Monday, December 8, 2008

Crawl through online shops!!! Save lots of money!

I was so excited this month as I had the rare opportunity to be able to purchase a pair of dream sunglasses for myself! A pair of Oakley Romeo 2! It was a good thing to buy it from the internet and truly it was a great thing!!!! Its a lot cheaper compared to the shades being sold at the stores. The shades were delivered on time, in excellent condition, and it was really a treat. There is always a risk factor because you pay without the product being handed to you. The picture is your only image upon buying it, and you have to wait for 5-7 business days.

But upon receiving the item, all the wait and all the worries just faded away! Simply beautiful. It all depends on the item you purchase, of course, and the dependability of the site you purchased on. I receive many negative comments about the purchases on internet. Since it really involves risks, I submit that the purchaser still researches on the seller’s, store’s credentials, you can take a look at their history, comments, and if it is paid through paypal, usually it is dependable.

There are lots of dependable stores, but there exists also swindlers so beware. The sad thing though is that the majority of dependable stores/ sellers/ vendors are not advertising on a paid site. So they are usually left out. There are some sites who can help you crawl through the net and find all, I mean all, stores who has your item on sale. It acts like a search engine and it really is cool! Try shopping the wiki way.

Humble, Hard Work Teaches Great Leadership Skills

writing about humility in a first person point of view kind of negates the whole point... but, i cant help but share my experiences here in church, and taught me to have a teachable, submissive, yet leading spirit. I grew up in a home where we didnt have a helper for long periods of time, not because we are good in household chores, nor are we responsible, but because of financial strains.

I remember getting our water from a well, and pumping and transporting them gave us workable bodies! Those were only light stuff, but to make the long story short, we know how it is to do manual labor.

We were sent to exclusive schools though, and that was a plus because my parents valued education. These schools taught us also to be "a man for others", and i was encouraged to join Boy Scouts, and competitive sports to inculcate the leadership and competitive minds in us. But out of all these, nobody taught me more than my church. Yes, my home, my school, my organizations were big factors, but my church was really where it went to getting down and dirty.

I started out as a guitarist in church, and then as a bassist, and eventually a worship leader, now worship director. When I started, and up to now, i never neglect or regret having to experience carrying stuff, cleaning, setting up, tearing down, planning, practicing, and being mr. do-it-all. I know there is a leadership principle of delegation, and stretching yourself out too thin makes your quality less. I know that and I practice that.

On the other hand, i found that my leadership has become more effective being more involved with the workers, with my subordinates when I work elbow to elbow with them. I am deeply involved, but i am also a model of faith and respect. My Pastor has the same principles that's why I respect him so much. He wants to serve and to work along side of us, but i understand his position and his work that is why we try to take as much responsibility off his back by doing the work ourselves.

I learned another principle in the movies where the villain has all the henchmen, and eventually, the hero confronts him directly because his legions werent able to stop the hero. So he ends up saying, " if you want things to be done right, you have to do it yourself.." I agree, to an extent, and I experience this so much, that if want things done right, i have to do it myself, or overly supervise everything. Which again is too much of a stretch. The key is training someone to duplicate you, and eventually to replace and out-do you. Your job is to do your job and train someone else to do a better job than you do. Apparently, in the movies, that doesnt happen.

I recall all our years carrying and setting up, transporting and all, and week in and week out, in the 14 years i was in this ministry, I never left that position, though my experience grew, my responsibilities became immense, my position rose, my skills developed, everything else was growing, but i feel that manual, hard labor keeps my head and feet down on the earth. I heard from someone in our team before, that as our positions rose, we shouldnt be doing the hard stuff anymore, but train someone else to do the work for us. I may agree, and that works for paid professionals... but in a volunteer, church setting, that is very difficult to achieve, but not impossible. However, if God doesnt give you co-servants in your church with the same servant heart as you have, it only means God is teaching you to do it yourself, and stop puffing your head up and tell yourself somebody else deserves the dirty work than yourself.

Even though I lead my own music team, have my own music company, and all those "accomplishments" in my pocket, nothing beats the lessons of hard work. And I admit, I still have a lot of learning to do.

Monday, December 1, 2008

IN AWE OF A GREAT GOD CONCERT

Our church had the opportunity ot serve God for 28 years, and we have had a great history to tell... but we made a concert as culminating activity for our Anniversary and we tied it as a fund raising for the Legacy Project!

It was amazing!

Here is the opening video of the IN AWE OF A GREAT GOD concert.

I am so glad many in our church were willing to sacrifice their time, effort, talent and resources to make this event possible. I was wondering if ever these guys were paid pros, our concert was a BIG production!

We held our concert at Eastwood City Libis, and we invited not only or members, but also friends and guests. Our goal was to communicate the awesomeness of the God we serve. He's not a small God we can choose to ignore everyday, He's GOD.

It began with a special number by SBC Makati, led by Pastor Jeff Aspacio and his praise team, who did an excellent job in both playing and singing! I was blown away with the vocals! And of course Pastor Jeff's drums were classic.

We opened the night with Pastor Lance saying a few words of encouragement, and immediately showed the openeing video. The kids choir, praise band and I opened with Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman (supposedley with live strings, but they werent able to make it).

