Danny Juralbal– A Good Soldier Has Gone Home

Danny Juralbal has gone home.

His being readmitted to a hospital was one news we PBCians had been watching. Danny was a fellow alumnus; more than that, he was a fellow minister of the gospel and a fellow soldier in Jesus. And so we watched, and hoped.

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What Are We? Restorers, Reformers, or What?

There’s this very intriguing series of questions: What are we as a church? Are we restorers, reformers, or renewers? (This last word I have to invent; it’s not in the dictionary).

The churches of Christ are not the only religious group who claims to be the restored church; the Mormons (founded by Joseph Smith in 1830) and the Iglesia ni Cristo (by Felix Manalo, in 1914) do too.

Alexander Campbell and his father Thomas, as far as my studies are concerned, called themselves and their fellow disciples “reformers,” not restorers. At the close of the 17th century, forsaking their Seceder Presbyterian roots, they urged all believers to go back to the Bible. Brother Bill Humble goes on record as saying that the “Restoration Movement [rooted in the work of the Campbells, Abner Jones, Elias Smith, Barton W. Stone and Walter Scott] began in America in 1800″ (The Restoration Story, p. 1). Thus it can be said that the “Restoration Movement” was fathered by those who never called themselves “restorers.”

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Sins and Mistakes We Make

This insight comes to me kind of slowly. As I read the posts I made in the PBCAA Blog, I noticed so many mistakes. I mean MY mistakes.But since I am not the moderator of that site, I cannot go to that post I made and do the necessary correction. It is not MY site. In MY Blogs, I could just revise, amend, correct the posts I had written, or consign it to the trash bin. This is the liberty of the one who creates it.

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Sympathy

In our 24-hour commute to life, do we have even thirty minutes to drop by the Station called Sympathy? Thirty minutes is not much, considering that we still have 23 hours and 30 minutes for ourselves, to do our chores, to catch some sleep, to cook dinner, to get a sip of coffee, or have lunch, to watch DVD, to exchange pleasantries, to chat on the Net, to argue with a neighbor over dog poop, to go malling. The Lord does not even demand thirty minutes. But a few seconds will do.

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Doing A Good Turn for Jesus

He watches this young mother and her two kids. The older kid is on the other side of the road to fulfill an errand, and is about to cross. But crossing a busy street with all these trucks, cars and pick-ups rushing by, requires the agility of a superman, if not the wisdom of a Solomon. “Don’t cross, not yet,” the young mother shouts at the top of her voice. The younger son in her arms and the two traveling bags on both shoulders weigh heavily on her. She is the Muslim engineer’s wife.

He rushes to the middle of the street and signals the oncoming vehicles to stop, holds the boy by the hand and deposits him in front of his mother. No word is said, neither from him nor from the Muslim wife. Does this woman’s culture keep her from smiling at strangers? he asks himself. In Muslim countries a male person cannot even greet a Muslim lady. But this is no Muslim community; it is my community. And here is a good turn that waits to be done, and nobody is there to do it.

The Muslim wife smiles at him. He smiles back. That is all. Then the young mother waves at the taxi that passes by, and off they go.

Doing a good turn. That, he himself believes, is the challenge of Christlikeness: Doing an act of kindness for people who don’t expect it, regardless of culture differences. He has done that before, and is doing it now. The former acts have been much more difficult, some people are saying. It involves spending one’s own money for someone else’s food, someone he does not even know, who may even be hostile to his faith. He gives it without any hope of return. The idea sounds countercultural, but it has a very strong biblical basis.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” Jesus asked, addressing a large crowd. “For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to them who do good to you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32-33). Clearly Jesus wants His people to do more than, and beyond what culture requires. Christianity is over and above what Muslim, Catholic or Protestant culture demands.

Christianity demands selflessness. That means myself or yourself. That means whether we get credit for it or not. It does not demand repayment. It does not mean I list it down should you forget it tomorrow. Christians are sufferers: They suffer a form of spiritual Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia when it comes to acts of kindness done in the past.

Sinners demand from the righteous much more than they demand of themselves. The Jews demanded that Jesus be nailed on the cross for defaming their God, their temple and their law, but wanted the Gentiles to do the job of nailing and hanging Him for them. Crucifying a “blasphemer” is a dirty job. They remembered they were a “holy” people living in “holy” land. Even a nail would be abominable, more so the body of one who hanged on a cross. In the end Jesus allowed them to have their own way, suffering and dying because of both. On the cross He prayed for those who nailed and crucified Him–both Gentiles and Jews. This act of His is over and above what our culture would expect anyone to do. In this world, if you slapped me on the left, I will slap you on the right.

Christianity, the system Jesus founded, demands Christlikeness. Jesus wants His people do good regardless of religion and culture. Giving the other cheek. Walking two miles when the enemy demands a mile. Not resisting evil. Praying for those who would hurt you. Not insisting on justice. Jesus does not even demand that we take up His cross; He just wants us to take up our own. Our own cross may be smaller. Maybe you think giving a piece of burger to the man who just slapped you on the face is a bigger cross; it is not. There can never be any cross that would compare to Jesus’. Maybe forgiving the man who hailed you to court is a crossbeam that is a lot heavier than what Jesus carried to Golgotha; you’re wrong. The Corinthians were not forgivers; they were accusers. “Why not rather be defrauded?” Paul asks them. And if you read the context it is about Christians charging fellow Christians before the court of unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).

Someone says he does good because it makes him comfortable and happy. Jesus demands more: Do good even if it hurts, and keep smiling in the midst of all these hurtings.

Christians are not just a people whose aim is to live by the Book; they are a people whose goal is heaven. A church where everyone loves each other, in spite of the wrongs he suffers at the hand of another, is a foretaste of the heavenly home. A home we cannot imagine creating in this evil and Satan-ruled world. But God creates it for us. An eternal abode we can start living in now, and continue to dwell in tomorrow. But of course, the paradise God creates for us in church today is temporal; the one He creates for us in Heaven will last forever.  Because heaven is so great a promise, why make a fuss about doing a good turn for Jesus everyday?

What Would You Have Done?

IMG_0570You ask me if I have kids. “Yes, I myself have three daughters.” Then you must know how I feel. You look at me, and I am seeing great emotions about to pour in. “Yes, I do. Yes, I understand the pain of loss. Twenty-two years old, your only son. His departure — his bloody departure– must be very painful. And your feeling of remorse. Yes, I understand all those.”

Why does it have to be so?

It all began with dreams. Your son’s. Dreams of great income. Dreams of places like America or London. You are an engineer, a board topnotcher at that, and you think his dream to become a nurse is to give in to mental weakness. His mental weakness, not yours. But your son admitted that his math skills are far from satisfying. Just help me become a nurse. So nurse he would be.

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Forgiveness The act of forgiving liberates, or unburdens, the one who forgives more than the one who is being forgiven. This piece is from Leroy Bownlow’s book, Making the Most of Life.

Enting This is Ed’s narrative about the man whom he is trying to influence to change. After years of befriending and teaching and influencing, the man has now mellowed, and asks Ed to keep teaching him.

Quit that Job? What if the Lord requires you to live in a way that pleases Him? But between the ratings 1 to 10, you fall even less than is expected. As a factory product, you have too many flaws. You keep making errors of judgment. You don’t even realize the impact of what you’re doing. And as months turn to years, you make an inventory of your life. You now have this overweening fear that on that day, when you stand before the throne of God your maker, you won’t pass final inspection. Are you going to quit?

“I Think I Heard Voices from the Grave Ed talks about graveyards of our own making, where we bury the memories of our past sinful acts, our failures, our defects. This is an invitation to live a renewed life.

Bloggers, Bloggers, Bloggers This is the author’s invitation to Christians to start a blogging habit, and use it to promote the cause of the Lord.

God’s Way of Touching Us God touches us, not through the Word or through the preaching of the Word only, but also by other means, and the author shows what these are.

The Glory of the Small and the Simple The author invites Christian preachers who dream of starting a work for God to consider simplifying and starting small.

Things More Important Than Mowing Tall Grass There are things more important than the things of this world. Let us not forget that heaven is our goal.

Indifference The author narrates a case of child abuse and shows that they who close their eyes to the incidents of crimes are as guilty as the ones who perpetuate the crime.

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