To the brethren of the International Assemblies of the Firstborn. Greetings in the marvelous name of Jesus!
The new year presents our assembly with a celebratory time at the annual convention as we come together for the 86th anniversary of our beloved organization. Incrementally, eighty-six may not be a monumental number, like eighty or ninety, but I am not certain that everyone within our assembly is aware that we are one of the oldest Filipino Christian organizations in America! We may have a sense of pride for our organization, but even more so are our grateful hearts for our Lord who is faithful and enabled us to thrive and prosper all these years—to God be the glory!
I am reminded that many of our members have served at their respective churches in various capacities, and some have willingly served at the assembly level, of which I am very appreciative. During these decades, our forerunners to present day leaders, have experienced the joys and victories in ministry but not without difficult times of discouragement and hardships. We have all witnessed decline in membership, spiritual burnout, failed relationships, overwhelming workload, and circumstances that bring discouragement, sorrow, pain and sometimes to the point where we may doubt our ability to go on…
Our convention theme is “PRESS ON” – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we must maintain our primary focus as we serve. “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—“. Yes, we have come a long way, endured many of the trials of ministry but God through the power of the Holy Ghost has empowered us to achieve greater levels within our organization- “…they will do even greater things than these…”. As I like to say, “We get to serve Him, what an incredible privilege!” When we come together this July, let us remember that we are aliens and foreigners in this world who will persevere because we know one day “with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”—-
Thank you to the convention committee as they have already begun to creatively plan ways to teach and equip us with tools and knowledge that will edify the Body of Christ in our assembly so we may all one day attain the prize.
May our Good Lord mightily bless you.
Gratefully in His service,
Reverend Ben Refuerzo
(Convention 2018 is July 18-21 at Bethany Christian Center, Stockton)