That’s My Church!

In January, my friend Mr. Charlie Sickles traveled to the Philippines to visit schools and churches he and his wife (Ms. Melba) planted years ago. Fruitful Harvest International Ministries (, started by our friends Charlie and Ms. Melba in 1991, is a God-honoring mission. They provide and support food pantries, prison ministries, international missions and schools, and churches. Their global Bible schools train hundreds of young Christians how to teach Christ and represent His redeeming love to others.

During his trip, Pastor Charlie shared photos of different places and people he met using Facebook. Each day, I viewed his posts to try and see “my church.” No, it isn’t called “JD’s Church”; because it’s Christ’s church. Its real name is New Hope Baptist Church. Named after the little country church where my wife and I attend. Our church funded its construction following a 2014 tsunami. We are faithful servants, supporting it through Fruitful Harvest International each month.

When I saw it one morning, with Pastors Orland Ungang and Charlie Sickles standing in the doorway (photo above), I was overjoyed. Not by the extravagance of the building, but the joy found in the faces of its people. Something Christians forget from time to time is that we are Christ’s church. We are His bride in waiting (Ephesians 5:22-33, Revelation 19:7). When the world sees Jesus Christ today, it does so through us.

I wonder if God has occasion to look down and exclaim “Look! That’s My Church.” Do we give Him reasons to be proud of us by the way we conduct our lives? As His dear children, we should endeavor to always reflect His perfect love, grace, and mercy in our lives. By learning His word and applying it to our lives, we are transformed from the inside out to become like Christ. As we undergo these changes, our thoughts and actions should reflect more the Christian person we are becoming and less the worldly person we were before our salvation.

In the years since New Hope Baptist Church in the Philippines started, they added a room for the pastor to study and live, replaced flimsy, backless benches with plastic chairs for those attending, and added fans for cooling. Most importantly, I’ve prayed and watched Pastor Orland and the church grow. In four years, New Hope has doubled the size of the congregation and my young pastor and friend has improved his ability to learn and share the word of God. With each change I see, I am overjoyed with how God’s kingdom is growing as His bride becomes more beautiful with each day.

Like the little church in Surigao, Philippines, Christ’s bride (His church) is not ornate, shiny, and polished―although it will be one day. It is, however, filled with people who are working toward this goal on the inside. For some, like me, that may require a lot more changing than others. What I am confident of is that God is patient as He works His plan to perfect and use me (Philippians 3:12). With each passing year, I pray God sees more and more of His Son in me. For when God sees me, the world sees God.

Do we give God reasons to be glorified in the way we conduct our lives? Share on X

As you move through this week, I pray you remember how each word you speak, action you take, and decision you make, represents God.

God’s blessings…

12 thoughts on “That’s My Church!”

  1. A good reminder to me at the end, Jim. Each day, I need to begin with that thought/prayer.

    I too am thrilled when I see churches planted on mission fields, seeing pastors studying the Word, preaching, and people worshiping. I’m eager to visit just such a one of these in Malawi in April. And believers are instant brothers/sisters no matter where on this planet they may life.

    1. Ms. Jackie. You inspire me to look more into the missions field. My eldest brother led the missions in the far east for many years, based in Taiwan. Have been offered an opportunity to go to the Philippines, but I’m not going until God leads me. For now, writing about it is where I’m led from time to time. I think perhaps one of the biggest challenges we face as Christians is figuring out where we belong in the body of Christ, and learning to do what He directs, not what we think we want. God’s blessings ma’am as you follow God’s calling in your life.

  2. Loved your story, J.D. What an awesome way to honor God–founding a church. Of course, as you say, it’s God’s church, but your heart is there. You’ve given us a challenge this week, “Remember how each word you speak, action you take, and decision you make, represents God.” Yes, every moment of every day–we need to remember who we are–His children. Thanks for the blessing.

    1. You are so very kind Ms. Katherine. Like you ma’am, I am just blessed to be one of His children; trying to do be the best student of grace I can. It’s when we all come together, in His love, grace, and mercy-to do His will-that we make a profound difference in this world. Am so honored to stand together with wonderful Christian people like you and these young people in the Philippines to proclaim His glory.

  3. I’m always excited to see all the great things that God is doing in the world. Even some of the most humble things here can bring great glory to God if we let them. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. J.D. —This post made me smile from ear to ear! Even though I have never met you, you are my brother in Christ (thrilled I’ve met you with technology).WE are part of the family of God. Together we write stories of hope. I like to call us TEAM JESUS. We cheer for each other and celebrate messages like you have shared today.
    This is my favorite line: “Something Christians forget from time to time is that we are Christ’s church. We are His bride in waiting.”
    Well, thanks for reminding us!
    Blessings to you, your friends the Sickles, and New Hope Church in the Philippines <3

    1. Am humbled by your words Ms. Beckie. I refer to us as my “Family of Faith.” Am sure honored to have a little sister like you to help me navigate this life. What a blessing you are my sweet friend. Pastor Charlie and his wife Ms. Melba will be at our little New Hope church here in TX the end of the month. Can’t wait to share some praise with them.

  5. What a great inspirational story! And yes, we can lose sight of what being “His church” really means.

    1. Thank You Ms. Kelly! We can sometimes lose sight of what’s important in our lives and who we claim to be. I like how when that starts to happen, the Holy Spirit will give me a “spiritual nudge.” I just hope I don’t ignore until it turns into a “shove.” 🙂

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