Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas and Kian's Homecoming for the New Year

We spent the evening of Christmas Eve at a party thrown by some of our friends (Edwin and Charlyne) who used to live under Manalo Bridge.  This faithful couple now hosts bible studies in their home and reach out to the children and families living in their building.  They offered us the opportunity to provide Christmas presents for the kids as they hosted the party.  It was a joy to give gifts to these kids who have been faithfully attending the studies.   We had Grace, Tyler and Isabella handing out the gifts to give them an opportunity to be a blessing to others and to remind them of how much God has blessed them.  

Below is a portion of the kids who attended and helped with the party.  We gave out 31 gifts, while Edwin, Charlyne and their kids hosted and served the party for their neighbors in their community.  I gave them the curriculum FOF (Fundamentals of the Faith), which was produced by John MacArthur and Grace Community Church and has since been translated into Tagalog.  Lord willing, they will use it for their bible studies this year.

Last Friday night we took our kids with us to the airport to pick up Kian, who had left home for college last July.   This was made possible by some dear ladies from our home Church, The Bridge Bible Fellowship.  The Lord put it on their hearts to send Kian home for the Christmas and New Year holidays.  As much as we wanted him to come home, we couldn't afford it.  Jessica teared up when she read the email explaining how the Women's Morning Support Circle wanted to send him home.   I'm not sure what excited the kids more, seeing their big brother again or the Christmas presents that they were anticipating getting from him.  Although Isabella was so excited to be with Kian that she had him promise that he would spend time with her every day, it didn't take her long to ask about those presents. 

Even though Kian's flight didn't get in till after 10pm, Josiah stayed up till after 11pm to see his big brother (he usually goes to bed between 7:30 and 8pm).   Kian was happy to see that Josiah still seems to remember him and was quickly playing with him.   We are all happy to have him with us again for a few weeks and will try to spend a few days at the beach together before he returns to the U.S. and schools starts up again for the rest of the kids.  

Grace was also pleased to see Kian who gave her a computer game that seems to be her favorite Christmas gift this year (and Christian's).  We all got to enjoy watching fireworks together at Faith Academy and Kian is been catching up with good friends of his who are still living here or visiting their families.  They even managed to set off a few fireworks themselves.

He really enjoyed his first semester at The Master's College and his mom and I are pleased to see growth in him both his maturity as a young man and in his spiritual life.  He is making good choices as he processes the world more and more through biblical lenses.  Currently, he is pursing business and is enjoying music on the side.  He is on the worship team at our home church as well as playing with other musicians.

We were also blessed by Calvary Bible Church who sent presents for the whole family.  That was a blessing as our limited budget makes it a bit challenging to buy Christmas presents for six kids.  It is a good things that our kids have learned to be content with a modest amount to gifts.  Even knowing the reason for the season, it can be disappointing for kids (especially American kids like ours) not to get anything or much for Christmas.   Before we opened any gifts on Christmas morning we sat around our table with our kids and discussed the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  We talked about the many symbols of Christmas, like the Christmas tree, lights, bells, presents, wreaths, candy canes, etc. and the realities that these symbols point to Jesus Christ.

All in all, we are having a great Christmas season and a New Year.  Thanks so much to all of you who support us in prayer and financially.  We couldn't be serving our Lord in the Philippines without you.  We continue to pray for all of you.  God bless and happy new year.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meet some of our students

Mentoring Pastor Erwin

For over a year I have been mentoring Pastor Erwin Quimboy.  He is a sharp Filipino pastor and I have been enjoying his friendship and fellowship.  Along with about 6 other men, we have been meeting weekly at my house to work through the interpretation, outlining and preaching of 1 Timothy.  We also discuss what a Biblical Philosophy of ministry looks like and how that impacts the way we teach, preach, lead, serve, disciple and evangelize God’s people.  Our time together has had a beautiful impact on Pastor Erwin and his church.  Not only has he committed himself to expository preaching, but he also committed himself to a biblical philosophy of ministry.  It is a joy to see the fruit in his ministry.
Pastor Erwin, his wife Rita and 
                                                                            daughter Yana.