Our wonderful hosts were Pastor Alvin and Fiona Javelosa, who were somewhat "pros" at hosting. They were simply smooth and spontaneous! They provided the effective transiti0ns to the next numbers and they really did a great job!

Shekinah, an all ladies band, Ashley, Pauline, Kaye Ann, Ara, Herschelle, and Rachel rocked the auditorium with You Gave Me A Promise by Barlowe Girls. These ladies knew how to sound heavy and at the same time melodic. The guitars, drums and bass provoded the heaviness, and the wonderful passionate voices drew all ears to the lyrical lines sang.

Master's Pedestal threw in an equally powerful performance as they played a happy spirited song called Stars by Switchfoot. Augie, Kenneth, Ryan, Jeff and Russel were boys who studied the art of rock as a degree in college! The group's showmanship was a treat, and the musical arrangements were executed masterfully.

Next in line we switched the channel to a more mellow sound of a male vocal band, composed of Pastor Lance, Pastor James, Augie, Ted and Nyor, who were pastors and worship leaders too! They did a rendition of You are God Alone by Phillips, Craig and Dean. Indeed the "boyband" displayed the vocal prowess of pastors and worshoip leaders by declaring their faith to the ONLY GOD!

Alex and Augie came up next with the song You Are Amazing God by Chris Tomlin, together with the praise band. This song aptly "describes" the helplessness of man in attempting to describe the unfathomable wonders of God!

Our frequemcy and theme now shifts to God's promise of Heaven. Sis Glenise Javelosa, and her son Oyie now captures the audience as they perform an awesome duet. Another Time and Another Place by Erick Driskell. Our longing for God's eternal comfort and peace in heaven is embodied in this song, and the performers Glen and Oyie did a trully masterful job!

Up next is Ted, Ashley and Augie, with the praise band of course, singing I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me. This song was done with parts, and the melody soaring in the end part as the dilemma of the Christian overpowers him about questions upon finally reaching heaven. Powerful performance.

Our Senior Pastor Lance sang next with Ted on Piano singing Your Grace Still Amazes Me by PCD. He then shifts to a song he knew as a boy and after sharing the word and gospel of Christ, he called his mom to accompany him on stage and the final two songs.

Jeff Ayanco, our church bassist/keyboardist, rendered a surprising guitar solo called Caught Up in Rapture by Jerome Rico. Jeff skillfully glided his fingers in the board as he gracefully plucked the notes of this very relaxing song. Hail Jeffrey!!!

The next number is another very surprising, at the same time intimidating piece. Performed by Alex Tabac on electric guitar, the SBC team accompanies him as he played Always with Me, Always with You by Joe Satriani. Man, his fingers flew and soared! The notes were flashing past your eyes and mind but your ears heard a beautiful melodic line.

The next part was ACTS, led by Erwin Ibana and the rest of the masters of drama. They did a compelling choreography of the great stories in the Bible, who all declared that we have an awesome God! Many of their movements were slowed down like in the Matrix movies, and their movements were synchronized and timed exactly to the music!

As finale, we called in all the singing performers and asked them to lead worship with Ted as they sung How Great Is Our God, You Are God ALone (encore), and Generation of Light. Before we finally ended we threw in the rocking God is Great, and finished up wth A King is Born to welcome the Chistmas Season!

This concert began with the idea of making people be in Awe of God, and it ended with the challenge to continue to BE IN AWE OF A GREAT GOD we serve forever!!!!

directed by Jacqueline Amper

written by Theodore Amper

produced by SBC

Music Director: Theodore Amper

Music Consultant: Rev. Lance Gotcher

3M, Videos and projection: Eric, Junrey, Alex, Alvin and Ted

Sound and Tech: Russel, Weldon, Ted, praise team, ACTS

Hosts: Pastor Alvin and Fiona Javelosa

Performers:

SHEKINAH

Master's Pedestal

Kid's Choir

SBC main Praise Team

SBC makati Praise Team

Jeff Ayanco

Alex Tabac

Glenis and Oyie Javelosa

ACTS

Ted, Augie, Alex, Ashley, Rev Lance Gotcher, Rev. James and Mrs Gotcher

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When I Proposed to My Wife



Would you trust in things you dont see?
Would you jump the bridge at my count to three?
Would you run the race of life with me?
Just hold my hand and let's be free!

Winds may change, and seasons go
But love will stay and faith will flow
My only pray'r, my final plea:
Would you spend this lifetime with me?

Fly with me, let us soar through endless skies and
Be with me, my whole world would fall down on its knees
Just to be with you
I'd live and die for the love of a Rose

This is a song I wrote while planning to propose marriage to my long time girlfriend-fiancee-best friend-best enemy-most efficient partner-etc. Hehehe. I just love this woman.

It was January 28, 2007, a Sunday afternoon was perfect for me to ask her to marry me. Honestly, she didn't need this stuff. She knew I was going to marry her and I know her answer anyway, and in fact I was delaying everything she is kinda waiting on me already... which is a bad thing really.


I arranged for the place to be at an overlooking view of manila, so I rented out the top deck of Seven Suites Hotel, and got a package for us to enjoy an evening of fine dining, just the two of us (well of course with my friends who were my musicians too and camera men), and i was nervous at the same time excited to get on with the plan.

