Monday, December 18, 2006

I created a Slide Show! Check it out!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

HLM-Central SERIES for September and October 2006


Here’s our SERIES for
September till October 2006

Please prepare the necessary
POSTERS, FLIERS, SONGS, INFO and PROGRAMMING …

September 3 – 1st Sunday of September: JR will PREACH
There will be TESTIMONIES about the Blessing of the August SERIES on “Romans 8:28”
THEN JR wll LAUNCH the NEW SERIES – Exponential Thinking! “a series on FAITH”
  1. September 10 – Begins the Exponential Thinking …
    A SERIES on Faith

    MAIN Verse: Daniel 11:32b
    “…but the people who do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (KJV21st)
  2. September 17 - 1st Week
  3. September 24 - 2nd Week
  4. October 1 - 3rd Week
  5. October 8 - 4th Week
  6. October 15 - 5th Week
  7. October 22 – CELEBRATION SUNDAY!

    October 29 – will be a FREE Sunday to prepare for our THANKSGIVING by November and a NEW Series. Then the December Christmas SERIES.

The Uniqueness about the
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER Series …

  1. We will have a One DAY PRAYER FEST – probably on a FRIDAY.
  2. We will have “NETWORKS Sunday”.
  3. We will LAUNCH OASIS – Young Professionals Network this September.
  4. We will RE-LAUNCH Kings Men Network with a Guest from Manila by October.
  5. We will start an ALPHA Dinner and Course for the TRAINED and READY.
  6. We will have a Communion Sunday.
  7. We will start a NEW Sunday Celebration at the LOT Site … probably an 8am and a 4pm Meeting.
  8. We will have our Consecration NIGHTS at the LOT Site … Saturday 5pm.
  9. We will finalize our HLM Christian Academy Calendar this year till 2007.

  • NOTE: "The prophet Daniel foretold a period of great hardship and spiritual darkness that would permeate a generation known as “the time of the end.”
    Yet, in the midst of the darkness that would cover the earth and deep darkness the people, there would be a people who “KNOW THEIR GOD AND shall be strong and carry out great exploits. (Dan. 11:32)
    Very often we emphasize the latter portion of this verse concerning the manifestation of mighty exploits and power. Residing within many is the yearning desire to do mighty exploits and witness great demonstrations of the Spirit and power.
    However, the most important aspect of this notable prophetic promise is to KNOW HIM. To know our God intimately and affectionately and through that relationship do mighty exploits to His Glory." -- COPIED

    “The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”
    Daniel 11:32 KJV
    “The people who know their God will stand firm and take action.”
    TJB, NAS, Moffat
    Exploits – mighty feats, great accomplishments, and heroic victories!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Youth Xtreme Series of August

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

EVANGECUBE coming to Bacolod!



The EVANgeCUBE
Looking for an evangelism tool that's fast, fun and focused?
Check out Evangecube! Reminiscent of the Rubik's Cube, the Evangecube will help you walk friends through the Gospel presentation using pictures. Flip one way, and show man's separation from God. Flip again, and you'll see Jesus stepping from the tomb.
Some suggested uses:

  • Great tool for children to use in presenting the Gospel to their friends! Equip and train every child in your church.
  • Great tool for presenting the Gospel across cultures or to non-readers. The clear pictures help guide viewers through the complete presentation.
    You can also find out more ... just CLICK below ...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

On Purpose
And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
When a cowboy applied for an insurance policy, the agent asked, "Have you ever had any accidents?" After a moment's reflection, the applicant responded, "Nope, but a bronc did kick in two of my ribs last summer, and a couple of years ago a rattlesnake bit me on the ankle.""Wouldn't you call those accidents?" replied the puzzled agent. "Naw," the cowboy said, "they did it on purpose!"
That story reminds me of the biblical truth that there are no accidents in the lives of God's children.
We read how Joseph interpreted a difficult experience that had seemed like a great calamity. He had been thrown into a pit and then sold as a slave. This was a great test of his faith, and from the human standpoint it appeared to be a tragic case of injustice, not a providential means of blessing. But Joseph later learned that "God meant it for good" (see Genesis 50:20).
Are you passing through the deep waters of trial and disappointment?
Does everything seem to be going against you?
These apparent misfortunes are not accidents. The Lord allows such things for a blessed purpose. So patiently trust Him. If you know the Lord, someday you will praise Him for it all!
What looks like just an accident
When viewed through human eyes,
Is really God at work in us—
His blessing in disguise.
—Sper
God transforms trials into triumphs.
Source:http://www.rbc.org/odb/odb-10-04-05.shtml

Saturday, July 29, 2006

July 30 2006 Word @ HLM Central



TITLE: It Was More Than a Physical Building


Do you know that?. …
- what we build Physically may be a reflection of where we are Spiritually?
What you build and what you demolish may tell where you are in your spiritual
journey and may well be an indicator of your spirituality.
You will notice this in Chapter 3 of Nehemiah.
- what and where we spend more time with may be a reflection of where we are
Spiritually?
- Jesus said something like this? “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
- Most of the time, the Physical is a reflection of the Condition of the Spiritual.

The Gates in the Wall:
The various gates mentioned here in Nehemiah 3 are in themselves a beautiful picture summary of the Christian life. Note:

A. The Sheep Gate:
This speaks of the cross (John 10:11).
B. The Fish Gate: (3:3)
This speaks of soul winning (Matthew 4:19).
C. The Old Gate: (3:6)
This speaks of our old nature (Romans 6:1-23).
D. The Valley Gate: (3:13)
This speaks of sufferings and testing (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
E. The Dung Gate: (3:14)
This speaks of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21).
F. The Fountain Gate: (3:15)
This speaks of the Holy Spirit (John 7:27-30).
G. The Water Gate: (3:26)
This speaks of the Word of God (see John 4:10-14).
H. The Horse Gate: (3:28)
This speaks of the believer's warfare (Ephesians 6:10-17).
I. The East Gate: (3:29)
This speaks of the return of Christ (Ezekiel 43:1-2).
J. The Miphkad Gate: (3:31)
This was thought to be the judgment gate and therefore speaks of the Judgment Seat of
Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). This speaks of the return of Christ
(Ezekiel 43:1-2).

A STORY OF A MAN WITH A BURDEN TO BUILD.

- Nehemiah was a younger contemporary of Ezra.
- Ezra was a priest and Bible teacher. His main job concerned the purification of the people of Jerusalem.
- Nehemiah was a politician and builder. His main job concerned the protection of the people of Jerusalem.

(1) We May Finish Strong when We Have a Balance of PRAYER and WORK.
(PRAYER AND WORK)
(2) We May Finish Strong when We are able to SEE the END before we START.
(FAITH-FILLED INITIATIVE)
(3) We May Finish Strong when We are Revived by the WORD OF GOD vs any kind of Spiritual Jump-starting.
(WORD-BASED REVIVAL)
4) We May Finish Strong when We Work WELL With People - the WORKERS.
(MOTIVATIONAL LEADERSHIP)
5) We May Finish Strong when Our Vision is God’s VISION.
(FRESH VISION)
6) We May Finish Strong when Our DESPERATION finds its wanting in God. (INTERCESSORY PRAYER)
7) We May Finish Strong when We are SENSITIVE to any Blockage of Fellowship with God. (CORPORATE Repentance)




Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GOD VISITED BACOLOD LAST 06-09-06!

