Winnipeg benefits from clean up initiative; 100 large bags of litter disposed
Date Posted: April 23, 2021
MANITOBA, Canada – Volunteers from the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or the Church Of Christ enthusiastically contributed to a cleaner and healthier Winnipeg by collecting garbage along the Red River, Omand’s Creek, and Maryland’s Street.
Through the Church’s INC Giving Project, a clean-up drive was held on April 10 and 11, 2021 in cooperation with Take Pride Winnipeg, a non-profit organization.
Tom Ethans, Take Pride Winnipeg’s Executive Director, expressed his appreciation for the activity saying, “It’s fantastic to see the amount of people that came out to help … It took a lot of people to get probably over 100 bags of litter and we can now say that area is a little cleaner, not perfect but a little cleaner. We appreciate all the effort that everyone has made.”
He also expressed his gratitude to the INC for how its Christian values motivate the youth to fulfill acts of kindness and volunteering, “That’s so important to get young people to see how they can help and how they can volunteer to make things better.”
Several onlookers observed the INC volunteers’ efforts in cleaning up the streets, they showed their appreciation too by waving as they passed by, and even stopping by to say hello and thank you. The Church also hopes that their efforts will encourage others to do the same in their community.
Over the years, the INC in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has conducted several clean-up drives, at times in local neighborhoods or public areas such as The Forks Market and St. James Civic Center.
The INC Giving Project is a project of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ that encourages volunteers to go into their communities and share their faith through acts of kindness. Through outreach initiatives, community service projects, and philanthropic contributions, volunteers around the world have joined together to make a positive social impact by offering time and resources for the well-being of those in need.
At present, the INC has a strong presence in 158 countries and territories. This Church, led by Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, constantly holds Aid To Humanity and INC Giving events, extending assistance to community members in need, in the areas of livelihood, health, and hygiene, and most notably in the field of spirituality through the sharing of Bible-based doctrines and teachings in different parts of the globe. These ongoing socio-civic activities aim to forge strong relationships between the INC and its members and their communities.
Mintal Congregation reaches out to Ubu Manobo tribe
By NOREEN YGONIA and RONNIE H. MUTYA
Date Posted: March 29, 2021
Church Of Christ members from the Mintal Local Congregation in the Ecclesiastical District of Davao West traveled for more than 50 kilometers from their house of worship to Sitio Falcata, Barangay Datu Ladayon, Arakan Valley, North Cotabato, Philippines on March 12, 2021. It was their aim to give aid to their fellowmen and propagate the true Christian faith.
As soon as they arrived in the said far flung village, the brethren distributed free personal protective equipment, such as face masks and face shields to every household. Afterwards, they invited them to attend the evangelical mission to be held later that day.
Airwind delos Santos, a deacon from Mintal Local Congregation, explained: “We reach out to many people even in remote places because it is our duty to God to propagate His words for them to know about the truth that would lead them to the true worship and service of God, and most importantly, to receive the promised salvation.”
The efforts of the brethren were not in vain as many of the beneficiaries accepted their invitation and arrived at the venue of the Bible study. The guests were taught about the only true God—the Father in heaven—as taught by the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles.
The preaching of God’s words was led by the resident ministerial worker, Brother Johnyver Dora. Towards the end of the lesson, he emphasized the importance of being a member of the Church Of Christ—the true Church that God deems worthy for one to be saved on the nearing Judgment Day.
One of the guests, Datu Sumin Bucas, tribe leader of Ubu Manobo, said, “I am enlightened to know about the teachings of God based from the Bible. We hope to learn more about these in the future.” — With reports from INC News Section
Southern Ontario couples hold special gathering and Buklod Night
By SHARMAINE ANTAZO and VINCE T. BASCO
Date Posted: December 31, 2020
Brother Raul Adalla, district supervising minister, preached to the married members through livestreaming about the importance of managing their household to uphold Christian values. He also emphasized that the teaching of religion should begin in the family and this is a responsibility of the parents to their children.
“The heads of the household are expected to stand their ground in their faith and membership in the Church and value their relationship with God, never turn away or betray Him,” said Brother Jesse Anthony Bocobo, a minister of the gospel who serves as the district edification overseer.
After the special gathering, a Buklod Night followed wherein Buklod district officers prepared a program conducted through a videoconferencing application. Iglesia Ni Cristo music videos and wedding photos of the couples in the district were presented.
Other parts of the program included a solo performance and a question-and-answer portion about the Church’s accomplishments.
