“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!

Inspire Me

originally posted on Facebook, November 28, 2010

“To be the best of [what] I can be and to do everything I should do the best way I can,” is what this person said. I asked myself, am I the best that I can be? Have I done everything I could? Did I tried my best in everything?

The first thing that came into my head was the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30), where the master gave favor to those who invested their talents and gave back more than what they borrowed. This life , our soul and spirit, that we have is borrowed from God and someday we our bound to return it to Him. But what would we answer to Him if he asks, “Did you use it/live your life well? Did you live up to your potential?” I don’t want to be like the servant who just played it safe, kept the talent in fear of losing it, at gave it back the way it was to the master.

“And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth..” (Matt 25:30). If not living my life well meant eternal suffering or hell, I should think twice when I play things safe, hesitate, become lazy, and/or give up. God placed me in this world to experience life, the good and bad in it, to love God, to love others, to succeed, to be happy, and to have one heck of a rollercoaster ride so that I could tell God one amazing story about my life. It’s a win-win situation for me and God.

I also remembered this part in the movie Bucket List, where Morgan Freeman said the Egyptians believe that when they die, their gods will ask them two questions that will determine if they’ll entire paradise or not. They are: 1) Where you happy with your life, and 2) Did you used your life to make others happy.

Are we really happy with our current situation? Are we a blessing and/or a miracle to others? Did we do something about that thought or let it remain forever as a thought?

There are a lot of things that could inspire us or be an incentive in this world – love, money, significant others, family, friends, success, fame and fortune, hopes and dreams, our past failures. The list is endless. But only one thing is important, would any of those help us in answering God when He finally asks us that question, “How was your life?”

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Be the blessing! It’s cool being spiritual!

20131009: Vision and Faith

“Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3

It started about two weeks ago, September 27 to be exact, when I decided to start doing this devotion. I read this Facebook status and thought that maybe God is the only person who could give me that thing I want. I started praying again, not those “popcorn prayer” type but the lengthy, conversational type. I read daily readings from the Bible. I went to attend Mass everyday. It was all good, or so I thought.

The very next day, I felt so gloomy for no apparent reason so I asked God why. After talking to God, I realized that I was doing this devotion all for the wrong reasons. I am seeking God because I want something from Him. Yes, God is a god who provides but I must seek the Giver first before anything else. I should forget about why I am doing this devotion and do it because I cannot not do it.

Habakkuk reminded me that it is only a matter of time before my vision, my goals, my dreams becomes reality. God is doing his thing into make all that happen. I have to be patient. I’ve been unemployed now for 5 months. Originally, it was supposed to be just 2 months to become “healthier” and then I would start working again, but I guess God had other plans. Right now, I have to believe that God is setting everything up for my big comeback in the worklife. I need to be patient. I need to be faithful. And for all of these things that God is doing for me, he deserves more from me. I need to devote more time and effort for Him. I’m not preoccupied with anything so I should be able to give Him all that and more.

Father God, I am sorry for failing you for these past few days. I know you deserve more from me and I will try to do and give you more. I know that you have something great planned for me. I just need to be patient and then one day, you will give me all the opportunities that I need where I could shine and do the things that I love. You are the great Provider and everything I ask in your name will be mine. I will be faithful to your promise. I will trust in you. All these I pray in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

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Be the blessing! It’s cool being spiritual!

Undisturbed

Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow.
Amen.

-Author unkown

——-

They said that we should be worried when we dont have problems in our lives. It means that we are not being challenged, molded, tested to be better versions of ourselves; to be more of what God has planned us to be.

Last Wednesday, me and my friends from the Singles Ministry had our Word Sharing Circle (WSC) and my sharing was about how lately, I feel like not coming to these WSCs because I feel like I dont have anything to share. On these WSCs, more often than not, the things that we share are our current struggles and lately, I dont have any of those. I dont have problems.

I lack disturbance. I feel like nothing’s happening in my life right now. Being unemployed, I have nothing much to do. Doing nothing means having nothing to be happy or sad about, nothing to worry about, nothing to think about. I want to cry for crying means I’m dealing with something painful. I desire pain because it makes me feel alive and no, i wont hurt myself just to feel pain.

Ironic enough, my problem is about having no problems. I dont know how to explain what I’m currently feeling right now, what I need, what I desire to feel. I know God does. I just pray that if He does disturb me, dont let it be about my family. Anything else but my family.

Sing (Your Love)

Young adults have it rough. Working is hard. Some of us have to be apart from our family for 5-6days a week, some even 1-2 weeks, months, a year or 2. We are supposed to be independent – live on our own. Some of us are the bread winners of the family, and that’s a lot of pressure. We have parents to provide for. We pay for a sibling, relative, or godchild’s education. Earning money is really hard. We make sacrifices to earn and save up more money to be able to give more to our family and save up for our future. But no matter how much we earn and save, it seems like it’s never enough.

Everything is so tiring and stressful. So we find ways to make it all bearable through parties, drinking, hang out with friends. We buy ourselves gadgets, expensive clothes, equipment but none of those could fill the emptiness that we have. None of it could give us true happiness, until that one summer…

Singles Encounter Weekend they call it. A 3-day retreat. At first we thought what have we gotten ourselves into. Sitting there with 23 strangers, with facis teaching you about community and God, a bunch of strangers trying to make you dance when clearly you don’t dance – it’s all very daunting. But on the third day, everything has changed. Now you thought, “why didn’t I know of this sooner? I should have attended this a long time ago.” Those 23 other people have suddenly become some of your closest and trusted friends in just 3-days. Those facis were a lot of fun and you even thought of becoming one someday. Those bunch of people trying to make you dance would become your buddies and besties. And never would you have imagined that you would be the one trying to make a complete stranger dance year later. It was the best weekend you’ve had in years.

And a few months later, this Life in the Spirit Seminar – wow. On that night of the Baptism, as you lay there on the floor, you never thought you could ever be this peaceful. You feel so warm despite the coldness of the floor and the room. Some of you cried so hard that time but it wasn’t because you were sad. It’s because everything was so overwhelming – you never thought that someone could love you despite your flaws and imperfections. You cried because you were so happy to feel this loved, and finally you’ve found that one thing, a person rather, that would make you forever happy.

Right now Lord, I’m so thankful for it wasn’t for You, I wouldn’t be here right now, in this place, having the privilege to serve you, to worship You, to bask in Your greatness and glory. I was once lost but now I’m found. I was blind but now I see. I was weak but You’ve given me strength. I was broken but You’ve made me whole. I was unhappy and now have found eternal joy in You. You have done so much for me and all I could offer to You right know is this simple song. I will forever sing of Your love for me. I will forever sing of how much I love You. And nothing, nothing in this world could ever take that away. No height, no depth, neither life nor death could ever separate me from You. I’ll give my life for You Lord for all the things You’ve done for me.

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?

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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.

God’s Authority

“Do not grow discouraged if a situation exceeds your competence & resources. At issue is your belief. Do you trust that Christ is able & willing to use your life to accomplish His work? When God sets an assignment before you, what you do next reveals what you believe about Him.”

April 11, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby