Setting the Plot

It was a great miracle. Out of five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus fed five thousand men (perhaps 20,000 including women and children) and there were even leftovers (John 6:10-13). It seemed to be a great feeding program. It was a wonderful outreach ministry. However, there lies a "sad" ending with this miraculous feeding -- out of the thousands of souls, only twelve remained. No, no, only eleven truly remained with Jesus (John 6:66-70). What caused this "failure" in a potential outstanding outreach program? Following is an imaginary letter from the church of the 21st century addressed to Jesus. (But, I suggest that you read the whole of John 6 before proceeding with the letter.)

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Hey, JC!

I know that you are omnipotent and you are omniscient. That's why I cannot understand how you did miss this great opportunity. We are talking about 5,000-membered congregation here. You started very well in feeding them. I thought you would finish it well. How could you let them slip out of your hand?! There might be wrong. There ought to be wrong on how you do ministry! I reviewed the record of this particular event and please consider my thoughts.

First, it was wrong that you contrasted their flesh much. They wanted you to be king (John 6:15) yet you withdrew and ran from them? You could have allowed them to crown you. So what if it is only their selfish desire to do so? Imagine the power and influence that you missed being the king. And one more thing, they were just asking for a little more bread (John 6:26). You could have fed them.. and fed them.. and fed them.. and fed them as much as they want until they feel more comfortable with you before bombarding them with your I AM thingy (John 6:51).

Second, you pointed on eternity too much. Your talk about you being the only way to heaven too much was too intoxicating. You should have at least given them a hint that there were other possible ways. And you should have been more creative in attracting them to heaven using self-esteem, or using financial wealth, or using perfect health, or using success in career, or using psychology, some trending issues. You are omniscient and you should have known a way on how to be Christ-centered without mentioning yourself that much.

Third, you disregarded their reponsiveness. Response is the most important element in evangelism. They were already asking questions (John 6:28). But you missed it again. At this very point, you should have already asked them to close their eyes and pray after you with a short sinner's prayer. You could have asked them to raise their hands or walk down the aisle. You could have asked John or Thomas perhaps to play a soft music in the background. [By the way, why are your disciples all fishermen, and tax-collectors? You need a musician! It is needed in times like this. You better drop the zealot and find a keyboardist.] Response is the key. You should manipulate the feelings to get the desired response.

Fourth, you used sharp words that offended your listeners. You uttered statements like "But there are some of you who do not believe. For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father (John 6:64-65)." Indirectly, you said that the Father has turned his back on them. That was very harsh. These statements were very sharp. When they didn't believe your words, it would be more kind to respond, "Smile, God loves you," wouldn't it? And you sounded too serious. Couldn't you crack a couple of jokes sometimes to charm their uneasiness a little about GOD's judgment?

Fifth, you presented hard doctrines. It was very obvious that they couldn't understand your first strike of hard doctrine (in John 6:51) so they argued (John 6:52). But instead of loosening up, you released your lengthy second strike of hard doctrine (in John 6:53-59). And again, it was obvious that they couldn't grasp it (John 6:60). But like a hard-headed toddler, you even proceeded to an even harder teaching (John 6:61-63). Three strikes, Jesus. Three strikes! Nobody cares about doctrine. You should refrain from teaching hard doctrines.


And lastly, you downplayed the importance of numbers. All of them left. Thousands of potential church members turned away from you. Only 12 remained. But what did you say after seeing them leaving? You said that the group which stayed with you is still one guy too much. Only twelve remained and you still wanted to discount one more soul (John 6:70). Jesus, I know that you know that the ultimate purpose of math is for us to measure how a church grows. Numbers is the ultimate aim of ministries.

How you do business is very different compared to how we do business here in the 21st century. But at least, we are proud to  have made the narrow gate that you created (Matthew 7:13) to be much more wider. We have improved your obsolete methods. We only have one thing in mind now: how to make the church more fleshly and worldly so many more fleshly and worldly souls can come in and feel comfortable.

Your bestfriend (I'm sorry, "bride" is uncool),
the church from 21st century

PS: Try sharing some "inspirational" photos on Facebook. A lot of these are not found in your Book but at least, viewers feel better about themselves.

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An Album Worthy to be Blogged

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 8:07 PM 0 comments



NOTE: Click on the image to enlarge






















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A Decade-Old Poem

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 9:50 PM 1 comments



I am posting a poem that I have written exactly ten years ago, when I was just 19 years old. It speaks of my passion then on body piercings, tattoos, and Christian rock music. Though I still believe that there are no inherent evils in these, GOD has caused me now to believe that loving the brethren and thinking of their welfare is much more Christlike than winning a debate on secondary non-essential issues.




NEEDLES, STRINGS, AND THE CROSS
by: Bernard A. Rosario
08 July 2002

Though you raise your question,
I can’t stand on your position.
This holed ear speaks of my addiction
To the One pierced for my salvation.
I’m a fanatic apprentice of Judah’s Lion
Pleasing the Most High is my cry for satisfaction.

Do you really think that it’s a sin
To have this worshipping stain on my skin?
It’s beyond my control to design my cover
Of what my pages shout even louder.
You may still insist, “It’s a worldly paint!”
But peep into my heart, I’m still a saint.

My beats are heavy, yeah, I agree
But they won’t equate with negative solemnity.
Let us draw the lines biblically.
Do you have against my Psalm 33:3?
This so called noise for you touches the core in me,
My obsessed core for Christ that eats me thickly.

My last words will just be few,
The condition of the heart is essential to God’s crew.
You cannot accuse me of doing a crime
When my steps and the cross are in a poetic rhyme.
If ever the Almighty sees my hands dirtier,
The reason will never be because of this ring below my ear.

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Our Wedding Vows

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 9:38 PM 1 comments





Today, June 30 of 2012, I married the most beautiful and most CHRIST-centered woman that I know, Anna. Here is how we exchanged vows:



My Vow to Anna

Anna, sinners like me and you cannot really keep a vow
Without the kindness of CHRIST, this will just be for now

So I will glorify CHRIST when we share our loudest laughter
And still do so when tears roll and you need my shoulder

I will glorify CHRIST when time again tells we're similar
And still do so when I learn more how diverse we are

I will glorify CHRIST when you born kids of our own
And still do so when GOD points us to adoption

I will glorify CHRIST when our boy ranks first or second
And still do so when we will carry him through autism

I will glorify CHRIST when we are blessed with plenty
And still do so when the refrigerator is empty

I will glorify CHRIST when I can still carry you upstairs
And still do so when you push me with my wheelchairs

And since I will glorify CHRIST until my death
So I will love you increasingly until my last breath


Anna's Vow to Me

A peculiar friendship with you I found
A great blessing since on the cross I was bound
God is great and faithful through all these years
For CHRIST upholds us through laughter and tears

Today I stand here to utter this vow
Whatever life may bring, to CHRIST alone together we bow
I’m excited to spend this life under your headship
But more is the excitement in this new ministry’s partnership

I will be your complement in sickness and in health
We will build a home where GOD’s glory is the sole wealth
I will be your bestfriend through mountains and storms
We will hold hands together to have the flow against the norms

I affirm your leadership as the church is led by CHRIST
I submit my whole to you as the church submits to CHRIST
It is my prayer that we grow together in the increasing knowledge of GOD daily
By the grace of GOD, this union will be for GOD and HIS GLORY solely


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Photo Credits: Watchdog of God

None But Anna Manelle

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 11:55 PM 0 comments




March
My heart leaps when I recollect that feeling
When she couldn't eat her meal at Chowking
Who stars the love story I'm proud to retell
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

April
We sat a lot and did movie marathons
Disturbed a couple of times by Edward Norton
Who can read through films and see CHRIST still?
One is Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

May
Church split we never desired to see
Yet amidst controversies, birthed was PMC
Who was the woman of courage when UMC almost fell?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