The FREEDOM! Concert with Brother Ray Fuentes was a huge success. Close to 7,000 people attended the free concert and 200 heeded the altar call of which 48 surrendered their lives to the Lord for the first time while 152 were Christians who re-committed to follow Christ.

The Holy Spirit simply moved in the entire Coliseum as Bro. Ray An Fuentes shared his soulful songs and testimony together with Carla Martinez (our very own Bacolena) , Carlo Orosa who wowed the crowd with his Moses Dialogue, and the high energy belter PamG.

It was a sight to behold as more than 250 choir members from 18 churches filled the La Salle Coliseum stage to overflow. Two Worship Team Bands from River of Life and His Life Ministries gave out the music.

Our heartfelt thanks to the 41 churches which participated, and more than 30 private organizations, business entities and individuals who threw in their support to make the event a huge success:

CHURCHES: Abkasa Baptist Church * Bacolod Alliance Church * Bacolod Bethany Church (Galo)* Bacolod Bethany Church (Green Meadows) * Bacolod Christian Fellowship * Bacolod City Gospel Church * Bacolod Evangelical Church * Bakyas Evangelical Church * Bata Christian Church * Cadiz Early Morning Service Evangelical Church * Calvary Bible Baptist Fellowship * Charismatic Revival Center Fellowship * Christ the Living God Fellowship * Church of Christ * Cornerstone * Cosmopolitan Church * Cross Life Christian Fellowship (Hinigaran) * Gardenville Evangelical Church * Grace Jubilee Mission Church * His Life Ministries (Robinson's) * His Life Ministries (Talisay) * His Life Ministries (Gaisano) * His Life Ministries (Metro) * His Life Ministries (Iloilo) * His Life Ministries (CDO) * Ikthus * Jesus Christ My Lord * Jesus King of Grace Church * Jesus King of Glory Fellowship * Jesus King of Grace Church Ministries * Kabankalan Evangelical Church * The Lord's Lampstand * Lift Jesus Higher * Lord Jesus Our Redeemer * Mansilingan First Baptist Church * Mount Oliveth Baptist Church * MRRP Handumanan First Baptist Church * Northside Baptis Church * River of Life * Tabernacle of Faith * Trinity Christian Church * True Life Ministries.

FRIENDS of the Church: Greenworld Agri-Aqua Development Corp., Bacoleno Purified Water * Bank of Commerce * Brgy 8 * Brgy 10 * Brgy Villamonte * City Health Office * Diamante * DYVS * Greenwhich Pizza * Hongkong Glass Palace * International Bank Exchange * Jara Laboratory (Lacson) * Jega Bytes * SKT Photo Shop * Kuntel Construction * L' Fisher Hotel * Party Hive * Merci Purified Drinking Water * University of Saint La Salle * Lifeline Caregiver * Pacific Ads * Purok Saylan * RIOT (Nursing Dept., Riverside College) * Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. * Tron Electronics * West Negros College * and other personal contributions.

GLORY TO GOD!

Freedom Productions

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Let's Study The Book of NEHEMIAH ...
"YOU CAN FINISH STRONG Series"

“What this church needs is …!”
“I can’t believe our government officials. If I were there I would …!”
“Our schools are really in bad shape. Someone ought to do something!”
Gripers, complainers, self-proclaimed prophets, and “armchair quarterbacks” abound.
It is easy to analyze, scrutinize, and talk about all the problems in the world. But what we really need are people who will not just discuss a situation but who will do something about it!
Nehemiah saw a problem and was distressed. Instead of complaining or wallowing in self-pity and grief, he took action.
LET’s Talk about VISION; LEADERSHIP; PRAYER; REPENTANCE and REVIVAL … June 18 till July 30, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

His Life Ministries joins the Negros-Wide Gathering called “FREEDOM!” that will take place here in Bacolod City on June 9, 2006, featuring Pastor Ray An Fuentes (of the New Minstrels fame) from Canada and some Christian Celebrity guests from Manila.
The venue of this event is The University of Saint La Salle Coliseum and we are expecting an attendance of 3,000 or more. This powerful concert will have three parts: First, Pastor Ray An Fuentes will sing gospel songs and share his life’s testimony, then he will be joined by celebrity guests and the last part will feature “up-to-midnight” Praise and Worship concert with several bands and about 200 (choir) singers coming from the different churches in Bacolod City.
As this is an Evangelistic event, admission will be FREE. Tickets will be given out only for security and crowd control purposes. This is a collaborated effort of at least 25 Christian Churches in Bacolod City.
On June 10, 2006, Pastor Ray An will talk to about 200-250 local businessmen in a ticketed “eat-all-you-can” working lunch seminar on biblical principles of Giving and other topics.
We pray that these events be life-changing experiences and that blessings truly pour out to those who will support and attend this gathering.

We at His Life is blessed to have Ray-an speak at our June 11 Sunday Worship Celebration.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Christians Should Not Shrink From The DaVinci Code
by Marc T. Newman, Ph.D.

[Note: This analysis of The DaVinci Code phenomena contains spoilers from the book that I assume will be included in the film. I have not yet seen the film adaptation of The DaVinci Code, but I will be at a special press screening on May 17th. What follows is a brief analysis of the cultural phenomenon of, and Christian responses to, The DaVinci Code. Specific analysis of the movie will follow on May 19th.]

Seated across the aisle from me on a small regional jet out of Houston, a young woman pulled out a brand new paperback copy of Dan Brown's bestseller, The DaVinci Code. I had just purchased a copy, confident that Sony would not be providing screenings for Christian cultural analysts (I have since been proven wrong), so I asked her how she liked it. She said that she had picked it up at the airport bookstore: "I just wanted to see what all of the fuss was about."

When books reach the kind of critical mass generated by The DaVinci Code, they take on a life of their own. People, who ordinarily never would have dreamed of picking this thriller out of a sea of similar titles offered up each year, find themselves drawn to the cultural event. They want to know, what is the big deal? What is it about this book that has generated so much controversy? A desire to be "with it," to be culturally included, has driven Dan Brown's book into the stratosphere, and spawned a blockbuster film, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard.

With dozens of books addressing problems with, or defending attacks on, The DaVinci Code populating the Borders or Barnes & Noble near you, the question remains, "What is all the fuss about?" The question is emphatically not a request for more information; instead it centers on significance. And questions concerning the significance of spiritual things ricocheting across Western culture should excite every Christian that ever wanted to share his faith with the skeptical or otherwise disinterested. Sure, Hollywood may laugh all the way to the bank while the controversy over the film drives box office. But that should be of limited concern to prepared Christians who will be presented with an evangelistic opportunity that might prove even more potent than that which followed The Passion of the Christ.

The Dangers of Boycotting a Cultural Event
The DaVinci Code long ago ceased being simply another thriller. With over 40 million copies in print in hardcover it transcends mere book status. Make no mistake; The DaVinci Code is a full-fledged cultural event. As a result, it has drawn a varied reaction from Christian leaders. Some, shouting "Blasphemy," are calling for a complete boycott of the film. One of the reasons given is that we should be concerned about putting money into the hands of its makers. I have written often that Christians should vote with their wallets, because what makes money is what gets made. But in the case of The DaVinci Code, there is no way that Christians can have any meaningful economic impact on the box office.

