; Isaiah 54:1-3
The butterfly in its chrysalis is an example. As a humble caterpillar, it attaches itself to a branch. Then a hardshell called chrysalis emerges as the caterpillar sheds off its skin. Inside the chrysalis, everything turns into liquid, like melted wax. After some days, the cells multiply and rearrange themselves into tissues that form parts of a butterfly. At the right time, the butterfly emerges and then flies to enjoy nectar and reproduce itself.
A chorus from the song by Casting Crowns expresses the thought well: Just to know You and to make You known; We lift Your name on high; Shine like the sun, make darkness run and hide; We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives; It’s time for us to more than just survive; We were made to thrive!
I am calling us toward a prayerful discernment of the LORD’s guidance. CCBC’s Building Development Council (Council) has been working diligently to discover ways and means to put up the church building we need at the least cost possible. This is to ensure that CCBC’s financial resources will be spent on ministry and missions.
In 2019, we were hoping that we would do ground breaking by 2020. But when the pandemic kicked in, it rocked whatever plans we had; the building program was suspended. Bro. Dod Peralta, our Building Development Council Head, was even severely infected with the virus.
In a congregational meeting in 2021, CCBC decided to re-start the building program. The Council was convened and studies were made again on how to proceed.
The options are: (1) do fund raising for Php 150 million to construct the building; (2) sell the other lot and use the proceeds to construct a new building on the main lot; or (3) engage in partnership with property developers to utilize CCBC’s property in exchange for a new building.
The Council through the CCBC Board will be seeking the approval of the congregation to the option of entering into a partnership with property developers who are willing to finance and put up the building for CCBC. This is in exchange for the willingness of CCBC to allow them to make a profit towards the use of the land.
In order to see the feasibility of this option (and also Option 2), CCBC needs to release funds to make a study on the highest and best use of the land CCBC currently owns and possesses. This study could help us see the possibilities for negotiating for the right partners in the project.
We are calling for the congregation to seek the mind of God on the matter in prayer.