Basics Seminar Session #4 in Iligan

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By Pastor Glem Melo

By the Lord’s grace and work, our month-long outreach in Iligan City, Mindanao, Philippines, is advancing. Last Saturday, we IMG_5845continued our studies on the following core, essential doctrines/teachings of the Christian faith:

  1. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God for faith and life.
  2. There is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  3. Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% man.
  4. Salvation is by faith alone.

Session #5 will be conducted this coming Saturday. Lord willing, we will hold our first worship service there in a week or two.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to cause these precious ones to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

Church Government 2 in Malolos

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Seminar Session #3

By Pastor Glem Melo

Seminar Session #1

Seminar Session #1

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of conducting a 9-hour ‘Church Government 2′ Seminar for the pastors and members of ‘God is Faithful’ Grace Community Church in Malolos, Bulacan. It dealt with how the early church was governed as recorded in the New Testament, and how to establish a Biblical form of polity in the church today. (The 16-hour ‘Church Government 1: The Basics’ Seminar was conducted there last October 2014.)

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Worship Service

Moreover, it was a joy and honor for me to have preached God’s word in Matthew 4:1-11 during their worship service last Sunday, January 11.

Please remember to pray for this precious congregation of Christ.

Christ Builds His Church in the Philippines

Kagay-an Reformed Church in Cagayan de Oro City
Kagay-an Reformed Church in Cagayan de Oro City

Annual Mission Report for 2014

By Pastor Glem Melo

“… I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:18

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Elder Ordination

I am happy and excited to share with you how the Lord is building and growing His church in our beloved nation.

  1. The upbuilding of our church in Cagayan de Oro continues.
  2. We have a new mission congregation in Antique.
  3. Another new mission congregation is forming in Iligan.
  4. Gospel preaching, teaching and discipleship continues at our mission congregation in Puerto, Cagayan de Oro.
  5. The Lord continues to use our Theological Training Program to equip, edify and reform one (1) church in the province of Bulacan and two (2) in Pampanga.
  6. I continue to teach a church of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East through Skype, teaching videos and online materials.
  7. We served five (5) churches in supertyphoon-ravaged areas.

Kagay-an Reformed Church

In Cagayan de Oro, four (4) new members were added this year, and Bro. Ernnel Tacandong was ordained as an elder. More applicant members are learning the foundational truths of the Gospel through Catechism Classes for adults every Tuesday, and for children, teenagers and young adults every Saturday. Moreover, three (3) Evangelistic Bible Studies are conducted weekly to introduce more individuals and families to the gospel of salvation by grace alone though faith alone in Christ alone.

New Mission Congregation in Antique

Worship Service in Anini-y, Antique
Worship Service in Anini-y, Antique

Since they first contacted us last May, our new brothers and sisters in Anini-y, southern Antique have been visited and ministered to twice by Open Eyes Mission trainees Ernnel Tacandong and Bryan Ranalan, and twice also by yours truly. In both my visits, it has been my joy and privilege to preach the gospel, conduct “Basics of the Christian Faith” seminars and lead church government meetings. Eight (8) have already been interviewed for church membership. They were encouraged to continue studying, believing and applying the core truths of Christ’s saving work in their hearts and lives. I look forward to visiting, teaching and preaching God’s word, and interviewing them again in February 2015. Lord willing and working, they will all then be received as members of the congregation.

Another New Mission Congregation Forming in Iligan

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Basics Seminar in Iligan

Beginning last November 22, we started conducting a 3-session seminar on the Basics of the Christian Faith to a small group in Iligan. They have all shown great hunger for the word of God and were greatly comforted and edified by the Bible’s teachings about itself (its divine inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility and authority), the Trinity, Creation, Providence and our Salvation in Christ, especially the truth about Justification by faith. During the last session, there were discussions about conducting worship services in the city, starting in January 2015, Lord willing.

Mission Congregation in Puerto

In the barangay (village) of Puerto in Cagayan de Oro City, the work of Gospel preaching, teaching and discipleship continues. Last November 30, the first congregational meeting was held for the brothers and sisters there. This month, one-on-one meetings are conducted to instruct and guide them in the faith.

Theological Training Program

Seminars in Cagayan de Oro
Seminars in Cagayan de Oro

This year, the following classes on the following subjects were conducted in Cagayan de Oro City:

  1. Biblical Theology, Rev. Glem Melo, Philippines
  2. Belgic Confession, Rev. Carl Vermeulen, Australia
  3. Forgiveness and Peace-Making, Rev. Stephen ‘t Hart, Australia
  4. Reformation Church History, Dr. Wes Bredenhof, Canada
  5. Introduction to Apologetics, Dr. Wes Bredenhof, Canada
  6. Introduction to the Redemptive-Historical Interpretation and Preaching of the Bible, Rev. Glem Melo, Philippines
  7. Ecclesiology and Ministry, Rev. Glem Melo, Philippines
  8. Science and Christianity, Dr. John Byl, Canada
  9. Reformed Church Order, Rev. Jan deGelder, Canada