While no one should see The DaVinci Code in violation of their conscience before God, I argue that some mature Christians should see this film, accompanied by non-Christians, because it will likely be the best open door to a conversation about the Gospel that will appear on a movie screen this year. Most important, our faith should not be threatened by the preposterous claims of The DaVinci Code. If Hollywood churns out high production-value films that address spiritual issues and create opportunities to share the truth about the faith, then I am all for that. It is too much to expect that every film will be The Passion of the Christ or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

A lot of people have read, and will read, The DaVinci Code. Millions more will see the movie. In a nation as biblically and historically illiterate as our own, some will swallow the film's assertions without stopping to chew. At such a moment, viewers should not be abandoned by the very people who best can challenge the film's false claims. In a bizarre way, The DaVinci Code may represent the kind of bad behavior that provides what parents recognize as "a teachable moment." The film could create even more opportunity than the book. Reading is a solitary activity. It takes most people days to finish a book. They stop and start, think along the way; it makes it hard to recognize the appropriate time to engage readers in conversation. But movies are group activities. The DaVinci Code film will start and finish in about two breathless hours, and the discerning Christian can arrange for coffee shop time afterward to talk about the claims of the film.


The Power of Story
Some Christian leaders have claimed that marshalling the facts won't be enough to combat the compelling narrative of The DaVinci Code. The theory is that stories trump exposition. The odd conclusion some have reached is that we shouldn't bother. Perhaps, if we ignore this film, it will go away? But The DaVinci Code is no Last Temptation of Christ. Boycotting the latter only drew more attention to a poorly made movie. A Christian boycott of The DaVinci Code will land with an economic whimper – this film is a pre-sold blockbuster.

And, no mistake, the story that it will tell will have power. We live in a time when people feel free to construct their own versions of the truth – as paradoxical as that sounds. One of the ways people do so is through the stories they hear and tell. If people are looking for ways to discount the significance of Christ and distance themselves from a need to bow to His authority, then The DaVinci Code provides seductive cover. The fact that most people are ignorant of world history, Church history, how Christians came by the Bible, and Catholic prelatures makes Brown's explanation of events as plausible to them as any other. Add to that the seductive allure of access to "secret knowledge," and some people will be hooked.

But narrative expert Dr. Walter Fisher notes that in order for stories to be persuasive, they have to be cohesive and have the ring of truth. The problem with The DaVinci Code's story is that it cannot hang together under scrutiny. It isn't necessary for Christians to craft flow charts and recite dusty details to expose the flaws in Brown's tale – and there are enough critics picking over minutiae, like mistakes in the angles of buildings Brown describes, to make that possible. Instead we should be willing and able to tell the true story of how things actually happened, focusing on important issues: the deity of Christ and the reliability of the Scriptures.


The Real Leap of Faith
And Christians need not spend all of their time merely defending Christian truths. The other side of this story is that pagan goddess worship is the alternative presented in The DaVinci Code. The only defense offered in the book for goddess worship is that it is old, that European elites practiced it as part of a secret society, and that it was secretly endorsed by Jesus (who, if he wasn't divine, would have no more credibility on that issue than you or I – you can't have it both ways). The startling aspect of the book, and I assume of the film, is that everyone involved appears to take all of the pagan goddess worship on faith. It should not get a free pass.

The Bible makes truth claims about God and His dealings with humans in history. Much of the Bible contains historical, testable facts. What claims do the goddess worshippers make that would be open for debate? There is no rationale provided, it is merely assumed. The quality of the truth claims (if you can call what the goddess worshippers believe "truth claims") are not remotely of the same class. Even the "evidence" for the anti-Christian claims is never ultimately produced – the reader is simply expected to believe that the shadowy Priory of Sion has it. Talk about a leap of faith! It is startling that the book which provided Brown with much of the assumptions on which The DaVinci Code is based – Holy Blood, Holy Grail – was dismissed by historians as pseudo-history as soon as it was published in 1982. Strange, isn't it, how the passage of twenty-four years, and a best-selling fiction novel, can breathe new life into spurious history? Perhaps the best way to expose the folly of The DaVinci Code is to comment on how seriously everyone is taking the "arguments" in the book and then laugh about it.


A Backhanded Gift
One of the positive aspects of the release of The DaVinci Code is that parishioners are probably more open to hearing their pastors teach on church history than ever before. If five years ago pastors announced a Wednesday night sermon series on The Church Fathers, the Council of Nicea, and How We Got the Bible, my guess is that attendance would be down. But now they can teach the same thing, and the pews will be packed. It just has to be called "Breaking, Demolishing, Deconstructing, Exposing and Otherwise Whupping the Tar Out of The DaVinci Code!"

There is nothing like anticipated opposition to motivate Christians to get ready. More than a dozen books have been written to expose the flaws in The DaVinci Code. Get a good one and read it. If the existence of the book and the film are what it takes to challenge Christians to learn their own history, then Dan Brown may have given the Church a much-needed gift – one that will extend beyond anyone's remembrance of his film.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


27 Days to Go!
You've GOT to be THERE!

THE CONCERT:

At USLS Coliseum, June 9 (Friday) 7pm "Freedom" with Ray-An Fuentes, Christian Bautista. A Free Concert till mid-night!

THE CONFERENCE:

At L'Fisher Hotel, June 10 (Saturday) 1oam Lunch Buffet with Brother Ray-An Fuentes- teaching on "God's Kingdom Economics". Tickets at 500pesos only -- inclusive of Lunch.

THE CELEBRATION:

At His Life Church - Robinsons Place CINEMA 4, (Sunday 9am) June 11, with Brother Ray-An Fuentes sharing the Word of God.

THE CHURCH PLANTS:

20 Sites to be Launched, June 11 (Sunday) 4pm with Brother Ray-An Fuentes. Multi-Site Leaders and Vision Process Leaders will be comissioned to do the work of minstry and missions in different sites all over Bacolod and nearby places.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

FREE Booklet for You

Get your FREE Study Guide at www.hislife.info ... ANSWER KEYS included; 21 Day Reading Guide too.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006



YX - Youth Xtreme leaders at the Prayer Mountain, preparing for School Year 2006-2007 and their upcoming trip to join the CAMPUS Harvest of Victory Christian Fellowship at the World Trade Center - Manila. These are the committed and the passionate to Win the students and Disciple them for Servant Leadership when School opens. Evangelistic Cells and Discipleship Cells will be the main thing at YX with a Weekend Celebration of Praise and Worship unto the LORD. Harvest will be plentiful as the Lord raises up Laborers in His field. PRAY PRAY PRAY ...

I thank the LORD for this ARTICLE forwarded to me by my friend and brother Frederick Repollo. He is a fighter for the faith. Praise the Lord for his commitment to the purity of the Gospel and the maturity of the saints.
This article is posted on Grace to You website regarding John MacArthur's stand on The Da Vinci Code.

Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code
How Should Christians Respond?
Dan Brown is an author with an agenda. He wants to revive ancient paganism and restore goddess worship to the world’s patriarchal religions. His bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code, is a blatant attempt to overturn the historic record of God’s loving redemption with a tale of sex, intrigue, and conspiracy. To him, Christianity is nothing more than a patriarchal cover-up of the sacred feminine. Brown offers a feminine divinity reminiscent of the Garden of Eden—the same old temptation for a new age. Although Brown has attacked the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians should not view the revival of paganism as a threat, but rather as an opportunity for the gospel.
Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code, is hitting the big screen this summer in a flurry of fanfare and controversy. That spells major success, in the millions, for Sony Pictures, director Ron Howard, and actor Tom Hanks. Dan Brown has already cashed in on the book—putting over $75 million into his bank account. With a chart-busting novel and millions in the bank, Brown is already fighting off the plagiarism hunters, one price of riches and fame.
Christians have a dog in this fight too. At stake is something more valuable than money—the truth about the Bible, the honor of Christ, and the eternal destiny of human souls are at stake. Dan Brown has drawn a line in the sand with his ideas, in the pages of The Da Vinci Code. That’s where Christians must show up in full armor, on the battleground of ideas. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Dan Brown Has a Pagan, Feminist Agenda
Dan Brown wants the world’s religions to return to the pre-Christian worship of gods and goddesses. This is a revival of paganism.
In 2004, Dan Brown spoke before the New Hampshire Writer’s Project about his quest to write The Da Vinci Code. That speech clarifies his purpose in writing—it’s more than just a story to him. Brown wants the world and its religions to return to the pre-Christian tolerance of goddess worship. Here’s what he said about the point of the entire novel, a point that he laments many people are missing:
Prior to two thousand years ago, we lived in a world of gods and goddesses. Today we live in a world solely of gods. Women in most cultures have been stripped of their spiritual power, and our male dominated philosophies of absolutism have a long history of violence and bloodshed which continues to this day. I simply wrote a story that explores how and why this shift might have occurred, what it says about our past; and more importantly, what it says about our future. As I said earlier, history is written by the winners. The details are long lost, and in many cases, impossible to know. We can challenge and debunk details forever, but the fact remains in the major religions of the world women remain second class citizens. Why can’t there be women priests? Why is this even an issue? [1]
Dan Brown is a self-proclaimed Christian, but not of the Bible-believing variety. He is a cultural Christian, a nominal Christian, who has rejected biblical absolutes and embraced the questioning skepticism of postmodernism.
If you ask three people what it means to be a Christian, you will get three different answers. Some feel it is sufficient simply to be baptized into a Christian church. Others feel you must accept the Bible as immutable, historical fact. Still others require a belief that all those who do not accept Christ as personal savior are doomed to hell. Faith is a continuum. We all fall on that line wherever we may fall, and by attempting to classify, and rigidly classify, ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating the semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious. That is, that we are all trying to decipher life’s big mysteries—Where did we come from? What happens when we die, where are we going? What does all of this mean? And each of us must follow our own path to enlightenment. [2]
Brown is quite willing to debate the issues, but don’t expect him to accept absolutes. He said,
The world is a big place, and now more than ever there is enormous danger in believing we are infallible, that our version of the truth is absolute, that everyone who does not think like we do is wrong, and therefore an enemy. […] Everyone is entitled to believe what they believe. If you find someone’s ideas absurd or offensive, just listen to somebody else. [3]
Dan Brown doesn’t want to get caught up in “debating the semantics,” he prefers to talk in broad concepts. That’s evident in his novel. Though he purports to have based the book on extensive research, the most important part of the book—where he communicates his fundamental thesis—is filled with embarrassing factual errors.
The Da Vinci Code Is Blatantly Anti-Christian
Dan Brown wants to overturn the historic record of God’s loving redemption with a tale of sex, intrigue, and conspiracy. He wants you to see Christianity as a patriarchal cover-up of the sacred feminine.
For his “Christian” readers who have grown up hearing the Bible’s truth claims, Brown knows he has his work cut out for him. He faces the rather large task of turning Christianity on its head and restoring the sacred feminine to the world. The crucial scene for his purpose has the protagonists, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, learning secret “truths” from historian Sir Leigh Teabing. There in Teabing’s library, Brown unfolds his central thesis through the character Teabing. Ready?
Teabing tells the uninitiated Sophie that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers. At the crucifixion, Mary was pregnant with the child of their union. Aided by Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus’ uncle, she fled to France to give birth to a daughter named Sarah. That’s important because Jesus and Mary Magdalene were both of royal lineage (he says Mary was of the tribe of Benjamin). The royal bloodline continued to advance quietly for a few hundred years until it intermarried with French royal blood, creating the Merovingian bloodline.
According to Teabing, the emperor Constantine and the “founders” of Christianity knew about Jesus, Mary, and the royal offspring. To maintain the positions of power afforded by a patriarchal church and state, Constantine suppressed the “truth” about the royal couple, smeared Mary’s reputation by calling her a whore, and foisted the myth of Jesus’ divinity upon the world.
The Brown/Teabing thesis asserts that Constantine canonized the myth of Jesus’ divinity in the Bible. At the Council of Nicea, Constantine and a group of bishops voted on which books would be included in the canon. Afterward Constantine tried to suppress and destroy the rest, thereby safeguarding the precious patriarchy for the good of the Roman Empire.
The wild tale continues with an indictment of organized Christianity. Church leaders, secret societies, and ignorant masses have allegedly continued through the centuries as co-conspirators in perpetuating the divine Jesus myth. They thus uphold patriarchy and suppress the rightful role of the goddess and the veneration of the sacred feminine. The founders of Christianity and its leaders have always known the “truth” and have been relentless in silencing anyone who seeks to uncover the truth.
Teabing praises enlightened souls like Leonardo Da Vinci who had the courage to question and challenge the system. Da Vinci and others encoded their works of art with clues to discovering the ancient secrets about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the royal bloodline. In the spirit of Da Vinci, enlightened and courageous souls of today can use his clues, supported by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic texts at Nag Hammadi, to uncover the insidious conspiracy, educate the ignorant masses, and restore the long-suppressed worship of the goddess.
The Da Vinci Code Retells the Tale of an Ancient Liar
Dan Brown offers a feminine divinity reminiscent of the Garden of Eden—the same old temptation for a new age.
That’s quite a tale, but it’s not at all new. As Dan Brown says, “I am not the first person to tell the story of Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail. This idea is centuries old. I am one in a long line of people who has offered up this alternative history.” He’s right. In fact, the line of people offering up “alternative history” began with Satan.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan seduced Eve with an “alternative history” that cast doubt on God’s character and Word. Into a perfect world of truth and absolutes, Satan asked the first question: “Indeed, has God said…?” He then told her a new tale; interestingly, it was also a story about the divine feminine. Satan told Eve, “God knows that in the day you eat from [the forbidden tree] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Eve ate that fruit, as did Adam, and every human being since has had their eyes opened to the guilt, shame, pain, and death that results from sin.
The fundamental premise of Dan Brown’s novel is rooted in sinful skepticism. He encourages the reader to question the truth, to question Christ’s claims, to question the Bible. Brown tells a story in which Jesus is not who He said He is and God’s Word is not to be trusted. He then fills the authority vacuum with his ridiculous fable about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Holy Grail, and the sacred feminine.
Brown is not just writing a good piece of fiction—he’s on a spiritual quest. He isn’t an honest seeker either; he is committed to disbelieving the Bible and Jesus’ claims of divinity. In the words of his fictional Teabing, “The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” [4]
Dan Brown’s disbelief about the Bible is a product of his commitment to historical skepticism. In his speech at the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, he said, First, when we read and interpret history, we are not interpreting the historical events themselves. We are interpreting written accounts of those events. In essence, we are interpreting people’s interpretations. And second, since the beginning of recorded time, history has always been written by the winners—those societies and belief systems that conquered and survived. Despite the obvious bias in this accounting method, we still measure the historical accuracy of a given concept by examining how well it concurs with our existing historical record. I should add that many historians now believe that in engaging the historical accuracy of concepts we should first ask ourselves a far deeper question: How historically accurate is history itself? In most cases we’ll never know the answer but that should not stop us from asking the questions. [5]
But the Bible is not merely a product of man. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Though written by men, the Bible is God’s Word. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Dan Brown has moved beyond harmless fiction to challenge the Word of God and redefine Jesus according to his own idolatrous, blasphemous image. He has questioned God, cast doubt on His Word, and dismissed the sovereign claims of Christ.
Far-fetched tales with fanciful, conspiratorial claims have circulated for years. The general public dismissed them as such because they never gave much credence to something as unscientific as religion. Today, however, the climate is different. Cold, rational secularism has given birth to a nebulous, undefined spirituality. Dan Brown, a spokesman for that new spirituality, says, “What I have finally come to accept is that science and religion are partners. They are simply two different languages attempting to tell the same story. Both are manifestations of man’s quest to understand the divine. While science dwells on the answers, religion savors the questions.” [6]
Christians Should Use The Da Vinci Code As an Opportunity for the Gospel
Even though Dan Brown has attacked the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians should not view the revival of paganism as a threat, but rather as an opportunity for the gospel.
The Da Vinci Code—novel, movie, media sensation—enters into a post-Christian climate. Whether it’s Dan Brown, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, proponents of the divine feminine, secularists, and neo-pagans, non-Christians are co-conspirators in a cosmic rebellion against God. Nevertheless, they are our mission field. Were it not for the wondrous grace of God, you would be among them.
As you encounter people influenced by The Da Vinci Code, remember what the Bible says about the unbelievers, and have compassion. “[T]he god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). They are “futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart [is] darkened” (Romans 1:21). They are “dead in [their] trespasses and sins”; they walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience”; and they are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
How should you respond? With zeal for the truth of Christ and the authority of God’s Word, you must defend the integrity, the veracity, and the authority of the Bible. Don’t worry; it’s not hard. Brown’s “extensive research” failed to produce accuracy on the simplest details of the Bible and church history. Take a little of your time to Read Albert Mohler’s commentary (http://albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-04-12) and James White’s analysis (http://www.aomin.org/tdvc.html). Prepare yourself to give an answer to those exposed to the book, the movie, or the media coverage.
Your commitment to see God honored in the culture should be manifest first of all in your testimony about Christ, “who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). In a spirit of gentleness, correct those who deny Jesus’ claims on their life (2 Timothy 2:24-26) and call them to repentance and the obedience of faith.
The current popularity of The Da Vinci Code is your opportunity to talk with friends and family, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers about the topics Dan Brown has raised in his story. Embrace the challenge of The Da Vinci Code with compassion for hell-bound sinners, and seize this time as an evangelistic opportunity for the Kingdom of God.
© 2006 Grace to You. All Rights Reserved.