June
New school, new job, new colleagues, new students
Everything is new, but not how time is spent
Who looks for chances of her ministry's sequel?
Of course, Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

July
Documents I needed but lacked enough time
To Baguio she went alone to care for mine
Who complements me best like Piper's Noël?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

August
Corporate attire, feet tortured by my shoes
ID picture taken, lower than chest is unused
Then to PCBS and UP, pain I can quell
Because of Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

September
Like a SEPNASian again, I return to green
And from Taft, I travel homebound early morning
Who stays awake, and hopes I am well
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

October
She watched much of Scofield in Prison Break
And stayed calm though in eBay I was faked
Who relied on grace for my buy-and-sell?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

November
Subtitles we demand because of Aamir Khan
But Midweek Service missed coz of Lagaan
Who then wrote that with saints we joyfully dwell?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

December
Five days, four nights, fat excitement for the camp
With studies and lectures, young hearts we stamp
Who understands me best when MISSIONS I spell?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

January
2012 entered, our schedules were too narrow
To school, to church, to Lingayen we go
Who prayed with me most for LIfCA to flare
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

So vexed was her when she lost my Tattoo
And in few weeks, my Asus went missing too
Who reminds me that Christ is my Jewel?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

February
Her gown was the longest but she was the cutest
She was charming but with less color on her face
Who redefines beauty and catches what is real?
Few and Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

March
I'm Grateful to GOD for more than rubies I found
For this woman, I will be delightedly bound
Whose name I dream to change to Rosario from Manuel?
None but Anna Manelle, Anna Manelle

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1:14 of John (Parody of 21 Guns)

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 10:48 PM 0 comments




Today marks the second birthday of Thrown Scabbard. In those two years, the conviction of this blog stays for the magnification of Christ who bled, died, and had risen for the glory of the Father and the redemption of my soul.

1:14 of John
(A Christian parody of Green Day’s 21 Guns)

Who could know that void sight before?
He’s One whose words have things formed
Must He weigh the Milky Way and must He be from everlasting             

Can't think plain well of His might.
Can do no good for Him as guide.
There’s one way He seriously said, that I’m ruined

1:14 of John
Shrink down with arms
Him who’s the Light
1:14 of John
Thrown up all charms just to be like
You and I ...

The doze at the berth of the goat
And the cross made sense to my fall
Had two thoughts that made Him stand tall
For God’s fame and the escaping of my soul

Our fate rests on whom we trust
Highest endeavor wouldn’t pass
Without transferred guilt to Christ, we are ruined

1:14 of John
He needed hands
Pinned for our pride
1:14 of John
Brow's vast brilliance, hit for our crimes
You and I …

As you try to save your own soul
May you turn to desperation
If you can get rid of the fire,
There's no need for the King to leave greatness from His throne

Then His life He gave and He died
Cause you can't make any wrong white
Grand thing yells as His heart expires, you were ruined

1:14 of John
Shrink down with arms
Him who’s the Light
1:14 of John
Thrown up all charms just to be like

1:14 of John
He needed hands
Pinned for our pride
1:14 of John
Brow's vast brilliance, hit for our crimes
You and I …

Sing with an accompaniment. Click to play [karaoke] audio.









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This time last year, 2011, I loaned about fifteen thousand pesos from the university's multi-purpose cooperative. This amount, combined with half of my thirteenth month pay, I used to purchase an Asus 1015PEM. It was so beautiful. I see much beauty in it that I find paying for the loan a no-sweat compared to its great worth. After a year of usage, I still find it so lovable and have no plan to replace it in the next couple of years perhaps. It has served me so well in almost everything but most especially in my ministry. It is my organist, organizer, and sermon archiver. If only it has a soul, it will definitely hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

However, before early afternoon today, my ministry-partner is nowhere to be found on my desk. Initially, I thought I was a subject of a practical joke. But I was not met by a practical joker but by the head of security. It was indeed stolen. I couldn't explain what I felt. I was perspiring. My heart pumped so fast and I was nauseating. But I remember that my life and my death are for the sole purpose of exalting CHRIST (Phil. 1:20).

