Harvest of faith

On Monday, 22nd of April 2024

District Apostle Edy Isnugroho, accompanied by Apostle Samuel Tansahtikno and Apostle Joe An Beli-ot visited Negros Occidental, from Saturday, the 13th until Sunday, the 21st April 2024. During the whole week, he visited the congregations, most of which he had never been there before. He conducted divine services in Mansilingan, Caningay, Cayaocao, Cawilan, Canlamay, Tabu, Mabuhay, and Tiling congregations.

It’s the dry season in the Philippines right now. The air temperature ranges from 30-36 C. Many places have difficulties with clean water. Agricultural land becomes barren and dusty. Plants are dry. Many people are worried that the impact of the drought will be felt in the next months when the harvest of agricultural products, such as rice, will definitely decline and there could be a shortage.

But despite the drought, the harvest of faith in this area is truly a source of joy. On Friday, 19th in the divine service in Tabu, he carried out a retirement of two District Evangelists: Rizaldo Aguilar and Bonifacio Apatan, an ordination of three Priests: James Beli-ot for Tiling congregation, Jamark Dinggoy for Camberong congregation, and Jason Pacatang for Sebucao congregation, as well as an assignment for an assistant to District Rector of Priest Alberto Abelis for District Tilling Central and Evangelist Roberto Diosana for District Asia.

On Sunday, 21st April 2024 morning at our church in Tiling Central, he conducted a district divine service. The Bible Text was out of Matthew 25:21: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’”.

At the beginning of his sermon, he mentioned that we celebrate this service in the joy of Eastern. We celebrated the feast of Eastern once a year, it was three weeks ago. But the joy of Eastern is a long-lasting joy, and actually, this joy should live and remain in our hearts lifelong. What does this joy consist in? The joy of Eastern is the joy of those who know: Jesus, my Saviour, is risen. He is alive and He is at work for our salvation. The joy of those who know, Jesus has overcome death and evil. It is a joy to know that Jesus has been given all power on earth and in heaven. But He remains the one who washes the feet of his disciples, the One who is serving us. Everything he does is for our blessing and our salvation. It is the joy of those who know, my Lord will come soon. May this joy remain alive in our hearts until the return of the Lord.

The Lord will come soon, and our wish is to be well prepared for his return. The Bible Text is talking about. It is the parable of the talents. Jesus compares himself with a master who leaves his house for a moment and gives talents to his servants. To the first, he gives five talents, to the second he gives two, and to the third he gives one. The first two servants make the most of what they have been entrusted with, while the third just keep it.

What does it mean for us today? All New Apostolic Christians have received the same talent. Through the rebirth out of the water and the Spirit, we have received the same godly life, the same gift of the Spirit, and the same love has been poured out in us.

Besides that God has also distributed other different talents, which is a little more complicated to understand, because it seems to be unfair, and we cannot understand:

  • our personality—some have manual gifts, others have intellectual gifts; some have musical gifts, others sporting gifts, some like to be in the spotlight, others are shy and hide themselves;
  • our living conditions—some are rich, others are poor. Some are married with children, others are single;
  • our environment—some live in prosperous countries, others in poor countries; some enjoy freedom, others are subject to many constraints;
  • conditions within the Church—our congregations are very different in size and composition, some lack ministers and resources, divine services cannot be conducted regularly;
  • the duration of our lives is different.

The good servants know that everything they have comes from their master—what we have, we have received from God’s grace, and not because of our own merits. We remain faithful to the promises we have made to God:

  • when we were baptized with water and the Spirit, we promised to renounce evil, to follow Jesus, to serve Him and prepare for His return;
  • when we were married, when we brought our children to be baptized or to be sealed, we made promises to Him;
  • when we pray and He answers our prayers, we promise Him something.

Let us keep our promises!

To be accepted when Jesus returns, we cannot just remain “New Apostolic.” We attend the services, we bring our offerings, we do our prayers, and we do a little bit in the church. This is not enough. The Lord expects us to make the most of what He has given us.

The Holy Spirit helps us to know Christ better and to understand His will. Let Him work in us! Let us check ourselves:

  • do we trust God more than before?
  • are we willing to serve Him without expecting anything in return, but only out of love?
  • do we need more or less time to forgive others? Can we do good to those who will never repay us? Do we pray for the salvation of those who do not love us?

We have to change!

Jesus also asks us to be faithful in the small things as well as the big ones. It is not a sin to enjoy our money and our comforts, but earthly well-being must not be an obstacle to that of our soul. Let us make use of our gifts and possessions to serve Christ and do good to our neighbour!

The fact that we have received only less than others, for example: our congregation is only very small, and the lack of a minister, must not become an excuse not to make the most of our spiritual talents and serve the Lord!

After the divine service was over, the Mixed Choir rendered four beautiful hymns. The District Apostle expressed appreciation for the progress achieved and motivated the choir to continue moving forward.