The couples enjoyed the program with a family dinner and the activities further strengthened their marital bond. — With reports from INC News Section
Reflecting on the Lord’s guidance to His nation
By SIEGFRED T. GOLLAYAN
THE YEAR 2020 has been a horrible year for many because of the various problems they faced, such as ongoing armed conflicts, economic difficulties, violence, and social evils that have made living especially difficult. Aggravating the already bad situation are the Covid-19 pandemic that up to now is still plaguing the entire world and the onslaught of destructive calamities.
For members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), despite all that has happened this year, they still consider it a matter of great blessing that they are able to hurdle life’s challenges while remaining in the true service of the Lord God. They count the Almighty God’s blessings—both material and spiritual—and marvel at His continued guidance to His chosen people in these last days. Hence, as the year finally draws to a close, they take a moment to pause and reflect on the goodness of God as manifest in the victories He granted in their holy endeavors.
Successfully spreading the gospel
Despite community quarantines or lockdowns that governments implemented to keep the populace safe from the pandemic, the Church Of Christ has consistently pursued its mission of spreading the gospel of salvation (Mark 16:15-16) while following health safety protocols. Through mass media and social media, the Church continues to air its radio and television programs and the brethren were able to share the links of online evangelical missions to their loved ones and friends.
One of the religious programs of the Church aired on INCTV
Online evangelical mission in Japan
Online evangelical mission in Western Europe
The tireless efforts of the brethren in sharing the faith have not been in vain as new converts were added to the Church. Baptisms were held in various parts of the world, while observing health protocols.
Baptism in Espiritu Santo GWS, Vanuatu
Baptism in Aurora, Philippines
More workers for the Lord’s harvest field
With the growth of the Church comes the need for more ministers to care for the growing need of the Lord’s flock. In answer to the Church’s prayer, which the Lord Jesus instructed His servants to say, that the Lord God send out more workers into His vast harvest field (Matt. 9:38), a total of 100 new ministers were ordained from January 2020.
Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
January 24, 2020
Templo Central, Quezon City, Philippines
September 20, 2020
Templo Central, Quezon City, Philippines
October 31, 2020
Also, 1195 new graduates from the Iglesia Ni Cristo School For Ministers took their oath as regular ministerial workers.
SFM graduates of Bachelor of Pastoral Studies and Evangelism takes their oath of office on September 20, 2020
Edifying the fold
Part of the quarantine measures implemented by national governments to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 is the temporary prohibition of large gatherings that included religious services. However, this did not hinder the brethren from worshiping God (Heb. 10:27) as they conducted Household Worship Services. On several occasions, they attended worship services that were officiated by the Executive Minister himself via live streaming, while in the confines of their respective homes.
An INC family during household worship service
The Christian Family Organizations (CFO) launched various activities such as webinars discussing tips to cope with stress and additional livelihood opportunities to help the brethren whose jobs were affected by lockdown measures.
A brother in Davao de Oro tends to his garden under the “Gulayan sa Bakuran” project of the Church
Brethren from Latin America during their cooking webinar series
During a parenting seminar held in by the CFO in Davao West
During a seminar recently held by the Christian Employees Association (CEA)
Children's Worship Service members in Northern Europe as they enjoy their storytelling activity
Following government-imposed work and health protocols, the Church was not deterred by the pandemic from constructing houses of worship and dedicating them to God.
The Executive Minister officiated the dedication of the Davao City Congregation house of worship
on August 8, 2020 via live streaming
Concern for others
Through the stewardship of its Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, the Church Of Christ unceasingly pursues its socio-civic projects in different parts of the world. With a helping hand, it reaches out to various sectors in society, especially to the needy, in compliance with the biblical command to “not grow weary while doing good … to all” (Gal. 6:9–10 New King James Version). It further intensifies this humanitarian work as tragedies and disasters strike one after another.
The following day right after Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted on January 12, the Church Of Christ, through the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, promptly responded by conducting the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid to Humanity) to supply the immediate needs of calamity victims in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.
Before the pandemic: Taal eruption evacuees as they receive care packages
that included rice, canned goods, and face masks
Before the pandemic: Calamity victims as they receive free medical services and medicines
Before the pandemic: SCAN members as they assist in the evacuation of trapped families in danger zones
To help create livelihood opportunities for Church members and nonmembers, the Church established its first eco-farm in the USA in Soshoni, Wyoming on January 21, 2020.
Before the pandemic: The ribbon-cutting formally opening the Church’s recent addition to its long line of livelihood projects
INC Giving and Aid to Humanity were conducted in various parts of the globe to help ease the burden brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. On such events, goods, food, care packages, including personal protective equipment, were distributed to frontliners and individuals. Health care donations were also given to public schools, nursing homes, and elderly facilities.