[1] Dan Brown, New Hampshire Writer’s Address, Concord, N.H., http://www.danbrown.com/novels/davinci_code/faqs.html (2004).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (New York: Anchor Books, 2006 reprint), 250-51.
[5] Brown, New Hampshire Writer’s Address, 2004.
[6] Ibid.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

HARVEST Time

From Pastor J

Hi there Everybody!

Maranatha!

35 Days from now we will be having Brother Ray-an Fuentes join us for our “20 NEW SITES Launching” for Bacolod City and other specific places of outreach: Dos Hermanas-Talisay, San Carlos City, West Negros College Campus and Jollibee-EAST just to name a few.

We have been commanded by our Lord Jesus to “make disciples” of all nations. He said this before the creation of that 1st Church Assembly at Pentecost. We call this the Great Commission.

I don’t know about you but I am excited to bring the GoodNews -- the Gospel out to the world, that Jesus saves, redeems and changes lives. Our message does not change. In fact in the book of Hebrews, Jesus is called to be “the same yesterday today and forever.” He is our Message. The message is not a book, doctrine, ideology, a seminar or a study, or concept but a PERSON that could love, change lives, and give us eternal life. This is Harvest time!

The Christian Message and Faith is not for the “full timers” alone but for all “full time Christians”. It is for everyone who has been bought by the blood of the Lamb, baptized in the Holy Spirit and is enjoying their new and everlasting relationship with God. I believe that God has so blessed us at His Life that we are now in the position to bless and give to the world.

The Launching of our “20 NEW SITES” will be on June 11, 2006 Sunday 4pm, tentatively set at Palmas Del Mar Resort. I believe that we will complete the VP Teams who will be DEPLOYED for the next 6 months to establish a Growing, Healthy and Harvesting Church (GHHC) by that time.

During these 6 Months Harvest Crusade (June to December 2006) we will be:

a. Seeing 20 or more New Churches established with a 6 Month Master Plan for Discipleship and Leadership Development.

b. Distributing Evangelistic Materials for Free (Bible Portion Tracts, PDL Books and Booklets, Holy Bibles – Ilonggo and English, VCD’s and etc.)

c. Ordaining 20 Vision Process Coordinated TEAMS (VP) to Active Service.

d. Enjoying a contagious spirit of bringing in the Harvest by being Outward looking.

e. Seeing a Great Worship Reunion of all the HLM Sites by December 2006.

Pray, pray, pray. Work, work, work. Believe, believe, believe!

It will be a Great Harvest … I tell you!

Pastor JR

visitour HOMEPAGE Regularly: www.hislife.info
download your PERSONAL Copy of "Unmasking Believeable LIES About Your Faith" Booklet (a day after receiving this INFO) at www.hislife.info

Saturday, April 22, 2006

After Worship, Work

Touching HEAVEN is Worship
Changing Earth is Work

John 4:27-38
“Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?" Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."


We are living today in the most exciting time of human history. There are more people alive today than there ever have been. There is potential for literally millions of souls to be harvested into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus experienced a harvest of souls at Sychar in Samaria. Notice what must we do to bring in the HARVEST:

(1) Be Willing To Break The Norm.

(2) Believe that Now Is The Time For Harvest.

(3) Have An Open Eye For Harvest.

(4) Be An Active Laborer In The Field Now.

RESOLVE:
We should determine to TURN any Christian audience into an army of volunteers.
TRUTH:
You do not judge the strength of an army by how many soldiers sit and eat in the mess hall but by how they perform on the front line. Likewise a church’s strength is not seen in how many show up for services but how many are serving in a ministry.

PROJECT:
Let’s make our “Yuppies” -- Young Urban Professionals into “Yummies” -- Young Urban Missionaries!

Spiritual Maturity is for Active Ministry. It is impossible to be a non-ministering Christian.
Christians are to be servants. Laborers in God’s Vineyard.

Judge the growth of any Church not by its seating capacity but by its sending capacity.
Everybody must be involved, activated and serving.

Monday, April 17, 2006


My friend sent me this message and with a few revisions ... THIS IS MY Encouragement for YOU ALL OUT THERE ... may you shine like stars for the honor and glory of God!
"YOU have been made in such a way that when the people of the world are sitting, YOU would be standing, when the world is standing, YOU will stand out, when the world stands out, YOU must be outstanding and when the devil dares the world to be outstanding, YOU will be the standards to be used!"

"PRAISE BE TO THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST , WHO HAS BLESSED US IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN CHRIST" (from the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians)

Friday, April 14, 2006

ICEBREAKERS ...