I asked Rose to dress up a bit, because I was wearing a coat, and i told her I'll bring her to a nice restaurant. I knew she knew what I was planning from the start because she smells me like a blood hound a mile away... see, Im that bad a liar or a surprise planner.

After church service I brought my friends (conspirators) to the deck and I asked them to stay put until I was to signal them. With everything ready, camera, guitar, this new song I wrote, etc. I was all set. I picked her up and we drove to the wonderful place, and even escorted her out. But something terrible happened... I forgot the RING!!!

I had to ask her to come back with me somewhere because I needed to get "something" important. As hard as I was trying to conceal it, Rose asked," You forgot the ring didn't you?" Though fuming with humiliation, I held my peace and said something else. She knew I was lying.

After I got the ring, we went back to the hotel and began our dinner.

ROMANTIC DINNER MENU:

Set 1

Tomato Bisque

Caesar Salad

Shrimp Cocktail

Steak Au Poivre with Duchess Potato

Choco Caramel Cake

She loved the place and we were serenaded by our friends' recording. After dinner and dessert, and a while of awkward talking, I finally signaled my friends to come in and get this over with.

I reached for the case, made sure the ring was there, and got down on my knees and sang the song above. After the song, accompanied by my good 'ol friends Kenneth, Jeff and Ryan, I asked her: "Rose, would you marry me?"

The answer was obvious and now we are happily married with a dog in Kingsville Subdivision where we plan to raise a family!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Not My Words

I wrote a song depicting my own struggle when trying to write a song for church... as I often get stuck with poetry rules, (rhyme, syllabication, symmetry, content, unity of theme, etc) and even music "degree of coolness", and I often lose sight of the important thing... what does God think? Of course I wont find direct answers to what God thinks about my song, whetehr its too high, or too much guitar, or its too rock-y, but its really about how you live your life. Its really not our words, but its our heart and life God is looking at. Well, here's the song at youtube!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

IN AWE of a Great God Concert Proper

Program Proper

Legacy Project video as walk in presentation
National Anthem
Prayer
Front Act by SBC Makati led by Pastor Jeff Aspacio

Opening Remarks about the Concert’s theme and the beneficiary project, Legacy Project.
(Pastor Lance Gotcher)

Opening Video (Symphony of Praise) (3mins)

Speechless- Ted Amper (5mins)

Host Spiel (2min)

Fast Song by the Shekinah (5mins)

Host Spiel (2min)

Fast Song by Master’s Pedestal (5mins)
Host Spiel (2min)
You Are God Alone-
Pastor Lance, Pastor James, Augie, Nyor and Ted (10mins)
Host Spiel (2min)
Indescribable- Nyor with Video (5 mins)
Host Spiel (2min)
Another Time and Another PlaceTita Glen and Oyie (5mins)
Host Spiel (2min)
I Can Only Imagine/A Light of a Million Mornings- Alexis Edralin (10 mins)

Message: Pastor Lance (30mins)
Guitar Solos
Caught Up In Rapture -Jeffrey Ayanco (5mins)
Always with Me Always with You – Alex Tabac (5mins)

Awesome God Human Video - ACTS (10mins)

Everyone stands for congregational singing:

Ted calls ALL the performers on stage to sing:
How Great Thou Art, How great is our God, Generation of Light, God is Great Praise Team (20 mins)
A King Is Born

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: approx two(2) hours

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jules' Lament

video

This is Papa's recording of "Kahit Isang Saglit" by Martin Nievera. Papa's context fits the song better than Martin's. The word "sana..." is really a hopeless, desperate wish. But to no avail. Our only consolation is that we have a glorious hope of a great reunion in Heaven. And that is not SANA for us who put our faith and trust in the work and in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Papa's song is played here with the Manila String Machine as accompaniment.

The video's purpose is so that I can paste the song here in my blog. There is no music pasting option so I decided to put together video clips of us! I dont have pictures of mama in my computer, but this video is taken from our eulogies during the wake. The song, with all its sadness, is actually the opposite of what we experienced during the funeral, the time was filled with victory and true joy.

I hope you like the song, ladies and gentlemen, my Dad Jules Amper, singing Kahit Isang Saglit for his beloved wife Aurora, and the Manila String Machine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Faithful Ones

Dearest Faithful ones, I commend you for fighting the good fight, and hopefully, when we do finish the race, we have all kept the faith and have not backslid to a point where we're not even sure we're saved at all.

Alright, in my recent article, I mentioned that how we look and act affects our target audience/unbelievers. It may be positive or negative, or plain ineffective. There is a common philosophy going around in youth churches that in order to penetrate the youth culture more effectively, you have to use strategic ways to get to them. To a degree, I agree. Yes, we have to be creative and very wise and shrewd as snakes.

I don't go and speak in a young people's congregation dressed up in coat and tie, in my shiny black leather shoes, and well pressed slacks. I usually go in jeans, a nice polo shirt, and with a neat haircut and a clean shave. Why? I don't want to gap myself too distant to the generation Im speaking to. Impression is very vital to a speaker's attention retention. However, I know of a speaker whose name is Paul Washer, who never cared for what he looked like, but focused on the Power of God to say His message...and I tell you, it didn't need fashion to do so. Bottom line, its really the Holy Spirit factor that counts.

