“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!

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!

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

My Name is My Purpose

My reflection/sharing is sort based on the March 8 entry in the devotional entitled Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby where it mentioned Jesus’ other name Emmanuel.

Nowadays, most parents pretty much name their babies whatever they want. But many, many years ago, like during the Biblical times, parents name their babies according to their would-be purpose in life or perhaps a characteristic they want their babies to possess. Sometimes, even if they are already adults, they change their names that would best describe their purpose in life. For example, Simon who was later on named Peter or Cephas meaning The Rock (John 1:42).

I was born on December 27, two days after Christmas which is the birth of Christ. Since Emmanuel is one of Jesus’ names, my parents gave me the name Emmanuel. Emmanuel means God is with us (Matthew 1:23).

I really didn’t care much about my name or its meaning. I actually didn’t know about the meaning of my name until high school when our English teacher told me what it meant and how she loves my name. I also felt envious of my brothers because they have longer names: one is Rafael Andrew and the other is Angelo Miguel. But when college came and after I joined my ministry, I started taking my name a bit seriously. I’m not God. I’m no saint. I’m not perfect. But I want to be someone God could use to help other people, to show that God really exists. Just like what I’ve said in my previous blog, we already have the qualities that God and Jesus have. If we ask God for a miracle and nothing happens, it means it is up to us to make that miracle come true. We should “be the miracle” just like Bruce said in the movie Bruce Almighty (2003). Being named Emmanuel, I wanted to be someone’s miracle.

I always want to help. I always want to know the problems of other people and help in anyway I can. I feel useless if I can’t help them. Sometimes, this desire to help often got me into trouble. My friends would get annoyed because I will keep on asking them what the problems because they don’t want to tell me. Some problems are also not my concern. I’ve learned that, sometimes, the best way to help is to not help at all. But there are also those times when I’d get “lucky”, that someone would need my help and my advice. Sometimes, God will bring me to that person or He will bring that person to me. Actually, I’m not that capable or skilled to help others, and I sometimes give crappy advice. I’ve learned that I am much more help and give better advice when I have a better relationship with God. These skills and wisdom are gifts from Him after all. Just like any gift or “power”, it needs a source of energy and God is my source and He also has the switch that turns on those powers.

When those lucky days do come and after I am able to help someone, I always thank God for letting me help them. I know I couldn’t have done it without Him. It makes me happy to see other people happy. Sometimes, even when I have my own problems, I’d rather share other people’s problems instead and help them solve it so I could forget about my problems. And I need not worry about these getting into my head. I think that me having self-esteem issues is a my choice. My self-esteem issues keeps me from being proud and overconfident.

Anyway, this is how I see myself and how I am fulfilling my purpose for being named Emmanuel. I hope this gives people an idea of who I am and why I am doing this blog–to help and inspire people. So if you need help, you can always ask me. I’m no Jesus Christ but I’ll try my best to help you in any way I can. I could try to be your miracle. You should try to be someone’s too, even if your name is not Emmanuel. It doesn’t have to be anyway. =)

PS.

This is a song from Hillsong’s Live Praise & Worship album Your Are My World (2001). This song is entitled Emmanuel. An oldie but goodie. Hope you guys enjoy it. =)

Problems: It’s A Good thing

Just as God prepared Esther, He is preparing you for His next assignment for you. Each step of faithfulness prepares you for what awaits. God will use your current circumstances for His next great work in and through your life. (March 7, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby)

I’m a stubborn person and, many years ago, I’ve always asked myself and God why I had to go through the same problems over and over. I just don’t get it! Haven’t I had enough? But as the years pass, and with the help of my ministry, I’ve learned that there’s a reason why that had to happen and they’re not just the same problems. Those problems may have the same “theme” but every time I go through one, the level of difficulty increases.

It’s because I’m stubborn that’s why I have to through that same kind of problem over and over. Of course God knows I can’t take on the highest level on my first attempt. I had to ease my way into overcoming that kind of problem. If I’m done with it and learned everything from it, God will give me a different kind of problem. I’m glad i’m not that stubborn anymore (and now a bit wiser) so I get to learn more and faster, and is able to take on higher levels of my problems. And I’m glad I have problems. It just shows that God wants me to become better and He is training me, molding me, using my problems as my personal gym to “beef me up”. So be happy when you have problems. Be worried if you don’t have any (James 1:2-3).

This reflection reminded me of this part in the movie Evan Almighty (2007) where God told the family that when people ask Him for courage, He doesn’t give them courage instantly. Instead, He gives them an opportunity to be courageous. We have to remember that we are created in the image of God. Through Jesus Christ, God showed us that man is capable of doing good and, if we have faith in God, we can be like Jesus Christ. Every good thing that God possesses, we also have. We just don’t realize it. That’s why God doesn’t need to give us anything because we already have it. We all need to be subjected to certain circumstances that would help us find that characteristic, find it and then use it. We as His people don’t realize yet how very capable we are. Even I still don’t know how capable I am. But I know God will put me through things so that one day I would know the things I am capable of, and use it to grow, become a better person, and above all, help other people.

So the next time you encounter a problem, don’t ask God to take it away from you. It’s just God’s way of giving you want you’ve always wanted. He’s just testing you if you can actually get it for yourself and how much you really want it. God works in mysterious ways after all. His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55:9).