We at His Life is a CHURCH composed of Small Churches (we call these Cell Groups). May these ICE-BREAKER questions bring you more closer to each other as you discover new things about your brother and sister who seats beside you everytime you gather. Use these ICEBREAKER Questions one at a time at the beginning of your Cell Group meeting or Bible Study. You will be discovering new and interesting things among the people in your group. It is through these that relationships may be cemented and enjoyed more ...
TRY THESE ICEBREAKERS (you may write these on cards before the meeting):
* Where did you live between the ages of 9 & 12?
* Who is the person closest to you?
* What was one of the happiest moments in your life?
* Who was your best friend when you were younger?
* Describe the worst thing you ever had to wear to school.
* Who was your favourite music group in high school?
* Who was your favourite teacher in school, and for what subject?
* What time period would you have lived in, if you could have lived at any time?
* What Biblical character inspires you the most? (Besides Jesus)
* What would you do if you had won a million Pesos? (can't be spiritual)
* What historical (non-Biblical) figure interests you the most? (Besides Jesus)
* Describe your favourite cousin.
* What is your favourite style of music? (Christian isn't a style)
* What is your favourite piece of art? (it doesn't have to be famous)
* Whose eyes are most like yours in the room?
* How are you like your mom? Your dad?
* What is your favourite worship song?
* What is your favourite praise song?
* If you were unlimited by money, where would you spend a vacation?
* What planet would you visit if you could go to any one?
* What is your favourite hobby?
* What is the meaning of your name?
* What is your favourite book?
* What is your favourite Bible verse?
* How did you end up at this Cell Group?
* How did you meet your best friend or spouse?
* What would you like to be known for?
* Where were you born?
* What is your favourite family Christmas tradition?
* Tell an unusual fact about yourself.
* Describe the favourite place you've lived in.
* What kind of car did your family have when you were growing up?
* What is your dream car?
* How many brothers and sisters do you have?
* If you could not fail, what would you do?
* If you were going to live on the moon and could take one thing with you, what would you take? (Besides your Bible)
* If your house were on fire, what is the one thing you would grab (assuming all family and pets were safely out)?
* What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?
* Do you have any phobias?
* What do you do when you have free time?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cell Group of Jonas

The Cell of Jonas is the Worship Team Band / Musician - MEN. This is probably the most Like-MINDED and united group - because they work together as our Musicians every Sunday. They provide good and great music to lift our hearts and eyes closer to the presence of God when we come together as a Congregation. They do not practice any song during their cell group time -- what they do is doing what all other Cell Groups are doing .... that is to study the Bible together, discuss together, pray together and help one another in times of difficulty and need and of course ... eat together! Most of them are ready to handle a regular Cell Group of their own in the near future!

Clooney's Cell Group

Clooney's Cell is a faithful cell group. They regularly meet for fellowship, discussion and knowing more about what the Word of God has to say about life. Sharing over pop-corn and snacks they meet regularly here at the HLM Center for their cell. Some of them are already enrolled in our LTS program to become Cell Group leaders in the future. Thank God for discipleship!

Loida's Cell Group

Loida's Cell is a typical Open Cell group at His Life. This is primarily designed for those who are beginning to discover the Christian Life and the call to the next step of Discipleship. My mom attend here. She has been enjoying this group and is looking forward every Friday to meet. They are using the present Sunday Series small group guide "You Are Planned For God's Pleasure". Many small groups like these exists at His Life.

Karleen's Cell Group

This is one of our Cell Groups at His Life. This group is led by Karleen Legaspi. I took this picture as they were celebrating the birthday of one of their members (Linnie Sitiota). Cells like these are being prepared to lead other cells in the future. This is a typical Discipleship cell. All of them are enrolled in our LTS (Leadership Training School) program.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Thank God for the Da Vinnci Code Fever

We will tackle the Da Vinci Code Intrigue
this month of MAY at His Life.

Answering questions such as ...
Was Jesus just a mortal prophet? Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene married? Was the divinity of Jesus voted on at the Council of Nicaea? Are the books in the Bible the right ones?
While these questions may seem ludicrous to you, thousands will be asking them after May 19 when The Da Vinci Code comes to theaters, intriguing the minds of non-Christians and Christians alike.
Some pastors and film experts say the movie presents an even greater outreach opportunity than Narnia or The Passion of The Christ.
THANK GOD FOR THE DA VINCCI CODE FEVER ... this is an opportunity to have more and more and more BIBLE STUDIES ... he he he :)


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Free RELATED ARTICLE below ...
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The Da Vinci Code Intrigue
By Lisa Ann Cockrel

As quickly as The Da Vinci Code—a fictional page-turner by Dan Brown—topped best-seller lists back in 2003, Pastor Ken Baugh’s e-mail inbox filled with questions.

“People were saying, ‘Have you heard about this?’ ‘I’ve got questions about this book.’ ‘What about the author?’ ” says Baugh, who at the time was an associate senior pastor at McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va., teaching the 3,000 young adults in McLean’s Frontline ministry. “At first, I thought, Whatever—this is fiction.”

Finally, after seeing enough e-mails posing the same questions and concerns, Baugh picked up the mystery thriller while on vacation to see for himself what the controversy was about. After all, within one week of the book’s U.S. release, 23,500 copies had sold. Soon, between 80,000 and 90,000 were selling each week.

“After finishing it, I remember thinking, Oh my gosh, now I know why everyone’s freaking out. I called my staff and said ‘Stop the presses! We’re not doing the planned summer sermon series. I’m teaching on The Da Vinci Code.’ ”

The seven-week series turned into Baugh’s most well-received series ever at McLean Bible. And now, the book is being turned into what some say will be the biggest film of 2006. “If the book created this much discussion and interest, the movie is going to do 10 times as much,” says Baugh, who is now senior pastor at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif. (coasthillschurch.org).

He preached the exact same series to his new congregation in February to precede the film’s U.S. release on May 19.

Like Baugh, other pastors must respond to The Da Vinci Code if they want to reach people in today’s cultural context, believes Craig Detweiler, associate professor and chair of mass communications at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. A co-author of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture (Baker), Detweiler also writes his own screenplays.

“The Da Vinci Code movie will be the ultimate cinematic discussion-starter in 2006,” he says. “We’re discovering that movies are starting conversations for our culture, and The Da Vinci Code is asking spiritual and historical questions we, as pastors, theologians and church leaders, were trained to answer.”

Will your church stop the presses to answer these questions?

THE THICKENING PLOT

Described by Christian Science Monitor as “equal parts thriller, mystery and religious speculation,” The Da Vinci Code follows Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of religious symbology, and Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist for the French version of the FBI, as they investigate the mysterious murder of Sophie’s grandfather. The duo find themselves in the middle of the ancient quest for the Holy Grail and in league with a secret society known as the Priory of Sion—a group dedicated to the pagan practice of goddess worship.

Langdon and Neveu piece together an alternate version of history—one that says the Church covered up Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene and the birth of their daughter. According to the theory, Jesus wanted Mary to lead His church, but the Church and the apostle Peter, being a misogynist, launched a smear campaign and labeled Mary a prostitute, forcing her to flee with her child.