10,000 face masks were donated to 12 schools in Canada
500 receive free flu shots and care packages in Norfolk, Virginia
Residents of Astoria Houses in Queens, New York receives 1,000 care packages
The cheque donation of the Church as handed to Soowahlie First Nation band administration in British Columbia, Canada
In the Philippines, the Ciudad de Victoria Complex was used as a mega-quarantine facility housing Covid-19 patients, frontliners, and health care workers.
Some Covid-19 survivors as they leave the Ciudad de Victoria Complex
Donation of the INC to the Quezon City Government to help with the needs of its constituents
And on Brother Eduardo Manalo’s birthday on October 31, the Church conducted the Worldwide Aid to Humanity to help alleviate the troubles of people brought about by the pandemic. This humanitarian effort was again carried out after a few days in the Philippines when several super typhoons ravaged the country, submerging many towns under water, leaving thousands of families homeless, and destroying millions of pesos worth of crops and properties.
North Hollywood, California
The world today may be gripped by uncertainty and a pervading sense of instability yet God’s people in these last days—the members of the Church Of Christ—have all the reasons to be thankful to Him for His blessings. And while in these trying times, the rest of mankind is apprehensive of what the future may bring, they remain hopeful and optimistic that He will do again all the good that He has done for them, and more.
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Onward to the promised land
One must look to the future with hope and faith for a “better home in heaven” where he will receive God’s eternal rewards.
By ROLAND A. AGUIRRE
YOU CAN CALL it terra firma, ground, earth, or land. Occupying almost a quarter of the globe, it is one of life’s most coveted possessions. But it does not come cheap. In fact, the quest for land ownership has spawned conflicts and turmoil that run the gamut from petty disputes to bloody wars: it is the cause of animosity between squatters and landowners, tenants and landlords, and of border disputes and territorial conflicts between countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Great Britain and Argentina, among others. The centuries-old conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians has been very deeply rooted in it. Likewise, it is one of the reasons the hostility between India and Pakistan might cross the nuclear threshold and endanger planet Earth.
Indeed, it is a great irony that something so ubiquitous and abundant is beyond the possession of many and continues to severely affect the relationships among peoples and nations. Wars have been waged, conflicts have intensified, and relationships have been severed—all because of land. And yet, despite all these problems, the quest and longing for it remain unquenched.
The land of Canaan
The first nation of God, Israel, was promised a land described in the Bible as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exod. 3:8 New King James Version). The land of Canaan was often referred to as the promised land because of God’s repeated promise to give the land to Abraham and his descendants:
“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
“Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Gen. 17:7-8 NKJV)
There was no easy way into Canaan; it was inhabited by greater and mightier nations with armies larger and better equipped. But, because of God’s promise, Israel emerged victorious against formidable adversaries (Deut. 7:1-2; 20:1, 3-4 NKJV). And, as God’s chosen people, ancient Israel had the right to serve and glorify God because of His promises and covenant with Abraham and his descendants (Deut. 7:8-9; Ps. 105:9-10 NKJV). Moreover, not only did Israel have the true worship but also the hope of receiving His promises (Rom. 9:4 Today’s English Version).
However, the Israelites did not remain faithful to God’s covenant with them; they transgressed His law and turned away from Him:
“All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.” (Dan. 9:11 New International Version)
The Israelites’ unfaithfulness had a tragic consequence: they were rejected by God and ceased to be His chosen people (Hos. 4:6; Jer. 6:19, 30 NKJV).
From a full-pledged nation with a land of its own, the Israelite Kingdom collapsed and its people were thrown into captivity.
‘Strangers and foreigners on earth’
In the Christian era, the promised land remains to be a promise, which is given by God not just to Israel in the flesh anymore. This promised land, certainly, cannot be this earth. Our present home called earth falls short of what we can consider to be a promised land offering a blissful life. Life on earth continues to deteriorate day by day as man continues to grapple with complex and unrelenting problems like dreadful diseases, natural and man-made calamities, and terrorism, among many others. The political landscape portrays a world reeling in crisis while on the economic front the outlook is downbeat and pessimistic. The prophetic words of Isaiah is foreboding:
“Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.” (Isa. 8:22 NIV)
Indeed, life on earth is not only fragile but also sad and frightening; the present terra firma does not offer hope. Although man’s progress has grown by leaps and bounds, he still suffers from its tragic consequences.
