“Who do you say I am?”

Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

“Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.”

“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

“Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19, GNB)

“I believe that God does wanna take us deeper and He wants us to be reminded of who He is. And its easy in an environment like this — you can be in bible college, you can be in church forever, and you know a lot about God and you know who God is for a lot of other people. I believe that you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some revelation of Jesus but I think [that] sometimes, we have to remind ourselves who is Jesus to us, who is Jesus to me personally. Because it’s not enough to live your life around someone’s faith because sooner or later, you’re gonna find yourself denying Christ. You’re gonna find yourself like Peter was, ready to be martyred for his faith. At that moment, it’s not going to be somebody else’s faith that’s gonna keep you. It’s going to be your own revelation of Jesus. I challenge every single person {here} to ask yourself that question, ‘Jesus, who are you to me? Who do I say that you are?'”

- Joel Houston, from the video of Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (Acoustic) – Live at Elevate

Be the blessing! It’s cool being spiritual!

Sorry Is All It Takes

One day, God and Satan were having a conversation…

Satan: God, you’re really so unfair!

God: And why is that?

Satan: Look at these people. Everyday they sin against you. They hurt you each and every time. But once they’ve said sorry, you are quick to forgive them.

God: So what?

Satan: I only disobeyed and hurt you once. Just once! And yet you didn’t forgive me. That’s unfair!

God: Why? Did you ask me for forgiveness?

———————–

Just like in the Parable of the Lost/Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), as soon as the Son asked his Father for forgiveness, the Father instantly forgave his Son. Actually the Father already forgave his Son even before the Son spoke to his Father. Going home was the Son’s way of admitting he was wrong so as soon as the Father saw his Son, the Father forgave him at that very moment.

The Son probably knew that his Father will quickly forgive him once he comes home. The Son probably knew that he was already forgiven the moment his Father hugged and kissed him. Still, the Son decided to SAY he is sorry by admitting he has “sinned against heaven and against you”. He didn’t have to say he was sorry but he did anyway.

It’s not enough that we realized that we did something wrong. We should also admit by confessing that we did something wrong. It’s a way of humbling ourselves, putting ourselves at the mercy of other people, and allowing people to judge us. And if we are forgiven and accepted still even after the wrong things we have done, that means we are truly loved, for true love is unconditional. Being forgiven is like getting “I love you too” after you said “I love you”.

To end this blog, here is a song about The Prodigal Son entitled When God Ran by Phillips, Craig and Dean.

Hope of the World

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9; Praise to God for a Living Hope)

Lyrics:

[Verse 1]
For the love poured out, For the price of freedom
Let the whole earth sing, Hear the praises rising
We stand in awe of what you’ve done for us
At the cross

[Chorus]
The hope of the world, Lifted on high
Calling us home with arms out wide
To know You forever, To love You forever
You are our everything

[Verse 2]
Our sin erased, We’re forgiven
You made a way, You are our ransom
And we owe this life for all You’ve done for us
At the cross

[Bridge]
All we need is You

*from Hillsong Live’s “Cornerstone EP”. The full album will be released internationally on July 3, 2012.

God Means Victory!

The Anthem (by Planetshakers) has been my Victory Song since January.

Hallelujah! You have won the the victory! You have won it all for me!

It’s a short but very powerful song. It makes you want to raise your hands with clenched fists saying that “Yes! Finally! We got it! We are victorious!”. True enough, with God on our side, rest assured that you’ll be victorious in every challenge that you’ll face. God is an awesome God and He is very able. Nothing is impossible for Him.