The fast-paced story also asserts that the divinity of Jesus was a political invention of Emperor Constantine and that the Canon of Scripture was merely established by men with dubious personal motives. In a nail-biting adventure, Langdon and Neveu follow clues that painter Leonardo Da Vinci, a former grand master of the Priory of Sion, has crafted into his works, creating the Da Vinci Code. As Langdon and Neveu are told, “Behold … the greatest cover-up in human history.”

The book’s assertions could be chalked up to the genre, but Brown and his publisher (Doubleday, a division of Random House) have raised hackles (and book sales) with their attempts to position the story and its detailed accounts of ancient symbols, religious practice and the lives of prominent historical figures as almost more fact than fiction. The introduction to the book states: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” Publisher and president of Doubleday, Stephen Rubin, told The New York Times, “John Grisham teaches you about torts. Tom Clancy teaches you about military technology.

Dan Brown gives you a crash course in art history and the Catholic Church.”

OFF THE SHELVES

It’s a crash course millions of people have taken. Since its 2003 publication, The Da Vinci Code has been translated into 44 languages and has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. It’s estimated that almost a third of all Americans (100 million) have read the engrossing novel, keeping it on The New York Times Best Sellers for 148 weeks straight (at press time).

And Time magazine recently named Dan Brown one of the world’s 100 most influential people, among the likes of President George W. Bush and the Dalai Lama.

Brown, an English teacher-turned-writer with three previous book titles, including Angels and Demons (Simon & Schuster) and Deception Point (Simon & Schuster), states on his Web site that he does identify himself as a Christian, as well as “a student of many religions.” He goes on to say, “My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.”

Yet Brown’s research has made him a believer in certain aspects of his own tale. In July 2003, he told the Washington Post: “I was skeptical, but after a year-and-a-half of research I became a believer. As soon as people understand that the few Gospels included in the Bible are not the only versions of the Christ story, they begin to sense contradictions. Magdalene is most obvious.

Her role was deliberately distorted, a smear campaign by the early church fathers.”

The book’s force as a catalyst for religious dialog is set to increase exponentially this summer. The Da Vinci Code is coming to the big screen, with Oscar-winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man) behind the camera and two-time Oscar winner and box office favorite Tom Hanks in front of the lens as Robert Langdon, at the center of the story’s narrative. The $125 million Sony Pictures production, also starring Audrey Tautou (Sophie Neveu), Ian McKellen (Sir Leigh Teabing), Paul Bettany (Silas) and Alfred Molina (Bishop Aringarosa), was granted the rare privilege of filming in the Louvre—where the story begins—and is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.

Sony plans to release the movie (not rated as of early February) on screens throughout the United States and abroad.

REALITY CHECK

In the wake of early 2002’s pedophilia scandals that rocked the Roman Catholic Church shortly before the book’s publication, The Da Vinci Code has many readers—Christians and non-Christians alike—questioning what’s truth and what’s fiction.

In fact, in Canada, the National Geographic Channel commissioned a survey in 2005 in anticipation of a full day of programming inspired by The Da Vinci Code. It found that 32% of Canadians who have read the novel believe that the theories outlined in it are true.

To combat these beliefs, a spate of books have been published debunking many of the false claims and theories put forth in The Da Vinci Code—books such as Darrell L. Bock’s Breaking the Da Vinci Code (Nelson), nominated for the Gold Medallion Award in cultural engagement. Bock, a research professor of New Testament studies who specializes in historical Jesus and extra-biblical gospels at Dallas Theological Seminary, has written Da Vinci Code-related opinion pieces for ABCNews.com and the Los Angeles Times, among others, and has been interviewed on “The Today Show,” “Dateline” and “Good Morning America.” He wrote the book in five days, easily disproving Brown’s theories.

“I think the most troubling suggestion in The Da Vinci Code is that historical Christianity is a late creation of the third and fourth century, along with the perception that the original Jesus really did nothing in His life and teaching that warranted being worshipped,” says Bock. “It’s an attempt to change Jesus from being unique to being just another religious figure.”

Although people may not buy into all of Brown’s claims or believe the book’s theories to be absolute truth, chances are they will examine their plausibility, especially in a world of postmodern thought where, for some, one reality is just as good as another.

“So much ink has been spilled about the death of the metanarrative,” explains Detweiler. “Our old assumptions about science technology and epistemology—how we know what we know—have all shifted.”

And unless people have had some training and experience in early church history, they’ll have no way of knowing what’s true, says Bock.

“There are certain features that people might respond to and think are credible, and there are some things in the book that are historically correct.”

Both the book and the movie are sure to reinforce people’s skepticism, says Josh McDowell, apologist and author of The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers (Green Key Books). “If we do not deal with this subject in a positive way, we run the risk of losing a generation of marginal Christians and honest seekers to skepticism,” he explains. “Usually as the body of Christ, we lag behind. But we have an opportunity now to get ahead of this issue and address it in a positive way.”

And that will require knowing what people are thinking. Author and pastor Brian McLaren thinks that people’s questions surrounding The Da Vinci Code offer clues to the Jesus people are searching for.

“For all the flaws of Dan Brown’s book, I think in some ways he’s suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own carica-ture of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that’s true,” says McLaren. “I think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code is telling us that a lot of people don’t find the image of Jesus that’s portrayed by the dominant Christian voices genuine, so they’re looking for some-thing that seems more real and authentic.”

Mix this skepticism with Hollywood’s power to create high-quality, believable films, and the movie is likely to pack quite a punch.

“Hollywood is great at shining a spotlight on people, places and issues. Almost no one in America knew or cared about recent African history prior to the film Hotel Rwanda,” Detweiler explains.

“But after Don Cheadle’s harrowing performance, the real Paul Rusesabagina was able to embark on a nationwide speaking tour. And undoubtedly without the film, the campaign by Saddleback Church’s Rick Warren to bring help and healing to Rwanda would not have happened.”

Audiences are likely to exit the theater after watching The Da Vinci Code more suspicious and wary of the Church as an institution, Detweiler continues. “It will likely inspire so many types of water cooler questions and Internet searches. People will be asking, ‘What’s the Priory of Sion?,’ ‘Who was the Mona Lisa?,’ ‘Was Jesus married?’ ”


FEAR NOT

Fear often sparks defensiveness; and defensiveness usually means there is something to be afraid of. Many churches and Christian leaders have responded to The Da Vinci Code in a defensive fashion—vehemently stating that the book isn’t fair and that Brown is lying.

“To the degree we respond defensively, as someone attacked, we will have taken the bait and reinforced the perception of Christianity as a powerful monolith that’s interested in stifling debate rather than encouraging a search,” says Detweiler. “The movie’s tagline is ‘Seek the truth.’ One way to absolutely stop that search (or to encourage people to search elsewhere) is to blatantly say, ‘The Da Vinci Code is a lie.’ ”

Churches have nothing to fear. In fact, The Da Vinci Code’s power to raise eyebrows and questions presents both an opportunity and a challenge to the Church. Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church (vintagechurch.org) in Santa Cruz, Calif., and author of The Emerging Church (Zondervan) and the upcoming title They Like Jesus But Not the Church (Zondervan), plans to teach a May message series addressing the formation of the Canon and the Church councils, and host a theological think tank night during which people can ask their own questions about the Bible’s origins.