Where should we put our hope then? Apostle Paul wrote:
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Cor. 4:18 NKJV)
Hence, present realities, however hard and painful, should not cloud our hope for the things incorruptible and timeless—God’s promise of a better land. And so, just like the faithful servants of God in ancient times, those who hope for God’s eternal promises in the Christian era consider themselves as mere strangers and foreigners on earth because “they were looking forward to a better home in heaven.” Apostle Paul made this clear when he said:
“… But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own.
“But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That’s why God wasn’t ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.” (Heb. 11:13-14, 16 Contemporary English Version)
Thus, inasmuch as Canaan merely foreshadowed the Holy City and this earth we live in can never be the promised land, one must look to the future with hope and faith for a “better home in heaven” where he will receive God’s eternal rewards.
The new heaven and the new earth
This “better home in heaven,” also called the Holy City or the New Jerusalem, was described by Apostle John in a prophetic vision:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Rev. 21:1-3 NKJV)
Glory abounds in “the new heaven and the new earth” for it has the glory of God (Rev. 21:11 NKJV), the kind of glory which is eternal, as Apostle Paul pointed out:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (II Cor. 4:17 NIV)
Thus, our pains and sufferings in this world are nothing compared to the great and eternal glory that will be revealed to us in the Holy City. Again Apostle Paul elucidated:
“I consider that what we suffer at the present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18 TEV)
In the Holy City, we will enjoy a glorious life because there will be no more tears, grief, pain, death, crying, hunger and thirst (Rev. 21:1-4; 7:16 TEV). Hence, in that promised homeland, the New Jerusalem, a life of complete joy and happiness awaits us (Isa. 65:17-19 TEV). Undeniably, life there is perfect and what reigns therein is eternal peace. No warfare of any kind will ever take place there. In the New Jerusalem, conflicts over lands, borders and territories are but things of the past.
In addition, the place is unequaled in its pulchritude and unmatched in its resplendence:
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
“Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. … The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. … The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” (Rev. 21:10-11, 18, 21 NKJV)
All kinds of precious stones adorn the foundations of the city wall. And at each of the gates are angels. There is no house of worship or temple in the Holy City because God and Christ are its temple (Rev. 21:12, 19-25 NKJV). Moreover, the river of life and the tree of life are among the precious things also found in the Holy City (Rev. 22:1-7 NKJV).
Surely, the New Jerusalem or the Holy City is worth our sacrifices and sufferings—and our waiting.
Citizens of the new promised land
But how can people in the Christian era become heirs to God’s promises and thus, enter the Holy City?
After Israel fell into apostasy, Abraham’s seed carried on with God’s covenant with Abraham. The Bible enlightens us on this regard:
“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29 NIV)
Hence, in the Christian era, God’s everlasting covenant with Abraham continues because it was handed down to those who belong to Christ and thus are Abraham’s seed. One need not be an Israelite in the flesh anymore to partake of God’s covenant with Abraham. By virtue of having relationship to Christ, who is Abraham’s seed, one can have a share of God’s promises. The Bible emphasizes this:
“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds’, as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed’, who is Christ.” (Gal. 3:16 NKJV)
And how can one have relationship to Christ? How can man inherit God’s promises? By becoming a part of the body. This is what the Bible teaches:
“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” (Eph. 3:6 NKJV)
The body referred to is the Church of Christ (Col. 1:18 NKJV; Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation). Thus, not just anyone can be an heir to God’s promise. And through an illustration, Christ introduced the heirs to God’s promises. They are the ones who, on His second advent, are likened to sheep placed at His right, as opposed to those likened to goats at His left. The sheep of Christ will be the ones to inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 25:31-34 TEV). The Holy Scriptures clarifies that the flock where Christ’s sheep are gathered is the Church of Christ (Acts 20:28 Lamsa).
Therefore, the members of the Church of Christ, inasmuch as they belong to Christ, are the seed of Abraham regardless of their race, color, or social status. They have the covenant that God made to Abraham, that is, the right to serve and glorify God. By virtue of this great privilege they now are heirs to God’s promises and have the right to enter the New Jerusalem or the Holy City.
As hardships, trials, and sacrifices marked Israel’s laborious journey toward Canaan, so is the journey of God’s nation in these last days toward the new promised land. Yet members of the Church of Christ are ready and willing to sacrifice even their own lives, if necessary, for the sake of this eternal blessing from God. And this they do with utmost conviction and dedication because of their firm hope that their citizenship is in heaven, as Paul in his epistle to the Philippians puts it plainly:
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Phil. 3:20-21 NKJV)
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