 

Lyrics:

Hallelujah!
You have won the victory
Hallelujah!
You have won it all for me

Death could not hold you down
You are the risen king
Seated in majesty
You are the risen king

Leaders: Humility and Desire

I joined my ministry back in 2004. Just after my first year, I dreamt of holding every position there is in our ministry, and they are:  YLSS/YE Class Shepherd, Team Head, become one of the Tricord (now Pentacord), Pastoral Shepherd, YE Facilitator, and Working Team Head. These aren’t just titles to me. I really love my ministry and I really want to be very involved, and through those positions, I believe I could do more for the ministry. Out of all those positions, the only ones I wasn’t able to get was being one of the Tricord/Pentacord and one of the Working Team Heads. Compared to some, I have attained a lot. Not very many were fortunate enough to hold that much positions within the ministry. But even though I was able to hold those many positions, I can’t say I was a very effective and good leader. Thankfully, God used those experiences, even those failures to teach me a lot. Probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned came from the time I wanted to become one of the 12 Team Heads so bad.

Summer 2006, YLSS 8SP — I was called to serve as a Shepherd for that year’s YLSS. I know that after that YLSS, a new set of Team Heads will be selected and being part of the Pastoral Team would make me eligible to be selected as one of the incoming Team Heads. I wanted to be one of the Praise Team Heads. At that time, only one out of 2 slots is vacant for the Praise Team Head position. The ministry had already someone in mind but I personally believe that he wasn’t the right person for the position. So, nagpaka-bibo ako that time. I was a member of the Praise Team so I tried to show everyone how talented I am and how capable I am, that I was the right person for the job.

Fast-forward to July or August (can’t remember which exactly), I wasn’t chosen to be one of the new Team Heads. The person, who was everyone’s bet in becoming the next Praise Team Head got my dream position. I became bitter, jealous, and very disappointed. I became more jealous because 2 of my co-lambs became Team Heads as well. Iniyakan ko yun and I even thought of leaving the ministry just because of that.

“God doesn’t call those who are qualified. Rather, He qualifies those who are called.”

God knew that nagpaka-bibo lang ako just to show everyone that I’m the right person for the job. Not only I was very proud, it wasn’t the real me. I mean, God knew that I was just showing off and if I were actually given that position, I might not be able to do my job properly. That I didn’t really have the necessary skills, knowledge, wisdom, and experience to handle that position. But even if I was qualified, a good servant is not proud and with that I am no longer suitable to be a head. A good servant and leader is humble and I wasn’t that at that time. So I tried to get my act straight. I tried to understand why that had to happen and what was God’s plan for me. What was the silver lining? Just after about 2 months, one of the 12 Team Heads decided to leave. To my surprise, I was chosen to fill the slot and I was assigned to be one of the Intercessory Team Heads and that is where I served for 3 years before I got my dream position as a Team Head, the Praise Team Head.

When I became the Intercessory Team Head, I had no idea why I was assigned in that team. I wasn’t a good intercessor. I actually didn’t pray a lot. Again, I was reminded that “God qualifies those who are called”. Sure enough, even though I am more of a musician than an intercessor, I can honestly say that I’ve learned more and done more as an Intercessory Team Head than as a Praise Team Head. It was actually more fulfilling. And I think I was more successful as a leader when I was the Intercessory Team Head. I was able to develop and use my gift of Faith and Healing back when I was in that team. All I was able to develop when I was the Praise Team Head was my stubbornness, hot-headedness, and being very strict.

End of sharing.

My point is the moment you think and feel that you’re the right person for the job is the moment you become the wrong person for the job. It takes a lot of humility to be that close to God and to serve God in a bigger way. When much is given, more is required — more of God and less of you in yourself and life. You can’t be your normal self and have that only-a-member lifestyle when you become a leader. You need to leave your old self, become better and be a good example for everyone no matter how tough and frustrating that can be. Some leaders make their “being a leader” a year- (2 or more in some cases) long fasting.

Being a leader is never easy. It shouldn’t be easy because it requires a lot of hard work and discipline. But just because it ain’t easy doesn’t mean we should never want being a leader. Being a leader brings forth challenges, and these challenges, like problems in life, are needed to help us become better servants and persons. We should all desire to improve ourselves. We should all desire to have responsibilities. We should all desire to become leaders.

Be The Miracle

God: The wonderful thing–no matter how filthy something gets, you could always clean it right up.

Bruce: There were so many. I just gave them all what they wanted.

