By: Ptra. Ann Novero & Bro Arman Ramos
The word of God is full of inspiring assurances of how God answers the prayers of His followers. He is fully aware of our every need: spiritual, financial, material and physical. He sees the longing of our hearts: Passion for Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:8 says: And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
NexGen 5 was braced with intensive prayers intensive preparations and intensive promotions in order to make this retreat possible and successful.
Indeed, we have seen God’s amazing grace manifested because this is the first time the NexGen 5 Luzon was held in two different places: in Palawan and in Baguio City. Both retreats were done successfully by God’s grace and mercy.
TEACHER’S CAMP, BAGUIO CTY
The NexGen 5 commenced last May 1 to 3, 2018, at Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City. There were 135 delegates coming from different sections such as EFC Churches in Mindoro, Batangas, Taytay, Quezon City, Neuva Ecija, Baguio City, La Union and Candon City, Ilocos Sur attended the retreat.
Every section was tasked to do their assigned responsibility. Once again cooperation and unity became visible with one intention and that is to make this retreat a life changing experience.
Everyone was expectant that God will do something great in each of their lives. We were inspired and encouraged by our Core Leaders who were tasked to share the words of God.
Rev. Eddie Falla, of EFC Mindoro was assigned to speak in the first session. He talked about Reigniting the Youth to Become a Responsible Youth for God. He talked about the four truths of a youth with passion.
Firstly, the youth with passion is responsible in serving God. He or she is responsible in his or her worship and how he or she is using his or talent for Him.
Secondly, the youth with passion is responsible in the church. The youth should be an example in attending church worship. He/she should be responsible in giving their tithes and offerings. He/she should be an example in his or walk with God. He/she should be a participant not an audience in the church.
Thirdly, the youth with passion is responsible in his or her community. The youth should be the light and the salt in their community where they live in. They have to be responsible in their mission for God.
Lastly, the youth with passion is responsible at home. The youth should be obedient to their parents and responsible in their assignments at home.
Rev. Domingo Galagata, of EFC Batangas spoke about the Effective Work of the Words of God. He pointed out three aspects on How the Words of God work in the life of the believers.
First, there should be Realization. Second is Restriction. It means we don’t have to conform to the pattern of this world. We should know your limits as Christians. Third, the words of God should be our Resolution. The words of God will bring us to a right decision.
On the third session, we had Creative Mission. Each of the sections in Luzon was tasked to prepare a presentation about missions. There were four groups who presented. Each of the presentation was an eye opener. Indeed, the harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few.
After the presentation Rev. Jetro Novero, of EFC La Union gave the challenge about missions. When God called us to be part of His harvest, He is showing us His grace and generosity. We were not there during the planting. We were not there in that phase of history. We are only called to be with Him during the harvest. At the end of the message, he encouraged each delegate to hug their pastor as an expression of their support and gratefulness. Our pastors were used by God to know Him and to build a personal relationship with Him. It was an emotional moment because some of them expressed their gratefulness to their pastor for the first time.
On the last session, Rev. Jetro talked about the topic, Reignite Passion for God to Fight the Battle. He emphasized three battles that a believer is facing in his or her life before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first battle is THE BATTLE FOR THE CLARITY OF THE MINDS.
Our enemy wants to attack our minds. He wants to sow confusion. He wants to blur our vision. He wants to deceive us. It is only by the presence of the Holy Spirit that we are able to overcome and be victorious in this battle. There is no human weapon that can make us win this battle because the moment our mind is confused and deceived, we will do a lot of crazy things.
The second battle is THE BATTLE FOR PHYSICAL SURVIVAL.
Jesus mentions wars, earthquakes, famines, death and pains. Everyone of us will face this battle and try to survive physically. But this battle cannot be won by our own strength because this body will ultimately return to dust. It is only our trust and confidence in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that would raise us up. There is a resurrection. That’s the only hope that we have because many times we try to survive physically by doing many things.
The third battle is the BATTLE FOR PURITY OF HEART.
Jesus said: As my coming approaches the hearts of many people will grow cold and many will leave the faith. These people used to be on fire for God. They used to be enthusiastic for God but because of the difficulties and challenges of life, their hearts are getting cold. There is nothing in this world that will get him/ger back except the flame that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Each of the delegates was challenged to come to the altar to allow God to reignite their passion for God and to surrender their lives to Him.
