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Love Never Ending ♥

*Write-up on the first session of the SFC Metro Manila Conference (MMC) 2013.

“We are wearing hospital tags because we are beloved… and love is patient.” This was the opening statement of Ace Lu, former YFC fulltime missionary for Middle East and currently SFC fulltime missionary for South A, as he delivered the first session of the SFC Metro Manila Conference last July 19. Indeed, the first night, just like the rest of the conference, was all about love – God’s love that is. 

Referring to the biggest MMC delegation yet, Ace declared, “We are making history. The Lord brought us here simply because He loves us!” He then shared about his personal experiences of the Lord’s greatness, boldly proclaiming that God never ceases to amaze and surprise him. Then he asked the delegates who Jesus Christ is for them. One sister said Jesus is her life, while another answered “God of everything.” Ace recalled that when he joined the Youth Camp many years ago, Jesus was the driver of his life but as he continued his faith journey, Jesus had eventually become a friend then a best friend, then a father to him. He further said that who Jesus is in our lives is His way of presenting His love to us. 

God’s love is unconditional, and, according to Ace, is more than sufficient. Then he mentioned the first miracle at the wedding in Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. He said the moment we experience the love of Christ, something in us is changed for the better. “We know that Jesus is making beautiful transformations in our lives every time our doubt is turned into faith, our fears are turned into hope, and our pains and brokenness are turned into love.”

He also related the story of Nathanael, who was at first skeptic about the fact that the Messiah came from Nazareth. As narrated in the Gospel of John, Philip told Nathanael that they had seen the Lord, and when Nathanael doubted, Philip said, “Come and see.” Only when Nathanael responded to the invitation was He able to personally see Jesus. The more interesting part is when Jesus declared that He already saw Nathanael under the fig tree. Ace explained that the fig tree is a sign of God’s blessing and of peace, a place where people pray and spend time with the Lord. What Jesus really saw was Nathanael’s heart and his hunger to know the Messiah, the very source of love. Finally, Jesus told Nathanael, “You will see greater things than this.”

Ace further stressed, “The Lord's invitation never ends. It continues.” To testify to the truth that the Lord’s love is never-ending, Ace called up four people to share their personal experiences of God’s faithfulness. 

The first was Alvin Palmiano, SFC Unit Head from GMA Kapuso, who shared how God worked powerfully to make his dream come true. What he thought was impossible, is now a reality – SFC GMA. He exclaimed, “Iba talaga magmahal ang Diyos! Kahit saan ka man nanggaling, ano man ang nagawa mo sa buhay mo, gagawin pa rin ng Diyos na worthy ka sa calling Niya.”

The second sharers were Alvin and Mariz Ricafort, former SFC members who are now serving as couple coordinator for SFC West B1. Though they don’t have a child yet, they firmly believe that the Lord is just preparing them to be the best parents to their future children that is why they are given such service in SFC and in Cornerstone. They ended their sharing by singing the chorus of the song “While I’m Waiting”, OST of the movie Fireproof.

The last sharer was Rona Patio who is barely a year old in SFC but has already served in the Witness ICON last February. Last year, she attended the Great God ICON in Bohol as a non-SFC, but despite that, she shared that she really felt welcomed. When she got another invitation to join the Christian Life Program, she didn't have second thoughts. Now she’s actively serving in SFC ICC (Central B) as part of the music ministry. At the end of her sharing, she encouraged everyone to never get tired of saying yes to the Lord. 

Ace continued by declaring that the Lord never stops inviting us to experience more of His love. He mentioned that we can never earn the love of God but it was given to us freely and abundantly. “This great love of God is initiated by Him. This love will never change. This love is constant. Mapapagod tayo pero ang Diyos hindi mapapagod magmahal sa atin. We will fail the Lord but the Lord will never fail us. This demands a response. And the only way forward is to say YES to Him.”

YES stands for YEARNING to be united with God, ENJOYING the Lord’s blessings and provisions, and SUBMITTING to the Lord’s ways and timing in full confidence that God’s plans are far greater than what we can ever dream of, what we can ever desire, and what we can ever imagine. 

Ace concluded that everything really is about love. The Father created the world because of His love for us. The Son died because of His love for us. The Holy Spirit is outpoured to us because of His love for us. And this love will never change, as Jesus promised through the prophet Isaiah, “From now on, you will be My people, and I will be your God.”

The session ended with the delegates reflecting on the words “YOU ARE MINE” as Ace directed them to go back to their fig tree moments, basking in the love and presence of the God who loves them dearly. 

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