God: Yeah. But since when does anyone have a clue about what they want?

Bruce: So what do I do?

God: Parting your suit is not a miracle, Bruce. That’s a magic trick. A single mom who’s working two jobs and still finds time to take her kids to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says no to drugs and yes to education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. What they don’t realize is they have the power. You wanna see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.

Bruce: Wait. Are you leaving?God: Yeah. I figure you can handle things now.

Bruce: What if I need you? What if I have questions?

God: That’s your problem, Bruce. That’s everybody’s problem. You keep looking up!

[from the movie Bruce Almighty (2003)]

Pain Leads To Happiness

My fingers are sore from playing the cajon today at our worship service, but it’s worth it. =)

Pain may cause happiness.

Even though having sore fingers are a bit painful, it makes me happy knowing that this pain was brought by serving the Lord through music.

Today, at our ministry’s PWA (Post-Worship Activity), we talked about how the cross was a sign of pain, suffering, punishment,  and disgrace years ago. Through Christ, that meaning changed. Now, the cross is a symbol of the Christian faith, hope, love, discipline, patience. Through Christ’s suffering, we are now free and can have a happier life, with God of course.

Serving God, you’ll go through a lot of challenges. These challenges are very difficult and they only become more and more difficult everytime you surpass one. It’s God’s way of molding us. These challenges may often cause pain and suffering and, in the end, all of it is nothing compared to the joy or reward after we overcome those challenges.

Instead of running away from the pain and/or letting it eat you up inside, we should embrace it, just like Jesus did when He held that cross. He embraced it, accepted it, and understood why it had to happen.

These sore fingers are not the only pains in my life right now. I’m accepting every pain little by little, trying to understand why it had to happen, what good thing can I get or learn from all of it, and use it to make myself better.

So carry your cross, own it, embrace it, learn from it. I’m sure the pain is all worth it in the end. =)

God’s Presence With Us

March 17, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby

“God is under no obligation to save us from the adversity we consequently encounter, especially if we have brought it on ourselves.”

I guess that’s the answer to my question why God isn’t helping me at all, why I deserve all this. I brought this on myself.

Blink of An Eye

March 11, 2012
Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19:8-11, 1 Corinthians 1:22-25, John 2:13-25

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” – John 2:19

This verse got me thinking: If it only took Jesus three days to come back to life, how long would it take Him to do things that are much simpler? I related death to change, because death is probably the greatest and most permanent change. But what if we wanted to change our personality, our lifestyle, our habits, how long would it take us to do it?

I forgot where I got this but it says, “Every second is a chance to change and choose.” We don’t need a day, a month, or a year to change. We don’t need to wait for New Year to change. For us Catholics, we can change even before we have our confession. We don’t do confession because it marks the beginning of the change will go through. Rather, we go to confession because we already started that change and, through confession, we want to get rid of all that is not good, things that would not benefit us during that change.

If it only took Jesus three days to come raise from the dead, it would take Him probably a blink of an eye if He wanted to change something in Himself. I even think that a blink of an eye is still too long for Him. By the way, it takes about 150 milliseconds to blink. But we don’t need to be like Jesus to be able to change that fast. We don’t need to be a God to be capable of change. Jesus was more of a man than a God, to show us that we, as man, are also capable of such feats. We can also change that quickly…if we really desire it.

I guess what takes so long is thinking about changing. We are afraid of what might happen if we change. We worry about the things that we would be letting go of. For some, they’re afraid of the whole idea of change. But as soon as we learn to accept all of those, as soon as we’ve really decided that we desire (not just want or need) change, change will come naturally and it happens very fast. And if we made the right choice and the right kind of change, we need not wait long to get our “rewards”. It also happens in a blink of an eye.

So if you desire change right now, don’t wait for a sign, don’t wait for a new year, don’t wait for something bad to happen first before you make that change. You can do it NOW! Change is often good! And to end this blog, I will quote the tweet that inspired the title and idea of this entry:

“Funny how things can just change in the blink of an eye.” – Chlara Magtultol