             The first impact I saw was on his elders.  During our mentoring time in 1 Timothy, the Lord moved Pastor Erwin to discuss the qualifications of an elder with the elders of his Church.  They all went away for a weekend retreat together and after studying the text together, all of the men learned what the qualifications and job requirements of an elder are.  Together they came to the conclusions that they are not qualified to be elders, but they love the Lord and still want to serve him.  Instead of being angry at Pastor Erwin (I’ve seen this happen in this kind of situation before) they all stepped down as elders and changed their role to “ministry team” as they grow the necessary character and skills to be elders. 
God didn’t stop there.  Next, He began to work in the hearts of the worship team.  As they realized that their lives were not right to lead the Church in worshiping God in song, they too stepped down.  Now the church sings acapella until there are leaders raised up who can lead worship of God in spirit and in truth.  Pastor Erwin is now discipling both of those groups and we pray that someday they will be able to serve the Church again sometime soon, but with a whole new heart and understanding.  What a testimony this must be to the whole church, pray that more fruit is borne through this.  Also pray for pastor Erwin who faithfully pastors this Church with very little pay.  The Church is located in an area called "Quatro" because it is near the fourth hole of a golf course.  Hundreds of families are squatting their as they hope to find work, schooling and a better life for their families.   

Ministering in Prison with Pastor Jim

Recently, I joined Pastor Jim, who has been studying with us for about two years now.  He volunteers to minister to government officials, workers, Philippine Police Officers, and prisoners.  We went to the National police headquarters in Manila to teach a group of eight Nigerian men who have been detained for the last four months and are awaiting trial.  I never asked them why they were arrested, but I told them to see this imprisonment as a gift from God as He uses it to either give them the gift of eternal life or sets them on a path to serve him with the rest of their lives.  I taught them one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 101:1-8.  Since they had nothing to write with I told them to remember three things from this passage if they wanted to live a life that pleased God.  I told them to Practice Praising God in all circumstances v. 1, Practice Righteous Living vv. 2-6, and to Practice Remove Sin from their lives vv. 7-8.  The Church at South Mountain in Phoenix Arizona kindly donated a box a Bibles which, made it possible for us to give each of these men their own Bible.
Pastor faithfully ministers to men and women like this several times a week all over Manila.  He does this as a volunteer as his church cannot afford to pay him a salary.  Pray for his strength, wisdom and provisions and he continues to serve the Lord in this way (and many others).

Thanks for all your prayers and support, which make it possible for me to pour my life into many great men like these who faithful serve Jesus and are hungry to learn how to do it better.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Encouraging Moments

I often have conversations or receive messages that encourage and remind me why I’m here.  I’m thankful that the Lord causes this to happen because it keeps me focused and motivated.  One man who studied under our training ministry, the Expositor’s Academy for a short time, recently wrote me and asked for counsel regarding continuing his training for ministry.  He wrote:

            Hi Sean,

 …I would like to ask for your advice concerning studying for ministry.  I believe I am being called to pastoral or some form of lay ministry.  I would like to get some Biblical education behind me and am wondering on how best to do this.

Ideally I would like to go TMS (The Master's Seminary in the U.S.) but it just seems like a financial and logistical impossibility (I'm married, have two kids, will be 34 this Sept., and am pretty much broke).  I've been looking for schools here but most seminaries look like places where I'll have to fight for my faith rather than grow in it…Anyway, all this to say that I'd like to pursue ministry but don't have seminary credentials and think it'd be hard to get some, given my present circumstances…What do you think would be a good path to take?

…Right now I'm...educating myself by reading as much as I can by my favorite teachers and listening to hundreds of sermons (which is basically what I've been doing for the last 15 years).  I imagine the best thing would be to study at the Expositor’s Academy.  Can you kindly pray with me and lend me your thoughts on this matter on how to proceed?

It is men like this and the current state of many schools and churches in the Philippines that make it necessary for training ministries like ours to equip pastors and train up expositors here. 

