Tag Archives: church

Attend, Serve, Hear – Then What?

Just this Sunday, I went home to Bacolod to spend time with my family before I leave the country.  It was very timely also as we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. Days before that, she requested us if we can have a Bible study at home when I arrive. I was okay with it as I took it as an opportunity also.

Few days before I went home, I had the privilege to volunteer and help for the “Unshakable” Conference which was held in Christ’s Commission Fellowship. The speakers were Krish Dhanam, Nabeel Qureshi and Ravi Zacharias. There were also other guests who came who are part of the RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).

Being part of the speakers’ care team, I had the chance to pick up some of the guests from RZIM at the airport and had conversations with them, knowing a bit about them – what they do, where they’re from, etc.  I must say, it was an interesting and meaningful experience. I could see how God uses ordinary people to do His work.

On the event day, while still helping out in the care team, I was blessed that I could still attend and hear the messages of all speakers. And I’m really glad that I did. I believed God wanted me to have the right perspective and heart as I respond to what He would require from me.

What do I mean by that?

My mom joined a religious group which became known because of a t.v. program wherein their leader answers all questions of the viewers by quoting different verses in the Bible. That Bible study I mentioned was conducted by a worker from that group . I agreed with it because I wanted to know first-hand what they believe in and what they teach.  It was a tempting opportunity to debate and argue but just like what I learned from the conference, we must do everything in LOVE.

During the Bible study, I made some notes on the verses they share and the words they speak. I also asked questions just to probe and get more understanding on what they believe in. While listening, my heart really broke and is still breaking. I am saddened of what I heard. I realized how much they truly need to experience the love and grace of God.

I remembered the very words of Dr. Ravi, “If you want to defend your faith, you have to work hard.” For me to be able to share to my mom the truth of God’s Word, I have to do my own homework as well. I have to be more diligent in studying God’s Word, be more prayerful and to just continue showing love.

Paul’s instruction is also an encouragement knowing that only God can truly change the hearts of people.

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

After that Bible study, my eyes were more widely opened on the so-called “urgency”. The devil is working double time in deceiving a lot of people to confuse them by twisting the truth. I realize I just can’t sit and stay sad for them. I must also put a lot of effort to double time in prayer and in sharing God’s love and His Word to others.

This is when the “Then What?” comes in. God does not want us to remain the same after attending series of events or conferences about Him. It’s not just an additional experience or another check in our bucket list. I was suppose to go home on the 17th of May but because the flight was more expensive than the 18th, I took the next day flight. I would have missed the conference but God knew I needed to hear His message.  I know I wasn’t just there to merely hear and feel good and be blessed. God wanted me to hear and apply what I learned.

At the last part of Dr. Ravi’s message, he asked to come forward those who wanted to make a commitment in responding to God’s cause. I just stayed in my place and when Ptr. Peter started praying, I cried. God reminded me that everything that will happen in my future will never be about me. I cried because I got scared that I might fail God. What if I won’t be able to do what He will ask me to do?

I can only pray that God will make me “usable”. Just like what one of the speakers said, that instead of praying that God would use us, pray that God would make us usable. I know I can never accomplish anything until I let God make me the person that He could use for His work.

These are my take home points during the conference. These points reminded me that we don’t live just for ourselves, we live for God and His cause.

– Steer away from things that don’t matter.

– Keep the main thing the main thing.

– You are needed where God puts you.

– Bring into the light your shameful past and see how God will use it.

– A calling is a convergence of your capabilities, convictions, affirmations and opportunities.

– Be careful in choosing your role models.

– If you are a prayerful Christian, your faith will carry you. If not, you will have to carry your faith.

– As you know the truth, take time to know also the worldview on things.

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Speakers’ Care Team

ravi

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – Jesus (John 14:15)

 

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It’s Not Complicated

 

In my Bible reading, I’m now in the chapters of the Book of Exodus when God gave instruction to Moses in building the tabernacle, altar, etc. You know all the details and measurements. Every time I read these chapters, I’m always reminded of how God cares even to the smallest details. He was very specific of the color, size and length and materials to be used. The small details mattered to Him. Another thing I’m also reminded of, God is not complicated. When He gave the instruction to Moses, it was direct and complete, no guessing games or whatsoever.

As I reflect of who God is also in my life, He is also the same. He cares for the smallest details in my life. I remembered when I was trying to catch the last bus trip and I was still in the train. With my estimate, I know I will miss the bus but I asked for a little miracle from God. I made it to the last trip. I realized God cared for my transportation going home. There have been a lot of instances in my life that I never thought would matter to God, but every time I whisper a prayer, He would give me those little miracles which made me love God more. Indeed, He is also into the small details of our life.

