Posted in From Worry To Glory, Praise Be

Joining Praise Be Timaru 2015 of TVNZ

Praise Be 2015 Timaru edition 1 I have the opportunity to join in the Praise Be TV show filming on 16 March as bass guitarist.

Praise Be” is a Sunday show of TVNZ that started in 1986 and ranks among New Zealand’s longest running television shows.

Filmed at the Sacred Heart Basilica, the Timaru 2015 episode has, among others, a contemporary praise and worship band accompanying the choir.

The music director, Rosie Staite really wanted some lively praise music played by an electric band. She requested Brent Duncan to form his band.

Brent is one of the praise and worship leaders at Wilson Street Baptist Church. He invited me to play the bass. He played the keyboards. The other band members are Tony Zweis (drums), Lauren Foster (sax) and Katie Vincent (flute).

This was the second time they recorded at Timaru, the first was ten years ago at the same venue. Some of the choir members were part of Praise Be Timaru 2005 edition.

Playing the bass was quite challenging because 4 of the six songs weren’t familiar to me and I can’t read sheet music. I only play by ear.

The four practice sessions and listening to the music through the internet helped me learn the songs.

I believe that my musical talent is God-given and I find happiness in sharing it whenever there’s opportunity.

Such great joy joining the Praise Be Timaru episode and be part of history. To God be the glory!

Praise Be TVNZ
Coming from different churches in Timaru, the choir members numbered around 100.
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Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Living in Faith

Faith Challenge Accepted

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 18: Faith Challenge Accepted

walk your talk

“Pastor, I challenge you. Live what you preach!”

These strong words were passionately spoken by my doctor, right after he revealed to me my sickness.

To make his statement more emphatic, he looked at me straight in the eyes with fingers pointing firmly to me.

This strongly-worded admonition was used by God to make me courageous in facing my trials and to make me fully dependent on Him.

Without this frank and brave reminder from my doctor, I could have adopted a weak and defeatist attitude in facing my situation.

You see, when the doctor told me what I have to go through to confront my sickness, what possible treatments I can explore, what tests I should undergo, what opportunities are open for me if I am just courageous enough to face them, I replied rather unconvincingly, “What if I just wait for what will happen to me Doc”?

That earned my doctor’s ire. For him, to adopt a passive or negative attitude in the light of what I’m facing is an expression of faithlessness and it’s not the kind of response he expected from a pastor like me.

That’s why he stood up, with his fingers firmly pointed to me and said, “Pastor, I challenge you. Live what you preach”.

His words hit me very strongly. It was like God was using him to directly speak to me.

I realized indeed, he’s right.

I used to preach about courage in the face of perplexities, strong faith in the midst of adversities, and being open to God’s revelation in the midst of confusion and doubt.

Why then should I adopt a lethargic and pathetic attitude?

I was greatly humbled and brought to reality by that experience.

That’s why I assured my doctor, “Yes, Doc. With God by my side, I accept the challenge”.

I thanked the Lord that he has spoken his words of encouragement through my doctor.

Posted on FB: 10 March 2015 – 7:34 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Love

“With this Ring”

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 17: “With this Ring”

With this ring

Open your hands. Look at your ring finger. Is your wedding ring still there?

In my long hospital confinement, my wedding ring caused me some uncomfortable and embarrassing moments. My ring finger has grown bigger that my wedding ring can no longer be removed.

That is why every time I went to the OR, CT-Scan room and even x-rays, I have to explain to the people tasked to prepare me, my predicament – my ring can’t be removed.

They have to cover my ring finger with adhesive tapes so that my ring (or anything it represents) will not interfere with my medical procedures.

And so it came to pass that when I was released from confinement, the first thing that Mam Martha asked me to do was to look for ways for that ring to be removed.

It’s good that we have a church member who knew some jewelers familiar with the task of cutting and re-sizing a ring to make it just like new.

That explains why, after my hospital confinement, I’ve got a “new” wedding ring – fitted well, with its freshly printed inscription – Martha Mae, July 8, 1990 (the date of our wedding).

With this ring, I continue to pledge with her my matrimonial vow of a loving marriage.

Posted on FB: 9 March 2015 – 9:10 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Sharing and Caring

“What Do You Want to Eat? I’ll Cook It for You”

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 16: “What Do You Want to Eat? I’ll Cook It for You”

healing of Ronny Luces
I am glad that this generous practice of food serving is being revived in the life of people in the church.

One good memory I have of childhood in my coastal neighborhood is the picture of people gladly exchanging plates of food.

A neighbor knocking on your door and offering you his freshly cooked ‘ginat-an nga dagmay‘ (taro in coconut milk) was a daily occurrence.

To show him your gratitude, you also put ‘apan-apan‘ (water spinach) in his plate with 3 pieces of ‘bukayo‘ (coconut candy) for his children.

Alas, this healthy exchange of goodwill and foodstuff gradually faded, which the younger generation no longer witnessed.

I am glad that this generous practice of food serving is being revived in the life of people in the church.

During potluck dinners, fellowship gatherings, thanksgiving services, family celebrations, people bringing foodstuff to be shared and enjoyed is a sight to behold.

I believe that this practice is not only a cultural expression to proclaim to all and sundry our Bayanihan identity, but it is to me a manifestation of the nature of our Christian faith and spiritual identity.

