MARANATHA MISSIONARY OUTREACH
My wife Doreen and I came to the Lord in 1972 in the Buffalo, New York area. During those early days, I had the privilege of being mentored by the Rev. Albert Reid, a retired Missionary Evangelist. It was a great honor for a new Christian to sit under such a man of God. To this day, I still remember many of the things he taught me.
Although we only ministered together on one occasion (it was my first time to minister and his last), that day changed my life forever. As I was driving him home that cold snowy winter night in Western New York, he turned to me and asked, “What is the Kingdom of God?”. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant but I answered,"Is it heaven?”. He looked at me and said, “That is partially true but there is much more. Find out what the Kingdom is and God will send you around the world in ministry.” My time with Pastor Al was brief but fruitful for soon after that special evening, he went home to be with the Lord. From that time until the present, his son, Bishop Tommy Reid, has been my spiritual father and mentor.He taught me much more concerning the Kingdom. Both his life and ministry overflow with Kingdom theology and lifestyle. But more than anyone, it is the Holy Spirit who has made the Kingdom a present-day reality.
The challenge of knowing the King and His Kingdom has taken me on an exciting journey. I have learned much about the Kingdom since that night.However, I feel as if I have just begun, for the Kingdom of God is a paradox abounding with much mystery. That night’s experience perhaps best explains my quest to better understand, proclaim, and demonstrate the KINGDOM OF GOD.
Doreen and I have been working with the Filipino people since 1979 from our home base in Cebu city. Throughout the years, we have been involved in many different kinds of work including church work, drug rehabilitation, student ministry, feeding the poor, and working with street children. Basically, all of our work flowed from our theological perspective of the Kingdom of God, which is a theological understanding that God is interested in the whole man - body, soul, and spirit.
We see the Filipino people fulfilling its prophetic destiny globally:
- a people empowered by God's love, being agents of righteousness, justice,
- championing human dignity
- strong in their spiritual identity and authority
- using their innate gifts to advance the Kingdom wherever God sends them.
We are called to REACH, EQUIP, SEND.
We will faithfully REACH out to the Filipino people, PROCLAIMING the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD in the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We will EQUIP and TRAIN LEADERS to have a Kingdom worldview, to be a SPIRITUAL FAMILY in COVENANT COMMUNITY. As the Lord leads and provides, we will SEND them out to minister in major world cities.
Spiritual Emphasis/ core values
Our main focus is to build the Kingdom of God, with people who seek God with all of their heart, and then release them into the world. This is not about building a church, it is about building the Kingdom. We strongly emphasize apostolic doctrine and the importance of seeking the presence of the Lord in all things.
The three things we value most are summed up by the acronym K.A.P. = Kindgom. Apostolic. Presence.
The Kingdom of Heaven or God = The realm of a monarch. In this case, the whole created order being God’s realm. Or more importantly, the rule or sovereign authority of a king (Luke 19:11-13). With even a casual reading of the three synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew and Luke, we see that the main thrust of Christ’s teachings is the Kingdom of God.
About one third of the teachings of Christ are parables and many of these parables use the terms “Kingdom”, “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of God”. The use of the term “Kingdom of God”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, and “His Kingdom” occurs about eighty times in the New Testament. In Matthew 4:17, we see Christ began His ministry preaching. “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” And in Acts 1:1-3, just prior to His ascension, He was speaking to His Apostles of the things pertaining to the Kingdom. Therefore, when Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand (near), He was saying that the authority and sovereignty of Heaven or of God was near.
More insight can be found in Matthew 6:10 “Thy Kingdom come,Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” In Christ’s mind, the Kingdom is a Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy where the will of the Father is being done.
Herein, lies the problem. The perfect will of the Father is seldom done here on planet earth. Most people are not even aware that it could be. Therefore, the message of the Kingdom always begins with a command to repent, which literally means to change one’s mind. In Mark 1:15, Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, proclaimed, “The time has been fulfilled.The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.” We then find at the heart of Christ’s message, the announcement of the nearness of the Kingdom.
Our lives are dedicated to the pursuit of Kingdom truth and it’s practical application in our every day lives, until the coming of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
The second letter of our acronym is A which stands for Apostolic.
We use the term "apostolic" to mean "missionary outreach, world evangelism, training and sending out church-planting missionaries".
Sheep beget sheep. Pastors beget pastors. Missionaries beget missionaries. This principle has proven true in our lives. We have been blessed to have the same pastor for all of our 44 years of Christian life. And he was a missionary.
When we began our work in the Philippines, it seemed only natural to me that one day, we would also send our missionaries. One morning, while I was driving and praying in my car, I heard the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. "You must raise up missionaries to pursue the hundreds of thousands of Filipino workers laboring in foreign land and establish churches in 20 major cities of the world." Of course, at that time, I was a struggling pastor with just a handful of people in his congregation. But God had given me a dream. So, together with our church leadership, we began to put in place the necessary infrastructure to realize this God-given dream.
I wish I could tell you that we sent out missionaries immediately. But we did not. It took years. But the day finally came when we sent out our first missionary. And we have continued to do so throughout the years. Presently, some of our original missionaries also have networks of churches under them. This is God's method of sustainability. "Let every creature produce after its own kind.”
The third letter of our acronym is P which stands for Presence.
We use the term "presence" to describe the manifest presence of the Lord in contrast to His omnipresence.
God is omnipresent; this is an undisputed theological fact. We define revival, or His manifest presence, as an outpouring or visitation of the Holy Spirit upon the church.
We believe that there are times when the Holy Spirit draws near and allows us to experience Him in a special way. We have experienced it many times in our years of ministry. This is not an intellectual knowing that He is near but a spiritual one. His presence can be known and felt sometimes, very softly and at other times, with mighty power.
Jesus used many illustrations to describe the church. One of them is being the temple of the Holy Spirit (the house of God). If this be so, should we not therefore endeavor to allow Him to create a space where He is comfortable. There are many ways to do church and I am sure that they all have a place in the plan of God. But if I were to have to choose whether to build a house where man is comfortable or one where the Holy Spirit is comfortable, I would much rather choose the latter for the church is none other than the house of God. Anyway, isn’t it all about Him and not about us?
I believe that the church is very much like a human body. Just as each individual has his specific DNA that causes him to be who he is, each congregation has been given a spiritual DNA which causes them to be who they are. Difficulties arise when we as individuals or for that matter, churches try to be other than what God wants them to be. Church DNA is made up of the gifts, leadership, and members present in that local church. God placed them there to fulfill the calling of that church. As a church elder in the seventh decade of my life, it is my passion and desire to raise up a generation who will understand their spiritual DNA and take the work of the church to the next level in their generation.