If there’s such thing as “It’s Complicated” status in Facebook, with God, nothing is complicated. How He gave instruction to Moses, everything was laid out. Moses did not need to figure out what God was trying to say to Him. God gave all the details for Moses to execute. In my journey with God, He has shown the same. His yes is a clear yes and no a clear no. We sometimes think that God’s plan for us is something that we need to figure out or it’s a mystery. As I learn to totally trust Him, I realized that there is nothing to figure out. All we really need to do is to trust and obey. God gives answers in the proper time. And when He answers, it is always clear.

Last week, I became impatient with God. He asked me to resign last year and I thought that He would let me work full time in my church. The first position I applied, I was not selected. Another position was offered to me, I got excited and I thought this was what God really planned for me. Then, I was told last week that the start date was uncertain due to change of priorities.  I felt sad and cried. I was being a brat with God asking what He really wanted me to do. God was giving me a clear “No”. Twice. Very clear, right? And so, I conceded.

But God does not give us a “No” answer for no reason at all. Last Saturday, I received the email that I have been waiting for a long time. It was for my PR application in Canada, the immigration is requesting for my passport so that they could give me my visa. This was something I prayed to God and deeply asked Him not to give me a “No”.  And indeed, He did not! My application got approved! 🙂 And now, everything is making sense!

His No to me is a Yes to what is best for me and for His work for the church. God is not complicated. We are the ones making it complicated because of our impatience and lack of faith.

“God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

[Persevering] Day 5: Sins No More

Reading: Psalm 40:11-12

You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me;                                                                     Your loving-kindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
For evils beyond number have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see;
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head,
And my heart has failed me.

 Reflection: 

Failures, mistakes, wrong choices, bad decisions – all of us are not excused from all of these. But we don’t have to continue living a life full of these. Not that life will be perfect and we will never make mistakes, but it will be a life with less.

God has promised forgiveness once we have received Jesus in our life. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”. (Hebrews 10:17) And aside from the gift of salvation and eternal life, God has given us a Helper, a Counselor – the Holy Spirit. Once you start having a serious walk with the Lord, your life will never remain the same. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The role of the Holy Spirit is to help us each day to choose and obey God as our response of our love for Him, that we may become a new person.  “For Christ’s love compels us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). The love of God is just irresistible not to love Him back.

God’s love and compassion is unconditional and endless. He is patient with you as you desire to become better.  You just have to depend on the Holy Spirit and listen as He convicts your heart when you are about to make wrong decisions. And as we desire a deeper relationship with Jesus, we also have to do our part to get to know Him more.

Here are the things that we need to start including in our day to day walk with the Lord.

1. Pray – This is our way of communicating to God. Our prayers need not be memorized or repetitive. You just have to pour out what’s in your heart to God. A format you can follow is the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Or, you can also do this simple format as you are just starting to learn how to pray (ACTS). Eventually, you can speak from your heart whatever the Holy Spirit is leading you.

  • Adoration – acknowledging who God is and giving Him praise (loving, kind,                               forgiving, etc.)
  • Contrition – confessing to God your sins and asking Him for forgiveness and to                       help you repent
  • Thanksgiving – giving thanks to God for everything that He has done for you
  • Petition – asking God for your daily need, protection and for other people

Every end of the prayer, we always say, “This we ask (or pray) in Jesus’ Name.” As Jesus said in the Bible, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14) 

 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. (1 Timothy 2:5)

2. Read the Bible – If we talk to God through prayer, God talks to us through His Word – the Bible. As you start your day in prayer, it would also be nice to start your day hearing what God has to say to you for that day. You can read the Book of Psalms for your morning quiet time and you can start with the Book of John as you learn more about Jesus. Just like in any battle, the Word of God is our weapon for any temptation that would come along our way for that day. It would also be nice if you have a journal notebook where you can write what God has been speaking to you for that day.