In Bulacan, the following modular courses were taught:

  1. Introduction to Biblical Theology, Rev. Glem Melo, Philippines
  2. Reformation Church History, Dr. Wes Bredenhof, Canada
  3. Science and Christianity, Dr. John Byl, Canada
  4. Church Government, Rev. Glem Melo, Philippines
Seminar in Manila
Seminar in Manila

In Manila:

  1. Introduction to Biblical Theology, Rev. Glem Melo, Philippines
  2. Science and Christianity, Dr. John Byl, Canada

In Antique:

  1. Belgic Confession 1, Bro. Ernnel Tacandong
  2. Introduction to Biblical Theology, Rev. Glem Melo
  3. Introduction to Covenant Theology, Rev. Glem Melo
  4. Introduction to the Redemptive-Historical Interpretation of the Bible, Rev. Glem Melo

In Surigao

  1. Belgic Confession 1, Bro. Ernnel Tacandong
  2. Introduction to Biblical Theology, Rev. Glem Melo
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Seminar in Betis, Pampanga

In Pampanga, it was my joy and privilege to teach modular courses on the following subjects:

  1. Introduction to Biblical Theology
  2. Introduction to Covenant Theology
  3. Introduction to the Redemptive-Historical Interpretation of the Bible

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Bible Training in the Middle East

Moreover, life-giving teachings on the following subjects were provided to a church of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East:

  1. Basics of the Christian Faith – Skype, blogs and online correspondences
  2. Basic Biblical Theology – Skype and teaching videos
  3. Basic Covenant Theology – online correspondences

Indeed, we look back with joy and thanksgiving at the significant progress and expansion of the ministry of the gospel and church planting that the Lord wrought among us this year. We praise the Lord for them, and thank all who prayed and supported our mission in various ways. We hope and pray that you will continue to pray for our team and support our endeavors for Christ and His church-gathering work.

May the Lord continue to establish the work of His hands.

PRAYER ALERT: New Category-5 Super Typhoon Approaches the Philippines

MONSTER STORM. On December 4, 2014, at 02:10 UTC, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite took this visible image of Super Typhoon Hagupit approaching the Philippines. Image Credit: NASA Goddard's MODIS Rapid Response Team
MONSTER STORM. On December 4, 2014, at 02:10 UTC, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite took this visible image of Super Typhoon Hagupit approaching the Philippines. Image Credit: NASA Goddard’s MODIS Rapid Response Team

By Pastor Glem Melo

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32 million are in the path of Super Typhoon ‘Hagupit.’

A new Category-5 Super Typhoon ‘Hagupit’ (local name: Ruby) is expected to make a landfall in the same areas that were devastated by Super Tyhoon Haiyan 13 months ago. CNN reports:

The strongest storm system so far this year bears down on the Philippines, terrifying residents still shaken by the devastating impact of Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.

Out over the ocean, the storm was displaying its formidable force, generating maximum sustained winds of around 287 kilometers per hour (178 mph), the equivalent of a strong Category 5 hurricane, according to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

With Hagupit’s precise path still uncertain, Philippine authorities issued storm warnings for 56 of the country’s 81 provinces, covering around 70% of the country’s population of 100 million…

(http://edition.cnn.com/2014/12/04/world/asia/philippines-super-typhoon-hagupit/)

From The Philippine Star:

Storm surges up to four meters high are likely to hit coastal communities in Northern Samar and Leyte, including the capital Tacloban City, and possibly the Bicol Region and Surigao provinces, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

(http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/12/05/1399241/super-typhoon-ruby-storm-surge-alert)

Tacloban residents wait for a government vehicle to bring them to the evacuation center in Tacloban City on Thursday in anticipation of typhoon Ruby's impact. Ruby, packing winds of up to 195 kph with gusts of up to 230 kph, was expected to make landfall on Saturday. (ABS-CBN News)

Tacloban residents wait for a government vehicle to bring them to the evacuation center in Tacloban City on Thursday in anticipation of typhoon Ruby’s impact. Ruby, packing winds of up to 195 kph with gusts of up to 230 kph, was expected to make landfall on Saturday. (ABS-CBN News)

And regarding the evacuation of Haiyan victims-survivors, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports:

At least 15,761 families in Tacloban and 3,000 in Eastern Samar started to evacuate on Thursday, two days before the expected landfall of [the super typhoon].

(http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/654848/yolanda-survivors-rush-to-evac-centers)

Please pray:

  1. That the Lord will spare the lives of many.
  2. For grace, wisdom and strength for our mission team.
  3. For the finances needed to serve those who will be affected by the super typhoon.

Promise and Warning

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Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle of the destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule

By Pastor Glem Melo

Isaiah 1:19-20 may be paraphrased this way:

“If you are willing and consequently will obey, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and consequently will rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

The Flight of the Prisoners, by James Tissot
The Flight of the Prisoners, by James Tissot

They point back to God’s call for genuine repentance in verses 16-17, and His offer of free cleansing in verse 18. If His people are repentant and would trust in Him alone for cleansing and salvation, then the Lord would protect them from all their enemies and cause them to enjoy peace and blessings in the land that He has given them. But if they remain unrepentant and refuse His gospel call and offer, then God’s covenant judgment and wrath will fall upon them.