In August I had the privilege of speaking at The Solo Christo Singles Conference at Higher Rock Church in Quezon City.  I was blessed to share from the Word on pursuing a life partner.  Those who attended received the Word with eagerness and I was encouraged afterwards by several texts and facebook comments.  Here is one of them…

Pastor Sean. How are you? Just to encourage you. Your talk about unequally yoked relationships in our Single's Conference has borne fruit. One of the guys in our bible study after hearing your talk decided to break up with his nonbeliever girl friend the following day. He has already heard many times of the folly of this relationship but he was hoping for a "missionary" relationship. He already had this girl friend when he became a Christian and he was pining that she also becomes a believer but it didn't happen that way.

Praise God....take care...

On another note, we have been getting some encouraging notes from our son Kian.  Although we miss him, we are very excitement about his studies and enjoyment of The Master’s College.  He wrote…

           I’m really loving it here and I love the reading.  The books we are required to read are sooooo good.  Sprinted through Genesis, literally 25 chapters due every other class period, but it was really cool reading it that fast, and seeing the progression and the history in a plot form, rather than out of order stories.

He also said that the week of welcome or “WOW week” made a big impression on him.  He said that after all the fun events each day a speaker would share a different distinctive of TMC.  He was very impressed with their commitment to The Word, Discipleship, Worship…and the challenge to live these distinctives out.

How you can pray for us: 
  • Pray for the Greene and Luciano families as they raise support to join our team in the Philippines.
  • Pray that God would continue to give us wisdom and favor as we seek to follow His leading of our ministry.
  • Pray for Kian as he studies at the Master’s College and that the Lord would continue to grow his faith and biblical worldview.
  • Pray that the Lord would continue to guide Jessica and I as we shepherd the hearts of our children.
  • Pray that God would raise more supporters for us to keep us on the mission field doing His work.


Sunday, July 31, 2011


Why do we hate separation? Children hate being separated from their parents, like our one year old son who panics sometimes when Jessica or l leave the room. We all hate being separated from those we love, like when a young man goes to serve in the military or a young woman moves out of the house to live with her new husband. We also hate being separated from the things and the places that mean a lot to us, like a family home or the country we love.

I was reflecting on this a few nights ago after we took our oldest son, Kian, to the airport. He left the Philippines to go to The Master’s College in the U.S. We are very proud of Kian and excited for this new chapter in his life, but it is a bitter sweet time because we won’t get to watch him mature each day as we had for the last eighteen years, and now we will not be able to see him make his mark on the world. Although we are family, our family is forever changed. It

will never be quite the same. I suspect that in some ways, things will be even better as Kian grows into the man God made him to be; perhaps even having his own family someday.

However, when we sit around a table with our other five children at a restaurant, one

less seat will be occupied. When we pile into the van, there will be one less face in my rear view mirror. And as the voices compete with each other to share with me how their day went, there will be one less waiting to get a word in. I know we have the internet and various ways to communicate today, but it won’t be quite the same and I must say that I don’t enjoy the separation. I suppose I better understand how my mom felt when we left our home seven years ago to serve as missionaries.

These feelings of dislike of separation got me thinking about how horrible it will be for those who see the glory of God at judgement only to be separated from Him for eternity because of their refusal to acknowledge God for who He is. They will forever have burned in their eyes the

sight of the most beautiful and awesome being whom they will never be able to

see or approach again. How sad to see the beauty of God and then to go through eternity knowing that your own choices permanently separated you from Him. This makes the sorrow of being separated from my son by his leaving for college seem insignificant. It also reminds me of the urgency to warn others of the consequences of their choices.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kicking and Fighting

Two held her down while two others attacked her. She begged to be let go and cried "Get me out of here!" as blood began to run down her head. However, we couldn't give into her request. As much as it hurt, it was for her best, so Jessica and I helped hold her down as the doctor and her assistant pulled her skin together with three stitches.

Jessica and I were actually glad that we missed the call and text from our oldest son while we were on our way home from teaching a Preaching class. Though only 30 minutes away, it would have been a torturous ride if we had read what Kian wrote. Only after walking in our room and finding our four year old Isabella happily playing and with a bandage on her head did we find the text and missed call. The text read, "Don't want to worry you, but Bella fell from the top bunk and split her head open. Lots of blood, 3quarter of an inch gash, but minimal pain, and no panic what so ever. She's got a bandage but will likely need to go in for stitches in the morning."