3. Be part of a community. God created us not to be alone. We are made for relationships. It is important that we also become a part of a community that shares the same belief. One way of being a part of is to be a part of a small group or a Bible study group. This way, you can also learn from others, pray for each other and be an encouragement for one another. You will realize that you are not alone in the journey that you are going through.  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)   

Are you excited with this journey with the Lord? You can pray like this as you start on with this journey.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are so loving and full of compassion. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness that you will remember my sins no more because of Jesus. Thank you for giving me another chance to become better as a person. Help me to become more dependent on the Holy Spirit as He leads me to do the right things. I am excited as I desire to know and love Jesus more. I ask that you would strengthen me each day, that I will always have time for prayer and reading of the Bible. I ask also Lord that you would bring me to a group of people who shares the same love for You. From this day on, I entrust my spiritual journey with you. This I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Song:

Now That You’re Near by Hillsong

All HIS Leadership Conference

Every third week of January, the congregation (Christ’s Commission Fellowship) holds a leadership conference for all leaders of the church – these are not just the pastors, elders, ministry heads but also small group leaders as well as those who want to start their own small groups.

Last January 24-25, it was a privilege to be able to participate in the leadership conference entitled, “All HIS”. This is also the theme of the church for the year reminding us that everything we have belongs to God and we must be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us.

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There were so many good things to take in and apply during the conference and I want to share some of the points which really spoke to me.

  • The evidence that you love God is when you do your best for Him.
  • God doesn’t need me to exist but God decided to need me to “co-exist”.
  • We were created to be in partnership with God for His work.
  • Our unbelief limits God to accomplish things through us because we are in partnership with Him.
  • Leave your goals, ambitions, dreams in that workplace for God to be able to use you. (Because of our own personal dreams, we do things for ourselves only that we hinder God to use us where He has placed us.)
  • There’s a reality that we “stereotype” people whom we can share the gospel with. (We think that there are people who are gospel-ready and there are those who are not. When the truth is, everyone should come to know Jesus.)
  • Organize your finances: 1) Get out of debt 2)Don’t manipulate (how much you need) 3)Give
  • Tithing is not giving; it is returning what belongs to God in the first place. (In the Bible, “give” tithe was never used. It’s always been using the word “bring”.)
  • Giving is what is over and beyond your tithe.
  • Mistakes: 1) Haven’t rested enough 2) Haven’t prayed enough 3) Haven’t studied the Bible enough 4) Haven’t trained enough 5) Haven’t lead my family enough
  • About resting – If you don’t keep commandments 1-3, 5-10 – there are consequences. What made you think that by not keeping commandment 4 – Keep holy the Sabbath, there won’t be consequences?
  • For leaders: walk – character, work – ministry
  • If you focus on people, you will stumble. Focus on God.
  • I am a “slave” of Christ. (owned, no rights, absolute obedience)
  • Serve – We can serve without loving God but we can’t love God without serving others.
  • The Principle of First – Return to God what belongs to Him.
  • We are stewards of:  Time, Talent, Treasure, Title, Influence, Relationships, Opportunities
  • We are also stewards of God’s Truth. We are responsible to share the gospel.

My action points for this conference are:

–          To be a good steward of God’s truth – share God’s love and the gospel to as many as possible

–          To be a good steward of my time, talent, influence and finances – maximize my time for the Lord and to organize my finances

–          To share God more to my family – in love, in truth, in words and actions

–          To be a better small group leader – deeper study of God’s Word, evangelism and multiplication

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”― John Wesley

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ – Matthew 25:23

cross Every color represents specific aspect in life that you want to surrender to God. At the end of the conference, all the boards with stickers were put together and formed into a cross

collageAttended the conference with my disciple, Anne

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“I am all HIS!” – Pepay

God Is, Even When We Are Not

My parents taught us about God, going to church every Sunday, praying and other church stuff. I grew up with a knowledge of God. Until 10 years ago, I realized that wasn’t enough. 

As I read God’s Word, I realized that God is not just a “someone” that we have to learn in our Religion subject.  I realized that God is not just present when I go to a church building. I realized that doing church activities is not just what God really wants from me.

God, more than anyone else, is the most important. How important our family is to us, God is more. How important our friends are to us, God is more. God who created the universe that we can’t even imagine, who designed us in our mother’s womb that we can’t even fathom. This God, who after all, what He really wants is just for us to love Him first before anyone or anything. This God, who is Almighty and Powerful, after all, what He really wants is just for us to know and honor Him. This God, who after all, what He really desires is we go back to Him.

In 1993, my father lost his job in Cebu as the company he was working at that time shut down. I was very young back then, I really didn’t understand what was going on. I just knew then that we would move to Bacolod City as my father found a job in Negros Occidental. God provided for my family – a job, a home, a school. God was faithful even when sometimes we failed to honor Him.

