“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!

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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!

Yearning

This devotion I’ve been doing lately is becoming a lot harder to keep. I’ve been coming in late in Masses, sometimes forgetting to read the daily readings and to pray before I sleep, and writing my daily reflections. I’m always tired lately despite having a lot of sleep. I’m a bit depressed and irritable at times. I don’t know what is causing me to fail. I know I said in my last post that God deserves more from me.

Just because I know that keeping this devotion gets harder everyday doesn’t mean I have good enough reasons to justify my lapses.

Last Sunday, I attended this worship service at a different church. I got a bit teary-eyed at one of the songs they sang. I miss those moments – losing yourself in praise and worship; crying your heart out because of all the pain and being overwhelmed by God’s love. Every week, I attend our community’s worship service. I’m also part of the praise team. Still, I never get to experience that special moment with the Lord. Perhaps those worship services lack the heart. Maybe I lack the heart. I know what I want. I just don’t know how or where to get it.

“There’s a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For Your presence to fill up my senses
There’s a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper”

– Cry In My Heart by Starfield


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Be the blessing! It’s cool being spiritual!

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. =)