But, at times there is credit to the "reach the audience" philosophy. Like the new translations of the Bible offer an easier understanding of the Scriptures as compared to the King James Version of it. And I know lots of young people drawn to the Lord because of churches using the contemporary music style, and "the preacher talking relevant topics of today's generation" talks.

I agree. Yes I do. But there is a flaw in this philosophy, that makes it soooo dangerous. If we as a church target these audience and do too much of the "Christians are cool too" philosophy, we neglect the change of heart part, the turning away from sin. We focus on Jesus as the gift of God, we hand Him out like pamphlets to people we meet in evangelistic meetings, but never focus on the relationship with Him. Jesus cant be your best friend if you're not willing to follow Him. He cant be Lord if you don't want to follow Him. Yes you're saved and all, but without Jesus as LORD, the whole point is missed. The kids only get to heaven, not be with the Savior.

Alright, as for my real message, the faithful ones now adapt this lifestyle of being like the world. Yes, again I do not disagree. But this lifestyle must be done with EXTREME caution. The style of music, the fashion trends, the places we go to, the lifestyle we show and live by more often than OFTEN changes us. In a scale of 1-100, it's 99% effective in changing the way of thinking of a young person.

Take my life as an example. I grew up learning classical music, Broadway musicals, church music and those stuff. I hated it. I then turned to Rock and heavy metal music, then to rap and dark poetry. Very appealing. God used the new trend of Praise and Worship music to "lure" me into the ministry, and I got addicted to the music ministry. But wait, had I stayed in the addiction, I would have easily fallen away and did something else in my life.

Music, has a lot that comes with it. The philosophies of the genre (punk is really an against the authority philo, rock is more of an emotion driven music, from where we get emo, Jazz is the enjoy playing and improvisation, freedom, etc, etc. etc. ) Once you learn the songs and get a preference your belief structure would soon conform to the music's structure. Also, fashion and the places these music are linked to become a common downfall of many Christians.

I am a rocker by nature. I have been a part of a metal band, a rock band, and acoustic band, a jazz-rnb band, a hip hop group, and all those music, before I got into classical music, orchestral, and the things old people usually listen to. In a word, I've done it all, been there, done that. My life was strangely preserved against the forces of music because after I got into the ministry, God gave me the commitment that I should worship Him and not the music style. I learned to respect other musical preferences and learned from them also. I was taught to simply listen and get what you need from any kind of music, and use it for God's glory, but God always reminded not to immerse myself in music that does not glorify Him.

Alright, here are the basics. Hairstyle is a little debatable, so the emo hairstyle (though I hate it) I'd go with allowing it if it was in my church. The music, I would say that even though everyone has their own preference, we must learn to WORSHIP GOD not the style of worship music. People often drift to other mental activities if the song style gets too corny for them or offends their taste. We should look at what the song is saying and if it glorifies God, makes a lot of sense, has a reasonably singable melody, has STRONG SCRIPTURAL content, why be bothered by the style?

If we cater too much to the "please me" generation, even our churches would find it hard to "please God". Its really not about us, what pleases the congregation, what is more comfortable, what is more stylish or in trend, these are all marketing strategies. And market caters to customers who are ALWAYS RIGHT. And if we focus on being a business too much, we get to serve the "Comfort" of the people, not their real needs.

Just study it. Statistics often tells us information whether we were effective or not. How many young people did we really effectively share the "CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE" to in our youth catering camps? How many young people really committed to transforming their lifestyles, loved God with all their heart, and become faithful members of a church? If a vast majority is still the same, or even got more confused because we tell them they're saved but they cant reconcile it with the fact that their lives are still unchanged, therefore we're missing the point. But some churches got their plans correctly coz they are effectively reaching their target people. Not 100%, but a lot of them.

Some churches boast of reaching 50,000 souls. I thank God they did share the gospel to those kids. But it should never get to your head, because I tell you not even a thousand faithfully attend their youth gatherings, and are really transformed. What happened to the 49,000? Our church is no different. Possibly, given a big budget, we would also focus on the peripherals too. My prayer is that God would work mightily in the lives of young people, and use people who really care for them and disciple them and be accountable to, and watch them grow as Christians. Numbers are great. But there are only so much you can do to make those numbers really count. Right now, I am focusing on my praise team members. I watch them, take care of them, train them, and ultimately to be better than I am. But I cannot commit to more than that. If my members commit to 3 people too, train them, disciple them, teach them God's ways and watch over them, then I would be confident that our small congregation of 800, would reach more effectively than a 50,000 youth-catering camp.

So, to all Faithful Ones, focus on God. Do the basics. Those marketing stuff are only good for a while, its the basics that count.

Where Have All the Faithful "Once" Gone?