It had already been a long day and Kian had assured us that he googled 'stitches' on the internet and learned that we had eight to twenty four hours to take her to the hospital, so there was no need to go to the hospital until the morning (it was already almost 9pm). Even though we were tired and Kian is a pretty responsible eighteen year old young man (headed for college next week), I decided to investigate myself. He was right about what the web said, but I wanted to check out her cut myself. It took about one second for me to say "Get your shoes on, were going to the hospital". Just below her hairline above her right eye, the gash was about an inch long and a quarter of an inch wide at it's center. It was fairly deep, needed to be closed and I wasn't taking any chances with my baby girl. If you are not squeamish, can handle the sight of blood and are curious then you can click here to see Bella's cut, otherwise just read on.

While we struggled to hold her down on a table in the hospital emergency room, I couldn't help being reminded of how we do the same thing when God tries to help us. Our fear and lack of understanding causes us to kick, scream and fight against Him when He is only seeking our best and only trying to help us. We often fight Him like a scared and confused little child. Even with medication to numb the wound, my ipad playing the movie "Toy Story" next to her and promises of balloons and candy, she still struggled and cried.

Three stitches later her terrifying ordeal was over.

It wasn't long till she was her sweet and happy self, exclaiming that o so familiar phrase, "Can I have a snack now?" Like a master manipulator, she milked the moment as best she could (who wouldn't, I suppose?). First, she worked the doctor for three surgical gloves: two to take home and one to have blown up like a balloon. Then, after settling with the hospital, we proceeded to the pharmacist for medicine and snacks. Once again, all was well as Bella drank her favorite chocolate milk and ate a candy bar. We didn't take anymore pictures that night, but here is one of her usually smiling face.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Island Hopping

It's been a busy month and it's not over yet. Last week we held our first family module where we not only taught pastors, but a few ladies joined us to teach the wives of those pastors. These ladies included my wife, Jessica, and two Action Missionaries, Ruth Ortiz and Pami Ellis. First, four fellow graduates from the Master's Seminary (Felix Ballon, Vincent Greene, Chad Dexter and Mike Berry) joined us in the Philippines to teach with our training ministry, The Expositor's Academy. They started with a one day seminar on The End Times at a local church in the city of Cainta. Then together, we all travelled to Boracay to teach at the family module the week of May 16th-21st. We taught a survey of The Old Testament to the men, while the ladies with us taught on various issues on marriage and family to the wives. We had a few joint sessions in the evening for family messages as well.

On Sunday, some of us preached at Grace Baptist Church of Boracay and a couple of it's outreach churches. In the evenings we taught on more OT survey and preached on family issues. I taught a two hour survey on the book of Judges and preached a message from Genesis 2 on "God's Intention for Marriage." The students and church members were very appreciative as they fellowshipped with us and interacted during the Sunday morning and evening worship services as well as during the module from Monday-Friday.

Chad Dexter, who is finishing up his second graduate degree at The Master's Seminary, is exploring where God wants to use him and his wife Kara after he graduates and is considering joining The Expositor's Academy in the Philippines.

Chad did a great job preaching twice, once from the books of Romans and the other time from the book to The
Ephesians and teaching several session for the OT Survey including Judges, 2 Samuel and 2 Kings.

Vincent Greene is joining us for the third time and is already in the process of raising support so that he and his family can move to the Philippines where he will join the TEA staff to help us focus on and train men to be expositors of God's Word.

Vincent taught on Ezra, Nehemiah, Ruth, Esther, 1 Samuel and 1 Kings as well as preaching. He also joined us in Mindanao in the city of Davao where he preached twice and helped teach a module on how to interpret the Bible.

Pastor Felix Ballon came out a week earlier to teach a one week module module for us on biblical interpretation at Christ Commission Fellowship in the city of Alabang, followed by the one day End Times seminar, and then spent three days with us to help teach the module in Boracay. This was pastor Felix's third time teaching for The Expositor's Academy and he is fast becoming a favorite guest professor.

Pastor Mike Berry (Left) from Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church in Riverside, CA, also
joined us as he taught the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. My wife Jessica (Right) taught the pastor's wives on the marks of a godly wife and mother. She was blessed to be able to encourage these godly ladies (below), some of whom enjoyed her teaching at our Purpose and Passion Conference at Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Manila last year.