So, I ask, "How do you magnify GOD amidst theft?" And I think that the best way to do so is to make plain to others that GOD stays for who He is even amidst "bad" unwanted events in my life. When my netbook was taken from me...

GOD is still THE King
The Bible is filled with references that pertain to the sovereignty of GOD. Jeremiah 32:17 for instance says "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm." GOD is King. Nothing happens outside of His will and purpose. It is extremely comforting to remember that the sole and supreme Ruler is infinitely wise, massively powerful, and loving to the utmost. That means that the absence of my netbook now is an outcome of GOD's wise, powerful, loving, and sovereign rule. I was surprised when it was gone but GOD already knew it would be gone even before the foundation of the world... yet HE allowed it to be gone. It may perhaps not be my business now to know why. Where was GOD when my netbook was taken? He was there in that same place when I purchased my Asus, sitting on His throne and sovereignly ruling over the entire universe, over things visible and invisible.

GOD is still THE Writer
Romans 8:28 is a Christian darling -- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." It is not promised that all things ARE GOOD. Things may be bad. But all things will work together for good. I don't know how but the thieving of my property will work with other events of my life for my good. If we go on further with the verse at hand, to verses 29 to 30, all these things that are happening are woven together by the Almighty to conclude our glorification. It seems, therefore, to mean that the very netbook that I love is hindering me from the surety of my glory. GOD in His GODness knows. I thank GOD that even with all the billions and billions and billions of concerns that He has, He still managed to mind me and my netbook... that He writes so meticulously for my own good.

GOD is still THE Teacher
What I love when GOD states His intention to teach us is the assurance of learning. Let us consider John 14:26 for example, "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. " or Ezekiel 11:19, "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." He says, "I will teach... I will remind... I will give..." and not "I will try to teach... I will try to remind... I will try to give..." When GOD really wants to teach us, He will never fail in doing so. We will surely learn. And GOD, in His creativity, will certainly utilize different events in our life just to teach us. And I must say, I learn today.

GOD is still THE Judge
Justice presupposes that all sins and transgressions should be accounted for. "For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Eccles. 12:14)." And since all have sinned (Rom.3:23), all will face judgment for doing evil and being evil. If the one who have taken my netbook is an unbeliever [which is most probably], he will pay for eternity for this transgression that he has committed (Matt. 10:28). But when the grace of GOD finds its way to the heart of the thief, his sins in general and this sin of stealing in particular would be included in the penalty that Christ has paid (2 Cor. 5:21). In short, I did not really lose anything because GOD will bring justice. He is still the righteous Judge.

GOD is still THE Grace-Giver
I deserve nothing but the fiery wrath of GOD. He wants me to be perfect as He is (Matt. 5:48). But I have a problem; GOD is infinitely holy and infinitely perfect. I will never ever meet His demands. So, even the slightest of my disobediences reserves for me a space in hell. That is where I truly and rightfully belong. But because of Christ paying the penalty due to me, I will not face such terror... a very abundant mercy. And not only that, He has given me life -- I owe to His grace. I have a beautiful family -- I owe to His grace. I have a lot of things that I enjoy now that I don't really deserve -- I owe to His grace. So when my netbook was gone, I am still standing on a space that is a product of GOD's mercy and grace... so distant from the hell that I deserve.

GOD is still THE Treasure
GOD is enough. He is more than enough. When my heart despairs for my lost netbook, it reveals that GOD is not enough for me but actually needs some other accessories. Psalm 73:25 is my youth fellowship's favorite, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." I or we strive to have a heart like the Apostle Paul to consider everything, that is all things, as loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:8). Whether it be my netbook, my cellphone, my other toys, my foods, my clothes, my books [ouch], my profession, my friends, my family, my future, my Anna, or everything, may I be able to display that I value all of these as nothings when compared to the surpassing value of knowing CHRIST.

"I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity." ~ John Wesley


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