It maybe is a funny thing, but really it makes me smile. I've worked for the Lord for many years now, and "faithfully" accomplished His assignments so far. It doesn't make me a better Christian actually, it never will. And my services to God will never make Him love me more over those who arent faithful. Nope, His favor remains the same...SAME TO EVERYONE. With my point established that Im not a goody-two-shoes, or holier than thou person, or a better Christian, because I know Im a dirty rotten sinner too. BUT, maybe because of the new nature God has given the believer, it makes me hate sin now, and though I get tempted alot, and I admit I desire to wallow in the mud (because its SOOO EASY), but there's the Holy Spirit always tugging at my shirt, reminding me, so0metimes spanking me softly (but sharply) to remind me of what I'm not supposed to do. I am a work in progress. Yes, I am born again, a new creation, but the curse of sin and death still affects me (BUT WILL NEVER HAVE ITS VICTORY OVER ME).

Why am I saying this? I have in my "sinful" mode, have wandered into attractive friends in my friendster account. Attractive-meaning scantily dressed, and provocatively posed. Yes, I admit. I'm no better than the sinner who's reading this! But in my wandering, I noticed that these beautiful ladies were part of our church once. Or some of them, have gone to our youth camps a long time ago, got our numbers and emails, connected with us via friendster, and VOILA! As if they learned nothing at camp. Some of course put in their affiliations "so-and-so" church, listed the Bible and Purpose Driven Life as their favorite Books, loves Christian Music, and all those Christian stuff, but poses almost nude and gives ALL the men a wrong impression of them.
I wonder, where have they gone? What has gone into their minds to make them boldly declare themselves in a fashion the Lord Jesus would be ashamed of? They were in my small group once, as I remember EXPLICITLY reminding them of the dangers of sexual sins, being identified as OF the world, as one of them.

Oooo, I hear the objections already.... even from the faithful ones. "Its alright to look like them, but we're not doing what they do and we don't believe what they believe." Fine. That's a given. You're still in church and you're serving Him faithfully. You say you look and act like them so you could reach them with the gospel. Are you really? But ask yourself, are you paying more attention to how you look as compared to how much time you spend reading God's Word? For me, I ask myself the same questions too. AM I SINGING TO THE LORD TOO MUCH AS OPPOSED TO LISTENING TO HIM THROUGH HIS WORD? I'm in the same category as you are, and I'm preaching to myself, because no one is perfect! BUT THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR ALL OF US TO STOP STRIVING TO BE PERFECT! The King James Version says that "Be Perfect as the Father in heaven is Perfect." In other translations, "Be holy, as the Father in heaven is Holy". But Holy and perfect mean the same thing when it comes to sin and a godly lifestyle.

Here's my point. Why are we confessing we are Christians, when actually we hate to follow Christ? Why do we pick out what's good about Christianity, weed out the "Thou shalt not's", and conform the Bible to our lifestyle instead of us conforming to IT? Why do we shut off God during the week and pay attention (ows?) to Him on a 30min message on Sunday?

I am not a model of perfection. God is. Jesus is. If you look at my life, you might find things you would be wondering why a Christian still has those struggles. BUT I AM NOT PROUD OF IT. I would be ashamed if anyone knew about my secrets, (hmm actually, I have not much, and if I do, I can easily confess them) I constantly battle the evil in me and I pray everyday to God that He would equip me with His armor, that I would be able to stand against the attacks of the enemy, that in all my temptations I would choose the way out provided by God. But I fail. I succeed, I fail again, I win again. Sometimes I fail more, sometimes I win more. But I FIGHT.

I speak as though I am strong, no. Do not look upon me as a pillar, for when I fail, you might stumble too. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

....
....
It makes me smile...
but in my heart i cry.

As i discover where my old friends in the faith have gone, I cry.

Why aren't you fighting anymore? Is the blood of Jesus not enough for your reward? Has life's struggles overcome your faith? Why aren't you fighting anymore? Is Jesus' name worth living for for you? Why aren't you fighting?

Where have all the faithful "once" gone?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Grave Cannot Silence My Mom's Praise

This is my own few words for mama. I took the time to write them out to be more organized, but I didn't expect that my short "speech" would be a stand up comic act!
video
video

Here's my sister Frances' short talk:

video

video

my other sister Jacqui:

video

video

My brother's and my Dad's will be uploaded on the next entry. Truly, my mom left a legacy of hope and joy only a true Christian woman could leave her family. Let her children call her "blessed!".

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Time and Another Place

My mom passed away last September 27, 2008 and I have lost the words to describe how deep both our loss and our joy at her passing. I loved this song by Sandy Patty and Wayne Watson, and ever since the day I heard it, years before my mom's passing, I loved how the song describes the writer's longing for home...heaven. Where all his hopes and dreams here on earth would at last be captured, and even more, with just
one look at Jesus face. How I longed for that time too. Over and over I cried just singing and listening to that song.... and then my mom died.