That night we saw lives being touched by the Lord. The power of the Holy Spirit was working mightily and tremendously. It was the night of surrendering lives and reigniting passion through the power of the Holy Spirit.
On third and last day, all the delegates went down to Bauang, La Union Beach for water baptism. Some 30 individuals were baptized. It was a fun and a delightful experience.
We were grateful to those people who teamed with us to make this retreat possible. We thank the Lord for our cook who labored to give us delectable meals. And for all the delegates who made themselves available for the work of the Lord.
We were grateful for our spiritual leaders who were behind us kneeling in prayer to make the NexGen 5 retreat successful. Many thanks to Rev. Dr. Robert Lim for upholding us financially and supporting us in prayers. God makes all things beautiful in His time. To God be all the glory.
The God of love is always longing for our first love. This is what He is saying to the church of Ephesus and to our churches today. We shall not sleep until our first love for Him is restored.
This was the main purpose of the 1st Palawan NexGen Retreat which was held last March 29-30, 2018. The theme, Re-igniting Passion was cry of some 59 delegates from Puerto Princesa City and Bataraza, Palawan.
With God’s grace and provision, we were blessed especially by the encouraging messages of God’s word by our beloved pastors. We were blessed not only with food but more importantly with an experience with Jesus.
The first night session was a blast because we felt the presence of God in the praise and worship service. There’s a longing for the fire of God that reminded us of His love for us. After the praise and worship, we were favored by a special number performed by an 11-year old kid singing an inspiring song. Then, we were blessed and refreshed by the word of God through Rev. Greta Tita Tamayor, of EFC Palawan.
Rev. Greta shared about “The Passion of Christ”. Jesus died to redeem, to release and to restore us to Him. We were freed from the curse of the enemy and from sins. Jesus showed us the true meaning of a heart with passion. As long as we recognize His passion for us, we will be redeemed, released and restored. It was a meaningful and powerful message.
The second session commenced the next morning with praise and worship service. It went smoothly and powerfully. We were not only refreshed by the praise and worship but also blessed by a special number from Bataraza Group who sang Tagalog song giving thanks and praise to God.
Rev. Ricky Tamayor, of EFC Palawan shared about the seven-passion destroyer. One example is Unemployed Talent. He stressed, “Many talented Christians don’t want to use their talents for the Lord wholeheartedly. They serve God depending on their emotions and availability. It is one of the reasons why they are not on fire. They have other agenda in this world.”
After blessing us with spiritual food, it was time for us to be fed with physical food. We were served a mouth- watering food for lunch. Everyone was joyfully eating and had the chance to have fellowship with their designated groups. The lunch and the snacks were unlimited which was graciously given by Rev. Dr. Robert Lim, JECPP Founding Chairman.
On our third and last session, everyone was ready to receive the blessing from the words of God. Everyone sang with gratefulness and joy in their hearts for the Lord. Everyone worshiped God with all their heart as God. After the praise and worship, we were blessed by a special number from the two siblings singing a heart-melted worship for Jesus. Everyone was touched by their performance. Again, all glory was given to the Lord. Then, we listened to the words of God through his servant, Rev. Jetro Novero, of EFC La Union.
Rev. Jetro said, “In order to re-ignite our passion, we need to sacrifice our comfort”. The message wanted us to understand that we must take a big leap for Him. We need to jump out of our comfort zone. We need to do our best for the Lord. We must know what we’re living for. We must eliminate all distractions. This message hit us directly in the heart. Many of us do things according to our own on will, We often don’t acknowledge God’s will in our lives. This message taught us to give our best shot for God. We must go back and know to what or to whom we are dying for. These are the principles we need to acquire in order to reignite our passion, a passion like Jesus Christ has.
The retreat was shielded by God with love, joy and peace and hovered by His presence. Without Him, it is impossible to accomplish it successfully. It’s like we took tons of fresh air in short span of time. God is so good that He allowed us to experience His presence. We are blessed that this event happened in our lives. Evangel Family Church Palawan was on fire for God. Now, we are more committed to serve the Lord until He comes.
We would like to thank God for our spiritual leaders, our JECPP Chairman, our Regional director in Luzon Region, together with the Core leaders for upholding us in prayer and giving us financial support to make this first retreat possible. To God be all the glory.