There is an appointed time for everything…. Eccl 3:1
An appointed time for every affair under the heavens…
I have been receiving requests for a copy of the message that I have been giving to the different chapters where as BCBP President, I have been installing new leaders. I have decided to use this as basis for my December column, revising it a bit to reflect the ending of the year 2011, the beginning of the New Year 2012, and the beginning of our Liturgical Year with the Advent and Christmas seasons. -Larry Veloso, BCBP Cebu
I believe today is the appointed time … for the installation of the new leaders of your Chapter, and for assessing our own leadership as His servant-leaders. God has chosen this Season of Advent – a season of hope, a time to start anew, as the appointed time, for a good reason.
As we start anew, I believe that the LORD wants us to reassess our lives of discipleship and make the necessary changes. The LORD wants us to repent for our failures and renew our spiritual vigor and love for GOD. He calls us to go back to our first love. Are you willing to do that?
This is always a good opportunity to look back and thank the LORD for the blessings received through the years – for bringing the BCBP to the forefront in so many, many different areas, regions and provinces in the country … and even now in SoCal. The growing of the BCBP has not been easy and smooth all the way; there were a lot of trials and difficulties, but by the grace of God, we have been able to overcome and emerge victorious. We also thank the LORD for giving us leaders who have selflessly served us and led us through the years. We also thank the Lord for the new leaders that will be guiding our way in the coming year.
This is also a good time to look back and ask the LORD to help us see where we have failed Him, and help us to be more faithful to His call for us, to His call for our Community.
Let us always remember to focus on our VISION, the very reason for our existence as a Community. We are here because of GOD’s call for us is to WIN THE MARKETPLACE FOR CHRIST, to WIN THE BUSINESSES AND THE PROFESSIONS FOR CHRIST.
Have we been faithful to that call? How far have we gone in evangelizing the businessmen and professionals in our respective areas into living out our Christian values and being change agents in the marketplace?
Have we made an impact on the culture of the Businesses and Professions such that
JUSTICE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, INTEGRITY and EXCELLENCE are upheld? Perhaps, to some extent we have, but we still have a long way to go, a lot of work to do. Di Ba?
In our BCBP NAC 31 celebration in Dumaguete last May 2011, the LORD reminded us that what will attract others to Christ is the LOVE and CARE which we manifest to each other in our interpersonal relationships which come from our personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is not our activity that produces fruit, it is our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our becoming more and more like Christ.
Therefore, if we are not bearing much fruit for the LORD, the 1st thing we should review and evaluate is our individual personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure you agree with me.
As we are entering the New Year let me remind everyone of us, our BCBP leaders and leaders-to-be (because each of us is a leader in one way or another in our respective family, community, and/or marketplace) that to become a leader in our Community is to choose a life of service. To embrace a life of service is to embrace the call to be a disciple of Jesus – the Lord of our Service. To be a disciple of Jesus is to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him to Calvary. Di ba? Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to be crucified like Christ?
Our BCBP Community Manual describes in detail the duties and responsibilities of leaders in our BCBP Community and I urge you to go over it, understand it, internalize it, and live it, for that is what you are accountable for. For now, let me share with you how our BCBP Community Manual (p. 79) describes what a leader in the BCBP is and what his most basic qualifications and responsibilities are. Perhaps, some of you have heard me say this before but I will say this again.
Paul summarizes it well in his exhortation to the elders of Ephesus when he tells them: “Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son” (Acts 20:28). Peter continues the exhortation as follows: “I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it – not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock.” (1Peter 5:1-3).
True leaders are shepherds who out of love for the Lord , care for the people that the Lord has won with his blood. It is the desire and longing of the heart of our leaders to see those they care for grow in holiness and become more and more empowered by the Holy Spirit to participate effectively in the mission of the BCBP. No leader in the BCBP, regardless at what level of responsibility he serves, can do what Paul and Peter ask unless he remains deeply united with Christ in prayer and through obedience to his commandments (John 15:1-8), especially verse 5: “ I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” That is why our daily prayer time and scripture reading and meditation are so very important. This is why they are at the very top of our commitment card.
Let me ask you. What made you say YES to God’s call to serve? Did you take time to reflect on God’s call for you to serve ? Do you continue to reflect on your YES, on what made you say YES to His call?
I know that when I decided to love and serve God, it was out of profound gratitude for His love for me, for all He has done for me. He who loves me so much, whose love for me is unconditional, steadfast, eternal, chose me and called me to serve. How could I say NO?
I believe that true love expresses itself in deeds rather than in words. When I decide to love, I place myself in the service of my beloved. Di Ba? Do you agree with me?
Do you take time to thank the LORD for His Love and for all the blessings that you receive from Him each day? Do you take time to thank your spouse, your parents, your children, your brothers and sisters, your helpers and workers, and your neighbors for their love and service?
Brothers and sisters, a grateful heart is a heart that is willing to serve, ready to serve, and available to serve. Amen?
Well, to those of you who prefer to be comfortable, just doing what you want to do, serving where and when you want to serve, attending only the activities that you want to attend, let me tell you this:
When you become comfortable—no more sacrifices, no more challenges and difficulties – then you stop growing. And when you stop growing, then you start dying. This is the situation in some of our Chapters today. The members and even some of the leaders have become comfortable and complacent just maintaining the status quo, doing what is familiar and safe, and so they have stopped growing and have started dying, losing the vibrancy that they used to have.
Ask yourself: Is this happening in my Chapter? What about the Action Groups – do they have the same members year after year? How about the BCBP breakfasts — do you see the same faces every week, no new breakfasters, no new sharers? Then look at the Teachings and Assemblies – have they become boring and no longer life giving?
Brothers and sister, we must learn to LET GO of the safe and familiar, and learn to embrace the new and untrodden paths where the Holy Spirit is leading us. We’ve got to keep the fire burning. We have to continuously ask the Holy Spirit to set our hearts on fire, to set our Action Groups on fire, to set our Chapter on fire, on fire with God’s love/service love. Each one should serve. Everyone should serve. It may not be easy or comfortable. You will go through pain and difficulties, but you will be purified / sanctified, and you will grow and bear fruit. Are you willing to do that?
One final word: When people do not measure up to our expectations and we feel that our efforts are being wasted, we must keep in mind that God is the one we serve. He is worthy of our best effort. God always deserves our best effort and it is to Him that we must give an account of our service.
My prayer then is that the Lord will continue to guide you, strengthen you and equip all of you as you continue to pursue more vigorously His call to evangelize the marketplace and win the marketplace in your area for Him.
May our Blessed Mother, who is our model of a faithful disciple, help you to be always faithful and true to the call that her son, our Lord Jesus Christ, has given our Community.
May each of you and your loved ones experience the joy of Christmas and welcome the true Spirit of the Christ Child Jesus into your hearts and into your lives. And may He continue to live in you anew not only during this season but throughout the coming years.
Didit and I are one in thanking God for each one of you who have accompanied us in our service in the BCBP Community. We extend you our warmest love and wishes for a joyous and spirit-filled Christmas season, as well as for a fruitful and blessed New Year 2012!
God bless us all! God bless the BCBP that brings us together in His One Spirit!