Another Time and Another Place

I've always heard there is a land
Beyond the mortal dreams of man
Where every tear will be left behind
But it must be in another time

There'll be an everlasting light
Shining a purest holy white
And every fear will be erased
But it must be in another place

So, I'm waiting for another time and another place
Where all my hopes and dreams will be captured
With one look at Jesus' face
Oh, my heart's been burnin'
My soul keeps yearnin'
Sometimes I can't hardly wait
For that sweet, sweet someday
When I'll be swept away
To another time and another place

I've grown so tired of earthly things
They promise peace but furnish pain
All of life's sweetest joys combined
Could never match those in another time

And though I've put my trust in Christ
And felt His Spirit move in my life
I know it's truly just a taste
Of His glory in another place


So, I'm waiting for another time and another place
Where all my hopes and dreams will be captured
With one look at Jesus' face
Oh, my heart's been burnin'
My soul keeps yearnin'
Sometimes I can't hardly wait
For that sweet, sweet someday
When I'll be swept away
To another time and another place

Indeed, for many of us the day God takes our life is a dreaded one. It is normal I suppose, for like someone taking his final exam, one gets to be nervous how he'll get through with it. And death is like that, it is the final experience one has to go through before seeing God and going to heaven. Its one of these two: either He comes back to take us in rapture, or we go home to Him in death. Both are good things really. Specially the confidence you have when you know you prepared for that final exam very well. And its a comfort to others when they know you prepared for it as well. There's this certainty that you passed, an absolutely-no-questions-asked attitude only a true believer can possess.

The song described that "dreaded" day of death as "sweet, sweet someday, when I'll be swept away to another time and another place." For my mom, Saturday, September 27, at 3pm... it was a sweet, sweet day...when my mom was swept away, to that other time, and that other place...

...I'll surely miss you Ma, but I'll see you again. I'll see you again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From Me to You: My Christian Journey

Whenever I consider thinking about my faith, my "so-called" devotion to Jesus, I often stop and wonder: " Am i really standing up for God? Am i authentic? That is the reason I am writing you this story about how God gave hope to my life and how the same God is inspiring me to share this story to you.
I'm a pretty well-behaved kid and I seldom get into trouble. Maybe because I don't like getting hurt or abused, or maybe I'm just protected. However which way, there's a common denominator i share with everybody else in this world: I am a sinner. At first I didn't care. So what? Everybody else is a sinner anyway? why be anxious about it? As long as i'm not as bad as "so-and-so", or as long as i'm no burden to somebody else... Besides, i think i'm well-behaved enough to merit God's mercy and love. If ever i do make a mistake, I think God is kind enough and loving enough to forgive me, and forget my mistake and let me into heaven someday...hopefully.
My mom shared to me about Jesus (and His death on the cross, His sacrifice, and about everyone being a sinner, and everyone's going to hell, so we have to accept Jesus in our hearts and make Him our Lord and Savior) when i was eight years old, and thankfully enough, forced me into going to church and singing songs in front of people, and being a member of a children's sunday school. Even buying tapes about Jesus for me to play and sing along, but after it all, I guess i'm really not interested in God at all. I grew up thinking going to heaven (that was an unbreakable promise of God, as told by my church) was enough and i could do whatever i pleased as long as i don't "cross the line"...whatever that is by exact definition.
it was until i fell in-love with music and it's performance and power, that God slowly crept into my attention, and started this most wonderful journey i'm now embarking. At first, I was into slow-rock songs about love and acoustic riffs. Anything with a high male voice, and a slick solo guitar was into my fan list. A little angst about a girl leaving you and breaking your heart was the next thing that filled my senses. I loved songs about anger and hate, noise and heavy guitars. Slowly, my interest shifted to deeper poetry, and rebellion. Dark themes and even death started to get my attention. I often thought about how to make people think the way i thought, and i loved to be with rebellion-oriented groups. As a young person, i loved thrilling activities...the more dangerous, the better. It was a great time honestly, i don't deny that.
But God has a way of using certain circumstances in your life, good or bad, to His purpose. My devotion to certain philosophies such as standing up for what you believe in, acceptance without judgment, having a good time as long as you're not hurting anyone, the more dangerous-the better, etc. were stepping stones to God's greater plan in my life.
I got forced into a youth group in our church just as I was a neophyte in a high-school fraternity. It was also the time when I was dumped by my long-time high school sweetheart for someone else. i also despised my parents for not giving me what i expected parents should give their children. I thought back then it was everybody's fault except mine. This youth group was at first boring and i really thought everyone else there were kinda weird and different. Slowly, God's wisdom and great love overwhelmed my heart and changed rebellion to dedication, hate into acceptance, anger to forgivness, and most of all, desperation to hope. I remembered all my mom and dad used to teach me, my church's sunday school lessons were now applicable in a deeper level, my knowledge of God became suddenly extremely small, that I became illiterate and dumb, making me hunger for more about His Words.
however, i wasnt really ready to give-up all my bad-habits. But surely enough, God can change a heart of stone.

To be continued...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is there a God?

I recently read the "Pascal's Wager" and I investigated the more sophisticated variations to it, and it seems Mr Pascal is quite confused himself. But I am glad he is a rational being and that his wager posed a good challenge for atheists and theists alike to question their beliefs. Well, actually, for atheists, he didn't even strike a point. The atheists saw vastly farther and toppled his arguments with ease. That is why I mentioned that Mr. Pascal was confused with the basis of his assumptions... that is why his wager is easily rebutted. But in a sense, I thank the atheists for posing this wager insufficient for a theist's argument of a God. I am now reinforcing my beliefs.

I went to a University where the question of God's existence was always in topic, and debated. Many philosophers-turned-atheists constantly posted open debates for Christians to prove their point. As a freshman, I was shocked to experience that, but I grew more and more interested in their arguments and I actually questioned my beliefs! I started asking if there really was a God, because I never seen Him, felt Him, heard Him, and all I knew about Him was through someone else's explanation, and a book called the Holy Bible, which I barely read and understood. I "loved" a man-God called Jesus, but I never really investigated more about Him, His claims, His work, His identity. Thus my search began.