Sadly, the Israelites refused God’s offer, and continued to rebel against Him.  “[L]ike Adam they transgressed the covenant… [T]hey dealt faithlessly with” the Lord (Hosea 6:7). Therefore, like Adam, the Lord judged and punished them. They were “eaten by the sword,” and their remnant were taken captive to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15-21).

The Crucifixion, seen from the Cross, by James Tissot
The Crucifixion, seen from the Cross, by James Tissot

But 2,000 years ago, Christ the new Adam and the new Israel perfectly obeyed God’s word and never rebelled against Him. Through His sinless perfection and obedience He earned all covenant blessings.

Moreover, on the cross, Christ was “eaten by [God’s] sword” and suffered His covenant wrath and curse. Through His death and sacrifice, He paid for our sins of disobedience and rebellion, and purchased for us forgiveness of sins and salvation from God’s judgment and condemnation.

Without Christ, we will all be “eaten by the sword,” doomed to eternal wrath and condemnation. But because of His perfect life, death and resurrection, all true Christian believers are saved from God’s covenant judgment and curse. United to Him by faith, we have become “heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29). In Him we have been granted all the covenant blessings that both Adam and Israel failed to achieve. Because of Jesus, we “shall eat the good of the land.”

Meanwhile, as we wait for Christ’s second coming, the Holy Spirit keeps us from refusing and rebelling against God. He makes us “willing” to heed His call to genuine repentance and accept His offer of free cleansing in Jesus. He causes and enables us to grow in Christlike obedience.

Friends, God’s warning is as real as His promise. Refusing and rebellion are to be persistently avoided at all cost. Willingness to heed God’s gospel call and offer is a must.

Repent. Believe. And by faith, obey.

“… for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Cleansing: A Gift from God

The Seraph cleanses Isaiah’s lips with a coal (Isaiah 6:6). “The Prophet Isaiah” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1696-1700, Palazzo Patriarcale, Udine, Italy.
The Seraph cleanses Isaiah’s lips with a coal (Isaiah 6:6). “The Prophet Isaiah” by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1696-1700, Palazzo Patriarcale, Udine, Italy.

By Pastor Glem Melo

Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:16-18)

“[T]he Lord calls his people to the bar of his justice where of course, they can only be found guilty. But it is there that they hear words of free pardon based on the substitutionary death of a divinely appointed sacrifice.” – Alec Motyer

To be saved from His covenant wrath and to enjoy His covenant blessings, we are required by God to “wash” and make ourselves “clean” (verses 16-17). But that is humanly impossible because our sinfulness is total and absolute, and the cleansing that the Lord requires is a perfect and radical change of nature ̶ from “scarlet” and “red like crimson” to “white as snow” and “wool” (18). Therefore, in His amazing grace and mercy, He, the covenant King and Father whom His people has wickedly wronged and forsaken, offers forgiveness and renewal as free gift to all who come to Him in faith and repentance (19-20).

The Crucifixion, seen from the Cross, by James Tissot, 19th century

The Crucifixion, seen from the Cross, by James Tissot, 19th century

This was fulfilled in Christ when He died on the cross to pay for sins and accomplish salvation for all who believe in Him:

God put him forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:25)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

Confess to the Lord that you are

  • sinful,
  • unable to cleanse yourself, and
  • in need of God’s free gift of cleansing.

Believe and accept God’s offer of total, perfect and eternal cleansing in Christ.

By the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, live as a cleansed person in Christ.

Elder Ordination

Open Eyes Mission:

“Last month, in conjunction with our 9-day Church Government Course, Rev. Jan DeGelder (Minister Emeritus at Flamborough Canadian Reformed Church) and I interviewed Bro. Ernnel Tacandong for eldership. Last Sunday, it was my joy, honor and privilege to ordain him as an elder of Kagay-an Reformed Church. Please remember to pray for him, our local congregation and church planting missions.” – Pastor Glem Melo

Originally posted on KAGAY-AN REFORMED CHURCH:

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We thank the Lord for the ordination of Bro. Ernnel Tacandong as an elder of Kagay-an Reformed Church.

When I first met him, Ernnel was studying in a local seminary program, and was being groomed to become a pastor. Desirous to learn more about God and His word, he started attending our weekly Bible Training classes in Cagayan de Oro in February of 2012. Eventually, he served as a contractual disaster response worker for Open Eyes Mission. By God’s grace, he and his wife Divine were received as member of Kagay-an Reformed Church last February. Last month, Rev. Jan DeGelder (Minister Emeritus at Flamborough Canadian Reformed Church) and I interviewed him for eldership. Last Sunday, it was my joy, honor and privilege to ordain him as an elder. He also serves as the chairman of our local church’s Administration Committee.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.24.30 PMFollowing are his…

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