In the scriptures, Christ always shared food with the people. He even commanded his disciples who were facing 5000 people, “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13).

My long hospital confinement was not all filled with difficult or heavy experiences like pain, boredom, anxiety, stress, but also memorable experiences of joy, sharing and fellowship.

These joyful experiences were usually ushered in by phone calls I frequently receive, “Pastor, what do you want to eat? I’ll cook it for you”.

Posted on FB: 9 March 2015 – 12:44 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dennis Miyashiro via Flickr Creative Commons License. The photo has been cropped and re-sized to fit website requirement.

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Tender Loving Care

Tender, Loving Care (TLC)

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 15: Tender, Loving, Care (TLC)

loving care

When we get sick, there’s only one place where we want to go – at the hospital.

It is because we are assured of the presence of doctors, nurses, surgeons, and the availability of medications, laboratory facilities, and other equipment needed for our treatment.

But not all people are satisfied with their own hospital experience.

I want to make an exception.

Fairly recently, I was confined to the hospital twice. The first was ten days long, the second was 11 days long.

Within those days I was subjected to lots of medical procedures.

  • I underwent ultra-sound guided thorasynthesis, CT scan, several x-rays, a CTT tube was inserted into my body, and pleurodesis.
  • I was treated by many physicians who were specialists in their own fields.
  • I lost count of the number of nurses and attendants checking my vital signs and giving me my medications.

But I didn’t forget their tender, loving care (TLC) and positive attitudes. I was blessed to be confined in a Christian hospital because that’s the way I perceived their treatment towards me.

Even how utility personnel cleaned my room daily, or my food being delivered by kitchen attendants during mealtime, I can observe their courteous demeanor and respectful attitude.

The regular visits and prayers of the chaplains were very encouraging and inspiring.

The comforting presence of the members of the Board of Trustees was likewise commendable. One of them even volunteered to act as the guarantor if we lacked financial resources to pay the bill.

Lastly, what will be more reassuring than the personal visit of the hospital director himself who came and give me and Mam Martha his comforting words?

It was to him that I first shared my favorable impressions and experience.

Like me, he was happy to know that his hospital is a dispenser of TLC.

Posted on FB: 8 March 2015 – 7:56 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

Posted in Determination, Lessons Learned from Sickness

If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 14: If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

determination
“If There’s a Will, There’s a Way”

We often heard the proverb, “Kung gusto, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan” (trans. “If you want to do it, you can always find ways to do it. If you do not want to do it, you always have alibis for not doing it.”)

This means that the accomplishment of something depends greatly on the intense desire of someone who wants to achieve the desired result.

I was able to affirm this truth in my sickness.

When my doctor was identifying a medication for my cough, he matter-of-factly remarked, “If we only knew somebody who can access this kind of medication in the US (he then mentioned a certain brand), then our problem can be lessened. You see, this brand is no longer available here in our country because it has been banned and regulated. You can only find this medication in the US but with all proper documentation”.

Mam Martha immediately replied, “Doc, we know somebody who can do it”.

The doctor then smiled and said, “Well, if that’s the case, then here’s the prescription. I hope that in the coming 3-5 days it will be here so that we can start dispensing such medication”.

Indeed, 5 days later, a big bottle of that regulated medication was standing at my hospital table, with my name on it, ready for the doctor’s final instruction.

The challenge of finding, purchasing, documenting, and delivering that medicine from the US to the Philippines ASAP was responded to by my youngest sister Lucy who’s working as a nurse in California.

With her deep concern for me, her intense desire and intention to ease my case, she did everything possible to deliver that regulated medicine in my hospital room in record time.

I thank God for her motivation, intention, and determination, three important elements of showing in concrete terms, her love and care for me.

Indeed, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

Let us worship our God with gladness!

Posted on FB: 8 March 2015 – 12:11 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Ant by Charlie Stinchcomb via Flickr Creative Commons License

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Trusting God

Don’t Ask “Why me?” Ask, What Will I Do?

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 13: Don’t Ask “Why me?” Ask, What Will I Do?

Faith Hope and Love

I appreciate the outburst made by a close friend (a barangay captain or village leader) when he heard about my sickness.

He said: Why does it have to be Pastor? Why not druglords, addicts, hired killers, holduppers, swindlers, who just create problems and sow havoc to society?

I understand his sentiments but I hesitate to agree with him. It would be very presumptuous for me to think that I am exempted to have this sickness because I am a Pastor.

It is also wrong for me to ask God why it would be me and not others. I simply have no right to do that.

God is God, and he has every right to do his will.

I recognize that there are many things in life that we cannot understand, but we must trust God’s judgment and be guided by his hands.

So instead of asking, “why me?” I asked, “what will I do now Lord”?

And here I received new challenges and revelations daily.

Since I cannot do my previous functions because of my physical limitations, the Lord challenged me to explore doing new things – like writing these lessons in social media.

Many people favorably send me their feedback.

I also kept a list of prayer requests that I earnestly make intercessions during my prayer time.

I also read a lot of books because I have the time to do that.

Dearly beloved, let the direction of our lives be guided by God’s hands because he is our stronghold.

He knows what’s best for us. Have a blessed day everyone!

Posted on FB: 7 March 2015 – 12:55 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.