Is there a God? How do I know He exists? If there is one, who is He? Which religion teaches the "true God"? Since I am a Christian, I had to remove my biases and equally investigate all the religions I could get my hands into and give them all equal chances. But I have to start with the question: "IS THERE A GOD?"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My NEW CAR


Recently I was contemplating on exhaustong my funds for a make over for my car. Well, it looked good in the first place, but I cant stand the temptation of pimping it. Im glad I have a friend who pimps...rides. And that's the other face of my Pastor friend, he loves doing stuff for free. He added 22" chrome rims, dropped 2" lowering springs, took my bull bars away, added grills, and customized my bumper. He put new ford F150 head lights into my old hilux ones, and put 3M tints on my windshield. We were planning to change the paint, but he ran out of "free" funds so we will do that next time. Watch out for the new Hilux 150!!!! My brand new CAR!

If you want your car to be pimped, simply click on this link ad-perspectives.blogspot.com. He rules!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ted's commentaries on an Atheist's Argument

TOPIC: Pascal's Wager. Common question by a Christian to try to convert an atheist:
Why are you taking such a risk on being an atheist? If you're wrong, you'll go to hell. You've got nothing to lose by converting and everything to gain.

Answer of Atheist:
This question, which is really just a simplified version of Pascal's Wager, is one of the most popular questions which religious theists — particularly Christians — pose to atheists. It must sound very appealing, reasonable, and rational to them, otherwise atheists wouldn't have to hear it so often. Unfortunately, Christians who use this reveal that they haven't done their homework because there are a number of very obvious and easy objections to this which they seem completely unaware of.
The first problem lies in the implicit yet unstated assumption that we already know which god we should believe in. That assumption, however, is not necessary to the argument, and thus the argument itself does not explain which religion a person should follow.

Ted:I agree to a certain degree, that the atheist will have to qualify which God to believe exists. But since a theist “,…PARTICULARLY CHRISTIANS”, as mentioned by the writer, is the one who asked or posed the question, isn’t it rational that he implies the GOD OF THE BIBLE? If a Muslim asked, then it is Allah… a simple question to ask the theist who posed the wager is this: “so which God do I believe in?” If he doesn’t know the answer, then the so-called theist isn’t worth talking to. Don’t believe him either.

Atheist: This can be described as the “avoiding the wrong hell” dilemma. If you happen to follow the right religion, you may indeed “go to heaven and avoid hell.” However, if you choose the wrong religion, you’ll still go to hell.
Thus even if we accept the premise that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by converting, what should we convert to? The thing missed by so many who use this argument is that you cannot “bet” on the general concept of “theism.”

Ted:Yes, you cannot bet on the general concept, BUT you cannot ignore the evidence of a God. All the evidence demands a verdict. Who that is, is the responsibility of the individual to search for. Because in the end, if there is a God, He will not be held responsible for us choosing the wrong God, He will surely say that He has revealed Himself to man “so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1)


Atheist:You have to pick specific doctrines. Theism is just a broad concept which includes all possible god-beliefs and, as such, barely exists absent specific theologies. If you are going to really believe in a god, you have to believe in something — which means picking something. If I pick, then I risk picking the wrong god and avoiding the wrong hell.

Ted:A broad concept indeed for the non interested seeker. But a seeker must simply investigate and he will surely come to a point where he rationalizes and realizes that a certain “religion” is false when it becomes somewhat weird in their teachings, such as the origin of man, the world, and opposes the proven scientific evidence and laws. Not theories mind you, because once the evolution theory is proven, (the “full” doctrine is certainly not proven, but the BROAD concept is possible, IF AND ONLY IF an outside factor is present in controlling the conditions of the environment for evolution to be possible), then Christianity is utterly destroyed. Alongside the claims of Christ like His resurrection, if disproved, it topples Christianity altogether. The term theory is also a broad subject to talk about since we have many accepted theories, and are considered laws already, but for this subject matter, evolutionary theory is still a long shot.

Atheist:A second problem is that it isn’t actually true that the person who bets loses nothing. If a person bets on the wrong god, then the True God™ just might punish them for their foolish behavior. What’s more, the True God™ might not mind that people don’t bother believing in it when they have rational reasons — thus, not picking at all might be the safest bet. You just cannot know.

Ted:YES YOU CAN KNOW. Yes, He minds that He be sought, for He will be found. And that issue has already been presented previously. Let’s not go in circles.

Atheist:Some choices do indeed come with large risks. Many have died because they trusted in prayer rather than medicine. Others have perished due to the handling of poisonous snakes and the drinking of lethal liquids because Jesus said they would be able to do so without harm. The choice of pseudo scientific and mystical beliefs can carry very negative consequences.

Ted:I agree. Pseudo scientific and faith healing (by faith healers) is quite un-Christian. Though we certainly believe in miracles and all, but God has simply allowed doctors to gain knowledge of the scientific and medical realm, He also works along side of His creation. Luke, one of the gospel writers, is a doctor, and a very learned man. Just a note, Jesus never said to drink lethal liquids. I know he’s just using it as an example, but it’s just offensive to me that he did so. Please do not misquote Him.