Jessica taught the ladies the first half of the week, and Pam Ellis and Ruth Ortiz arrived on Wednesday to teach the second half of the week. Ruth taught the women on biblical counseling while Pami, a nurse, taught about family health issues. (By the way, both ladies spent some of their childhood growing up as missionary kids in The Philippines. It's great to see them back here again serving as adults).

The Boracay module was followed by the Davao module on biblical interpretation at Heritage Baptist Church. Pastors Felix, Mike and Chad
returned to the States, but Allan Luciano (Left)
and a team from the Church at South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, (Brent Milner, Linda Strickland, Andy Lack, Jameika Manradge, and Abram Davis- Below) joined Vincent and I to teach, serve and observe some of what God is doing in the Philippines.

Allan, his wife Sandi and their two children are also raising support to join us as part of the TEA staff in Philippines. During our Davao module he helped teach several sessions on interpreting the bible.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Myriads of the Surprised

I was shocked when I received the text. It read, "He was accused, and he admitted raping [her] with the excuse that she wanted it. She was drunk and he was high on drugs." I knew the man lived in extremely difficult circumstances and that he was struggling to live the Christian life as he fought old vices developed over decades, like smoking and gambling, but rape? Drugs?...I would never have guessed. My heart not only breaks for him and his victim, both of whom I have been sharing Christ with and helping with physical needs, but the Lord used me to bring the gospel into his life and I have been hoping that His accepting it was real. At times, he would seem to show evidence of being a follower of Jesus; and at other times, he would seem to act just like a person who does not believe or follow Him. Ultimately, only God knows, but I always hoped the best for him . . . and I still do. I must admit that things sure look bleak at the moment. I met him many years ago and he took to the Bible pretty quickly. He read more in the first several months that I knew him, than some other Christians read in years. I shared the gospel with him during that time and it wasn't long before he professed to believe it. He became a regular attender of our bible study and sunday worship services, even went on to take a several month long class on how to share his faith. In spite of flashes of being a young and immature believer, he seemed to be a believer none the less. Like with my friend above, I have shared the gospel with many people, and I have had the privilege of seeing some of them acknowledge faith in Christ. However, I am usually skeptical when someone claims to believe in Jesus and that they want to become a Christian. I'm not saying that they aren't, but I only feel confident that the confession of their lips is the reality of their hearts after I see a consistent pattern of following Jesus and obeying His commands over time. You see, it is through the trials and choices in our lives that the genuineness of our faith is demonstrated. Perseverance through trials and right choices gives confidence of a genuine faith to those who claims faith in Christ and to those who witness that confession.
Instead of praying for my friend's growth as a believer, I am once again praying for the salvation of his soul. I fear that he may be among the myriads of the surprised who hear Jesus say, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 9:46) or even worse, Many will say to [Jesus] on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then [Jesus] will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (John 7:22-23). The truth about my friend will be made evident in time. Some may read this and believe that the truth is already clear. Perhaps, but my question to you is, "What about you?" Is your faith real? Does your life demonstrate it? Which way are you headed? Will Jesus say, "I never knew you" or "Well done good and faithful servant."?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A First for the Expositor’s Academy

This May 16th -20th The Expositor’s Academy (TEA) will begin teaching it’s third module to pastors in Boracay. We have already completed Hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible) and Homiletics (an introduction to preaching). Our next module will be an intensive one week module that will survey the first half of the Old Testament. We have taught seven modules to date, but this time we not only invited the pastors, but we also invited their wives and children as well. As the men attend the OT Survey in the mornings, their wives and children will have their own classes. During the middle part of the day everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy the beach and in the evening their will be a few more OT sessions and a special message for all the couples geared toward building godly marriages.

Five graduates from The Master’s Seminary in California and a team from are planning on making the sixteen hours of flights to partner with us to do the teaching for this module and then on May 23-27 The Church at South Mountain in Arizona will join us to help teach a Hermeneutics module and do some local ministry in Davao City.

