A Creed, And A Greeting – December 7, 2022 (362-363/365)

Compassion Philippines

National Pastors’ Conference 2022

Plenary 3:

Facilitated by CB Samuel

I’m not sure I caught the theme or title for this segment of CB Samuel’s talks, but I was able to take some points along the way, which I will encode and comment on in this set of a thousand words.

We were known as ‘People of the Way’ before we were called Christians.

I knew only as much as how we were called Christians, and back then it was more of a derogatory term. Maybe to the more brutal of the populace of the time they found it fitting, or there was no better term to call anyone who believes in someone who claimed to be the Son of God, who died and then rose from the dead – best to just directly associate them to the name they believe in. But that’s just me.

Interesting that we’re called people of ‘the Way’; Now I probably should be taking a look at where it specifically says this in the Bible, but for the moment I will make some assumptions. I suppose we  wouldn’t be called that if we weren’t talking about the Way (who is also the Truth, and the Life); but I think it goes deeper than that. It’s as if the early church lived as individuals, or as a community, in such a way that they had a clear path to follow, and a definite direction to take – in fact, so clear and definite that those who knew them and therefore observed them would call them that. Then again, this is said with the assumption that our brothers and sisters of that generation didn’t come up with the name themselves. But if that was case, they would have a point to share to us so many centuries later – they have seen Christ, who is the literal Goodness of God that leads them to repentance, and a repentance or a change of mind that had them established in a clear path and a definite direction, established in the Way (who, again, is also the Truth and the Life).

But in relation to our eventually being called Christians, Mr. Christian pointed out that whether this was as derogatory as people make out or not, there were people who took note of how the early church lived differently. He pointed out indications of their way of life in Acts, where they went as far as selling their property if only it meant to help other people in the community, and it went on to a point that ‘nobody was in lack or need’, or I forget the literal line and verse. I like the actual description that Mr. Christian mentioned – ‘they were remarkably different’ – and although I know enough to note that being remarkable puts more emphasis on being ‘noticeable’ more than being a positive term, I think it’s to say that there were enough people who took notice of the early church, in a Roman world where so much was happening all around.

We are indeed, as Peter said in one of his later epistles, ‘a peculiar people’; There’s no real effort on our part to project it… But the more we take in and appreciate the goodness of God, the more we give thanks to Christ and His finished work in private, the more we will be noticed in public; and whether we intend to be noticed or not, well, it’s Christ that they’ll see.


Mr. Christian spoke on the story of Peter and Cornelius, versus Paul’s rebuke against Peter as told in the Book of Galatians. His point was that even if we are progressing, there is the vital need for each and every one of us committed to ministry, to be reminded or even confronted constantly.

I believe I’m pretty consistent in telling anyone and everyone who cares to read about what I believe in, or anyone who listens to me talk about Jesus – You can come to me anytime to give me a piece of your mind. But I don’t know if that was counterproductive, because that probably would scare people away with the wrong vibe, like I’m looking for a fight. Far from it.

There’s only so much I could learn about the sweet sport of boxing if all I do is shadow boxing or going rounds on the heavy bag. I know I will eventually be sparring, and fighting another human being; the focus is no longer on myself, but on my opponent – reading him, moving and punching in response to him, or attacking whatever weak spots are found. But more than this, it’s also responding to his own punches – and I suppose I’d appreciate my own defenses and see where my own weak spots are when he hurts me.

It’s the same thing with opening myself up for questions. I see where I falter, or I see where I beat around the bush when someone comes to me with their questions. And you know one other thing I’ve noticed? It’s the younger crowd that knows where to punch – which is another lesson on its own (free your mind on what you think is important and go straight to what matters).

But yeah, the more dialogue is opened, and the more confrontations are faced and addressed, the more everyone grows.

