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

Home Again

March 10, 2012
Micah 7:14-20, Psalm 103:1-12, Luke 15 15:1-32

The Gospel talked about the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the Prodigal Son. It tells how the heavens rejoice over one sinner repenting and changing for the better than over many righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke 15:7). I’ve been a Prodigal Son quite a few times and every time I want to come back to the Lord, it becomes a lot harder. He expects a lot from me but to fail Him time and time again, I just feel so ashamed. I’m asking Him for forgiveness but I can’t look Him in the eyes. But before I could say anything, He’ll hug me so tight and whisper to me the words, “You don’t need to say anything. I’m just happy you came back.” Now I’m in tears. I tell Him I don’t deserve this but He tells me otherwise. I keep on saying “I’m sorry..” but He just keeps on saying “Hush, my child. I already forgave you the moment you tried to leave.” God’s love for us is infinite and never-ending. It doesn’t matter what we did and how much we’ve hurt Him. As soon as we repent and turn to Him again, it’s as if nothing happened, He would welcome us back with open arms. He’s just glad that we’ve come home.

I leave you with this song entitled Home by Gary Valenciano. One of my favorite Gary V. songs. I hope you guys like it. Be blessed! =)

Lyrics:

Verse 1:
Bright stars fill the evening sky
As I sit and wonder what I’m missing
I feel so all alone in a crowded room
There’s something that my heart’s been searching

Pre-chorus:
Coz when the shadows come
There’s nowhere to go
And my one last hope
God only knows
In Him I’ll find what I’ve been searching
Now I’m on my way
Back to a place where I can hear His voice
And see His face
As I’m on my way, I see Him running

Chorus:
Before I take my second step
He sees me coming back
And He comes running to me
And He comes running
Takes me in His arms
Closer to His heart
Saying He’ll be loving me
Cuz He’s never stopped loving me

Verse 2:
I don’t know why
Why did I ever doubt You
Thought I could live without You with me
All my fears disappear
Right before my eyes
Just to know Your love is with me
Bridge:
So I stop and say, “Forgive me lord
For walking out that door”
But before I could say anything more
He says hush
I’m just glad to know that you’ve come home
Back in my arms
Where you’re safe from harm
I’m just glad to know you’re home
Where I made you to be
Right here with me
Lord I’m glad to be home

The Rewards of Discipline

The March 9 entry, in the devotional entitled Discovering God’s Daily Agenda by Henry & Richard Blackaby, is entitled The Rewards of Discipline. The devotional told about the discipline of athletes where discipline is their training. If they train hard enough, they will be reward with success. After all, nothing worth having is easy to get.

I’m no athlete but I sure know how it feels to be rewarded because of my discipline. A few days ago, I wrote this entry entitled “My Fault” where I had this week full of bad luck and punishments from God because I failed Him. Right after I talked to God, admitted my mistakes and asked for His forgiveness, everything got better. I prayed every night, thanked Him for everything, and my faith got stronger. I was able to have self-control. With that, I was able to make the “Right Choice“. So I thanked God even more, prayed even more. That’s why He gave me today this thing I’ve been praying for the past few days, and He even gave me more than what I expected. Isn’t that great?! It was my reward. I’m so thankful and happy that I can’t even stop smiling until now. I even almost did that Flintstones tapping-of-heels-while-jumping move. Seriously. =)

Following God will give us more rewards…and problems. But the way I see it, they’re both rewards (“Problems: It’s a Good Thing“). With problems, you get better training and more lessons. With success, you get rewards, a little less lessons compared what you get from problems, and you desire to aim for something more challenging. It doesn’t matter what our goal is or what reward we want to get. Just keep in mind that we have to work hard to get those things. Like I said, nothing worth having is easy to get. Just stick with God, keep the faith, stay strong, and you’ll have all the training you’ll ever need. Pretty soon, victory will be in your hands. =)

PS.

Here’s a thought: “T” is the middle letter of the word “victory”. And look! The small “T” looks like a Cross. Coincidence? =)

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).

Right Choice

I almost made the same “mistakes” (check my previous post) again today. Good thing I was able to stop myself. I feared that making the same mistakes would result to having more bad luck and punishments. But after I made the right choice, something good happened. But not to me though. But a blessing is a blessing, and to think that I had something to do with that blessing, it’s more than enough to make me happy. I’m sure my blessing will come soon enough.

I thank God for helping me make the right choice, and I feel great because of it! =)