In 1997, we got robbed inside our house. A lot of our relatives from abroad came home because of my grandfather’s funeral. My siblings and I all slept in the living room and it was a good thing no one woke up during that time. God protected us from those men. God was faithful even when we forgot Him at times.

In 2001, the portion of my grandparent’s house where we stayed got burned. The whole second floor were our room and my parent’s room where were turned into ashes. It was a nightmare as I saw the fire rapidly eating the whole floor. But, I was grateful that none of us got hurt. I was glad that my brother who was in my parent’s room sensed the fire and was able to get out. God kept us all safe. God was faithful even when we fail to make time for Him.

In 2006, this was a very painful year for us as a family. My mother was going in and out of the hospital for a month because of family issues that affected her health. Everyone in the family was coping on how to handle such painful family matter. And the most unexpected happened, my sister passed away because of hemorrhagic dengue fever.  During this time, it was only God who could truly see and understand the depth of our pain. God was our comforter. God was faithful even when we neglected Him sometimes.

In 2014, just this month, my father got into an accident which caused him to have his left hipbone dislocated. I was telling God how funny it could be, that if He allowed this to happen why not before I resigned from my work. My HMO could have covered the hospital bills of my father. But, I am grateful that my father is okay and the operations performed to him was just to align his hipbone and a minor surgery for his fractured ankle. This was an unexpected expense for us but God provided for our needs. And I know that He is at work at my father’s life that He allowed this. I’m grateful for this trial in Papa’s life. God is faithful even when we lack faith in Him and doubt Him at times.

These were not just the trials that God allowed to happen in my life, in our lives as a family. There were a lot. But these I highlighted are the ones I can clearly look back and be amazed of  how GOOD God really is. It brings me to tears every time I remember His faithfulness and goodness to our family despite the times that we continue to disobey Him and even ignore Him. He remained faithful and He got us through all of those.

You see, more than our good works, good performance, good looks – God wants a relationship with us through Jesus. Like a father to a child, that’s what He wants from us. Even if we forget Him, He has always been there, waiting for His children to come back, to the point of giving up His Only Son, Jesus. That’s how much God loves us.

Life is difficult.

Life is more difficult without Jesus whom through Him we can go back to God.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39

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One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than  these.” – Mark 12:28-31

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Certain Uncertainties

August 8, 2005 will always be an unforgettable date. That’s when God opened the doors of the corporate world for me being a fresh graduate. The job hunting days were filled with buckets of tears and sweat that I never wanted to go through again.

December 31, 2013 is another date to remember. That’s when God closed that door, for how long? I’m not really sure.

I get different responses and reactions from people who learned that I was leaving my work of more than 8 years. They saw how I’ve greatly experienced different forms of blessings through my work that it seems to be a waste to just leave like that.

But, I totally understand these kind of responses. To be able to find a new job is never easier than leaving the current one.

However, I had to leave. Why? Because God said so…

A full time ministry work opened three months ago which I felt was an answered prayer of my desire of doing full time work for the church. With much prayer, I applied. A month after, I decided to submit my resignation even without the certainty that I’ll get the full time work. God gave me peace for my decision. The timing of events for my application was God’s way of affirming me that I did the right thing.

As I went through the last few steps of my application, I was having the confidence that I’m already in.  I just had to wait on the next final steps.

December 27, Friday was my last day in the company since the rest of the days of the month were holidays. As I was returning all company assets, I felt God telling me “I just want you out from there.”  I took it as it is, didn’t bother to even ask what He meant by it.

That Friday night, I checked my personal emails and got an update for my ministry application. They did not select me for the position.

My first reaction – I laughed. I felt like I got “punked” or something. Seriously, the news had to break on my last day?!

I realized God made things happen to push me to a decision that I will not waver. I thought I got everything figured out after I resign. However, God has a very different plan in mind. He just used that situation to get me out of there. Who am I to complain and question? God brought me to that world in the first place. He can always take me out from that world however and whenever He wanted to.

I felt sad with the result of my application. But it made me more excited of God’s amazing plan for my life. Right now, the only thing I’m certain about is the uncertainties in my life. I just have to live each day by faith – much deeper faith.

As I went through this journey, I got reminded that my life is indeed not about me. My life has always been about God and what He can do through me. He is the one who enabled me to go through this journey and He will be the one who will get the glory for how this journey will turn out to be.

God never wanted us to live by what our eyes can only see or our mind can only comprehend. He always wanted us to live by faith on Him.

 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:7 

 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree,‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”  Luke 17:5-6

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