‘Who is the Jesus in your ministry? Note that the Jesus of the Bible is very difficult to live with’

I’ve had to think about this. If I was to answer Mr. Christian (you know what, I’m just calling him CB Samuel from here on out), I’d say that the Jesus in my ministry is the Jesus I preach to my congregation.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Creator of all things seen and unseen, present in the Beginning, with us until the End and beyond. To reveal the great glory and everlasting grace of the living God, He stepped down from His eternal throne and left eternity to be born as one of us in this reality, within the confines of time and space. He lived as one of us, weeping with us in our sorrows, and celebrating with us in our joy. He was tempted in all ways but without sin. But His claims of God’s power and love were all demonstrated, beginning with His choice to lay down His life as a sacrifice for us. He who knew no sin became sin in order for us to become His righteousness. Having drained the cup down to the dregs, God raised Him from the dead and appeared to His disciples. After commissioning them He ascended into heaven, that the Holy Spirit would descend upon them, fulfilling His promise that He would be with us, now and until the end of the age.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was born, He died, He rose again, and He ascended into heaven. We are fully alive in Him, and He is always present in us, now and forever.

I suppose I could agree with CB Samuel – He may be difficult to live with… if we absolutely insist on sinning again and again and again, only to find out that His presence in us, and our existence in Him is infinite and therefore incompatible with our former finite ways.

‘We need more Christ-centered people’

We ARE Christ-centered people. We are Christ-like. People see Christ in us.

I think it was just right to put in writing who Jesus Christ is in my ministry, because it gives me insight as to how to respond to where CB Samuel said that – we need more Christ centered people. We need more people who, as CB Samuel shared, understand that Christ-centrality is as much a power that resides within our inner being as it is expressed on the outside.

I totally agree with him! We need more people appreciating the absolute power of Christ, and the infinite (and therefore unworldly) peace we have in Him. We need more Christ centered people, who understand that Christ is not only in the center, but fully present all around and in every aspect of our beings, every facet of our existence. I view all of his words now as a call for me to continue to preach on Christ and His finished work, that people would come to the same confession:

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was born, He died, He rose again, and He ascended into heaven. We are fully alive in Him, and He is always present in us, now and forever.

I believe that when people listen, realize, understand, confess, and proclaim this, they are a step closer to what we can call ‘Christ-like’; not Christ clones trying in vain to advertise Him by their faulty works, but Christ-centered folk whom people will see Christ in.

Do you see the difference?

I started this piece a couple of nights ago and only got to finishing it now, because I was sharing a room with another pastor who I thought needed higher priority than me typing. It was a pretty challenging but fruitful time with him because he was speaking in dialects I only barely understood. I was able to respond to him to the best of my abilities with throwing English into the mix, but all in all I believe we parted ways having learned more about each other, and more importantly, more about ourselves.

Anyway. He’s gone, and I have a little more alone time here. There’s so much more on my plate when it comes to things I need to write and communicate, but I want to take some time to share – It’s my Dad’s birthday today. He would have been 82. My, if he were still alive and still tangled in the affairs of this world, I’m pretty sure he’d have a lot to say about my approaches and systems, if there were any to be seen. But this isn’t really about sharing ‘what-ifs’.

During these times where we are led to remember that a loved one is no longer with us, the more we do remember, the more I thank God – for without Him, and without Christ, I would not have the hope that I would see my Dad again, and talk to him. We settled things here on earth as best as we could, and I know we could have done better, but it’s just good to have had something done, at least. To know of the Life we have in Christ just gives me time to breathe and to think, Dad and I are going to be talking a whole lot eventually.

For now, yes, I miss him. I love Mom and thank God for her and her tough counsel, but I would have also wanted Dad’s perspective, no matter how hard I’m assuming it’ll be.

But really, when I think about it… was he really as hard as I made him to be? I remember one moment in the final months of his walk here on earth. We were parking to have lunch, and I overestimated my curve and hit the rear left corner of the car parked to my right. Soon as we made impact I was not bracing for the guards and for other people to react, more than I was afraid of my Dad, who was seated in the front and clearly told me to back up.

…instead of shouting at me, he stayed quiet and told me to back up, and park the car properly. He went down, and I joined him in assessing the damage done to the other car. A security guard joined us, and was slightly oblivious as to what to do in this situation (as was I).

But Dad took control. He told me to get a pen and paper. He told the guard to see if he could get contact information on the owner of the car. He left a note with his number on the windshield, and I recall he also tried to text the number the guard was surprisingly able to get. Days past, and though there was an initial contact and exchange between the two, there was no follow up.

This Dad, who I saw as a military man more than my Dad most of the time… But for at least one, of many forgotten moments, He was MY military Dad. And I love him so much.

I love you, Dad. Happy birthday.

Until the next post, God bless you.

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