Join us in praying for God’s favor on the students, teachers and for the resources necessary for these modules. If you would like to sponsor a pastor(s) to be trained please email me at

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's amazing how much you learn when you teach others.

I never cease to be amazed at how much I learn when I teach others. Last night I finished teaching a Theology Class at Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF). We basically spent two semester surveying major Theological topics in the Bible and it was a great learning experience for all of us. I had not focused on Theology like that since my seminary days and it really helped to remind me, clarify for me and give me an opportunity to dig a little deeper on several Theological issues. A few that stood out during our class discussions were on the topics of weather or not God paid for the sins of every single individual person and the end times. I think studying and teaching the doctrines of salvation moved me from a 4 point Calvinist to a 5 pointer. It was a very stretching topic for me and the class so we took extra time on it. John MacArthur preached a two part sermon on the topic that really helped me. You can down load part 1 and part 2 free through

We also had a good time working through Eschatology (the doctrine of the end times). This too help to remind me and clarify what Scripture teaches regarding things like the rapture, tribulation, the second coming of Jesus, the 1,000 year physical Kingdom of God on the earth, judgment and the eternal state. Since the class is a survey of Major doctrines, we did not go too deep on the subject, but I believe that it was enough to wet everyone's appetites for further study, taught them the major terms, definitions and end time theological systems, while at the same time, I reenforced solid and consistent principles of how to interpret the Bible. The students also saw how greatly ones METHOD (and consistency) of interpreting the bible effects our understanding of God's Word, especially in Revelation and other end times passages.

Last Friday I began teaching a New Testament Survey class at Church of the Triumphant Christ (CTC). In the course of teaching the Gospel of Matthew, we came to a section where Jesus did a lot of healing. This brought up the question of weather or not healing gifts are for today? I will have to write more on that later, but for now I will say that we had a good discussion concerning why Jesus healed anyone in the first place and the authority to heal at will verses God healing through the prayers of believers when it is according to His will.

Tomorrow I leave for a 12 day trip to the U.S. for the Shepherd's Conference and the TMAI symposium. The symposium will meet at Calvary Bible Church in Burbank for two days. I will also take part in a mission conference there and share with a few of their Sunday School Classes about our ministry in the Philippines. As always I appreciate everyone's prayers and if your in California from March 2-16 I hope I can see you. Blessings.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boracay Preaching Module

This month we followed up last October's Biblical Interpretation module on the Philippine Island of Boracay with a second module. This time we taught and introduction to preaching. Thirty one men spent the week with guest professor Weymann Lee from Phoenix Arizona and myself for an intensive time studying and practicing preaching. Some of the pastors and leaders who joined us traveled some 5 hours by bus from the near by Island of Panay. We made the short hop from Manila to bring the training and materials to these dear brothers so that they don't have to relocate or stop their ministries.
The module started with a assign-
ment to assess the men's understanding of some key passages and to see how they interpret them. This was followed by a review of how to interpret the Bible and then proceeded with three more days of instruction on preaching. The week culminated with the men being divided into three groups to practice what they learned by preaching a short sermon from an assigned text. This also allowed us to coach their strengths and weaknesses. I was pleased at their interaction, good questions, and the progress that they made in the interpreting and proclaiming the Scriptures.
I'm back in Manila now, teaching four classes a week (one in partnership with BTCP) and mentoring a small group of pastors in their preaching and other ministries. Our plan is to return to Boracay again in May to start Old Testament Survey, but this time we want to have a family module. We will invite the pastors to bring their wives and children. The pastors will be taught OT Survey from 8am-noon on a Monday through Friday, while the wives will have seminars on marriage and family issues. Then everyone will be off to enjoy the beach till the evening. After dinner the men will continue OT survey on Mon-Wed-Friday and on Tuesday and Thursday nights the whole group will worship together and enjoy teaching from the Word on marriage and family. During the morning teaching times, we plan to have VBS type learning for the children as well. We have several graduates from the Master's Seminary to join us for the teaching, but we are still praying for a church or churches to join us by volunteering to help teach, care for the kids, and sponsors some of these families so that they can receive the training. We appreciate your prayers for the plans, preparation and resources for this ministry. Email me if you are interested or have some leads.