“I personally think The Da Vinci Code holds more post-movie evangelistic potential than The Passion or Narnia movies,” Kimball says. “It shouldn’t scare us, since the truth of Jesus is the truth. It should make us go, ‘Hey, that’s not what really happened! But here is what we believe.’ ”

Mike Licona, director of apologetics for the North American Mission Board (namb.net), created a 65-minute lecture (see sidebar, pg. 51) for initiating discussion on five main issues from The Da Vinci Code. Licona was at the forefront of the boycott efforts against The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988, but he now thinks the boycott was a mistake.

“It created a perception among unbelievers that Christians were afraid of these ideas, that we were being close-minded to other views,” he says.

In contrast, Licona is encouraging churches to embrace The Da Vinci Code movie. “Let’s rent theaters. Let’s invite skeptics to come. Let’s say not only are we not afraid of this, we’ll pay your way to go. I think that’s a huge statement. We’re not afraid to face criticism. We’re open to it. We’re looking for truth,” he says.

And many churches are. In late January, 68% of churches surveyed by Outreach Inc. said they were “likely” or “very likely” to engage in a Da Vinci Code-related outreach. Some 77% said they would do a sermon series on the film, 48% said they’d organize a small group discussion series, and 44% would host an event for their community.

Author Josh McDowell was so moved by the stories of non-Christians, even Christians, walking away from God after reading The Da Vinci Code that he wrote his book, The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers (Green Key), hoping to get it into the hands of a million people. He, along with Campus Crusade for Christ Int’l (ccci.org), approached Outreach magazine’s parent company Outreach, Inc. (davincicode.outreach.com) to make these books available at near cost with the hope that churches across the country will get them into the hands of unbelievers and skeptical Christians in their community.

In 2004, Steve Clifford, pastor of WestGate Church in San Jose, Calif. (westgatechurch.org), preached a three-part sermon series on The Da Vinci Code, focusing on the three major areas of distortion in the book—the establishment of the Canon, Christ’s divinity and Jesus’ teachings about women, sexuality and the family.

“The fact that this freaked us out at all, that so many books needed to be published to debunk The Da Vinci Code, is an indictment against us, not the public,” says Clifford. “But the book is in no way a serious threat to the Christian faith; this is a story Christians can engage with confidence and patience.”

THEOLOGY 101

The Council of Nicaea, the Canon of Scripture and the origins of Christian symbols aren’t usually common issues discussed from the pulpit. In fact, the basics of Christianity are often held for special weekly or monthly classes—and often for new members or Christians simply wanting a refresher course on the roots of their faith. Rarely is theology a focal point in a church’s ministry, and it’s almost never a part of a church’s outreach ministry.

But The Da Vinci Code makes a brief theology lesson easy, interesting and evangelistic, says Coast Hills’s Baugh.Christians and non-Christians alike are apt to approach churches or their Christian co-workers and friends with questions, rather than what typically happens—Christians and the Church giving answers to questions the unchurched aren’t even asking.

“When I preached The Da Vinci Code series, I’d tiptoe off the stage thinking, I can’t believe I just got away with teaching Theology 101,” Baugh recalls. “The Da Vinci Code puts apolo-getics back in the game. It allows us to teach theology in church. If we had done this before, people would have said, ‘This is so boring. What does this have to do with my life today?’ We can now bring some meat to the table that I don’t think we’ve had the opportunity to do before.”

JOINING IN THE SEARCH

As the Church begins to think about using this film and the questions it raises to reach out to the unchurched, it might do well to take a few lessons from the Sundance Film Festival, where the cultural conversation heats up among filmmakers after they’ve viewed each other’s new films, says Detweiler, who recently returned from the 2006 festival.

“Some filmmakers there are angry at God, some are questioning Him or raging at the Church. But at their core, most are on some form of search or quest. And this is revealed in the questions they’re asking through film,” he explains.

Likewise, after viewing The Da Vinci Code film, many people of all different beliefs and faith backgrounds will be seeking answers. It will be the Church’s responsibility to join in the search rather than simply refute the distortions.

Dallas Theological Seminary’s Bock thinks there are two levels—facts and feelings—to joining viewers’ conversations. “For some people, the facts are going to be very important,” he says. “It will be important to be able to respond to those questions, and the information that’s put forth in the varying debunking books can be helpful in doing that.”

But Bock says the church also needs to address the “so what?” factor.

“I think the secret in dealing with provocative questions is not in providing ‘right’ answers, but in reframing the discussion as Jesus so often did when He was being set up,” says Dave Ping, director of Equipping Ministries International (equippingministries.org). He encourages Christians to welcome the interest in Jesus with thought-provoking questions such as: What do you think about Jesus? How have you come to your conclusions? Why do you think speculation about how Jesus lived stirs so much passion?

Rather than wasting time debating an impersonal pop-culture theory, Ping hopes Christians will focus on the underlying central questions: Who is Jesus? What does He have to do with me? Where can I go to find the answers?

Bock adds, “For many Christians, this will also require a willingness to step back and say, ‘Well, I don’t really know that much about this either. Let’s see what’s going on.’ Because I suspect that’s true for a lot of believers.”

And pastors who may not be well versed in the arts should seek help in joining the cultural conversation.

“Converse with the artists in your congregations,” Detweiler counsels. “Find your artistic or cinematic members, particularly your younger ones, and figure out how to incorporate them into the life and worship of the church, to use their gifts.”

DA VINCI’S POSITIVE LEGACY

Indeed, The Da Vinci Code’s popularity has already exposed a dearth of knowledge about Church history among regular churchgoers. A positive by-product of the book and upcoming film might be increased attention on the part of pastors to teach their congregations about the formation of the Christian faith. Likewise, people sitting in the pews might be more interested in hearing about it. The full impact of The Da Vinci Code book and upcoming movie—both positive and negative—on non-Christians is impossible to calculate.

“Salvation certainly won’t come from Hollywood,” says Detweiler. “But movies give us an easy, non-threatening way to continue a conversation and deepen relationships with pre-believers that we’ve already started.”

And the intrigue of conversations surrounding The Da Vinci Code has the potential to last for eternity.

Says Detweiler, “I think this movie is a prime opportunity to discuss the roots of the Christian faith: Who is Jesus? Where did the Church come from? Can we trust the Bible? These questions will be on the mind of any person who sees the movie, inside or outside the congregation. To pastors, I say: ‘Do your homework! Get ready.’ ”

Saturday, March 18, 2006

ALPHA is coming to HIS LIFE in JUNE :-)


THE ALPHA COURSE AT HIS LIFE MINISTRIES

An Overview ...
TALKS USED DURING THE COURSE
The Alpha course is a pratical introduction to the Christian faith. It is offered in a relaxed and friendly environment, and it's a great way to learn more about Christianity. Not only will you make many new friends, but your life may never be the same.
What is Alpha?
The Alpha Course consists of a series of talks addressing key issues relating to the Christian faith.

MEAL. There is a meal together at the beginning of each session which gives people a chance to get to know each other.

TALK. There will be a talk by Rev Nicky Gumbel on video or done live by a speaker on topics of interest.
See below for topics.

COFFEE and SMALL GROUPS. Listen, learn, discuss and discover. And ask anything. Alpha is a place where no question is too simple or too hostile.

Here are the TOPICS:
Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant?
Who is Jesus?
Why did Jesus die?
How can I be sure of my faith?
Why and how should I read the Bible?
Why and how should I pray?
How does God guide us?
Who is the Holy Spirit?
What does the Holy Spirit do?
How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
How can I make the most of the rest of my life?
How can I resist evil?
Why and how should I tell others?
Does God heal today?
What about the Church?