Atheist:A third problem is the unstated premise that the two choices presented are equally likely. It is only when two choices are equal in probability that it makes sense to go with the allegedly “safe bet.” However, if the choice of a god is revealed to be a great deal less likely than the choice of no god, then god ceases to be the “safe bet.” Or, if both are equally likely, then neither is truly a “safe bet.”

Ted:Given the evidence, which can be presented upon request, ( I HAVE TONS of them, it is obviously the “better bet” to believe in a God, compared to not), how can we not conclude that there is a God? But about the safer bet? Nope, My God is jealous. He has no other gods before Him. He will not allow sin. Even if you believe in Him, He will NOT guarantee your safety. He has rules found in Scripture. He is holy and righteous. He has no plan B. His ways are eternal. He is always right. So, heads up atheist, God is NOT a safe bet. He is never the safe bet. He is merciful though, and He is compassionate, abounding in love and forgiveness. His promises for the true believer are incomparable. And that is fully known in the person of Jesus. Get to know Him, I have, and thus, I have the “safe ASSURANCE”, not bet.

Atheist:One final problem is the conclusion of the argument, where a person decides to believe in a god because it is the choice that offers the most benefits and least dangers. This requires that the god in question not mind that you believe in it merely in order to gain entrance to heaven and/or to avoid punishment in hell. Such a god wouldn't be a just or fair god, since a person’s eternal fate is not being decided upon based on their actions, but merely on their decision to make a pragmatic and selfish choice. Does this sound like a god that's worth worshiping?

Ted:Nope, that kind of God isn’t worth worshiping. As I’ve said above, the true God minds that you choose Him, and not only choose, but to believe and follow His rules. And our entrance to “heaven” isn’t decided by our actions, but according to His grace, through faith. We can explore this wonderful concept of grace and mercy sometime else.

Atheist:There are, of course, more sophisticated versions of Pascal's Wager which avoid or minimize some of these issues, but that's only relevant insofar as the Christians who ask the above question never bring up these more sophisticated versions. Instead, they only bring up a very simple version which is actually more susceptible to critique than Pascal's own original. It is, as I said, a sign that they haven't done their homework: they haven't investigated what the argument's strengths and weaknesses are nor are they prepared to answer even mildly probing or challenging questions about it. In short, they just haven't thought the matter through very well and don't expect an atheist who has either.

Ted:In all due respect, I appreciate this atheist’s questions and arguments, but it isn’t remotely wise to assume that Christians do not do their homework. It’s this man and those like him who didn’t investigate enough. Sorry, but I think all your points are, in tagalog: “supalpal”.

VOTE FOR FRESH SEAFOOD RECIPES!!!

I went on line and I found a great contest about the most interesting topic in the world---FOOD!!! And not just about food per se, but exquisite, fine dishes prepared by artist chefs and master tasters. Man, I just can’t stop thinking about this new recipe I found. It’s actually a cook off at www.GreatAmericanSeafoodCookOff.com, and you’re supposed to vote for the recipe you think should win. I browsed through the pictures and they seemed to call my name from the computer monitor: “taste me…taste me…” I was mesmerized and tempted to take chunk out of those mouth watering masterpieces of culinary arts! I suggest you readers click on the link and go see for yourselves the temptous servings in this contest. Vote for your choice recipe and get a chance to win a trip for two to New Orleans, with hotel accommodations, perks, and the sort. Now let me talk about my choice…

Well, you only have to pick one recipe and vote for it. So for me I vote for the work of Chef John Currence and his work from Mississippi- the Mississippi Redfish Courtboullion with Seafood Dirty Rice. It was my pick since I come from a rice consuming country, so the “rice factor” intrigued me. It got my vote. Rice in the Philippines has many twists to it, it can be plainly cooked rice, steamed rice, fried rice, and I can toss in the all original “adobo Rice”, its basically vinegar and soy sauce, with lots of garlic, cooked to a certain degree. But that is just one of the possible things I can do to alter the “rice factor”.

Now about talking economical, eating domestic seafood, has a lot of great benefits. First is you get to be assured its fresh. For one, you can catch it yourself, another is you see it fresh in the market, not in a stock refrigerator of a restaurant. Another benefit is the price is a lot cheaper than if you buy it as a prepared recipe. Not to mention that you can enjoy the time with your family in catching the fish, or buying them in the market, preparing them as a family, and its really a good thing to do your own recipes at home.

So as I end this entry, I encourage you guys again to visit the link, and try to see which is the best recipe, and try them yourselves! Experiment, adventure, just do it!

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Monday, September 8, 2008

A New Lesson In Life From My Puppy

I was blessed at the same time challenged to have a new puppy, whose name is Princess. She is a three month old Shih Tzu, tri-colored and extremely adorable,cute, and playful. Having a puppy has its ups and downs. Most of the downs include the expenses that are incurred, and cleaning up after it messes up.

You might be asking why I had to clean up when I could train her to pee and poo outside. Well, she poos outside now, very seldom does she poo inside, but I don't know why she loves to pee everywhere! Outside, inside, EXCEPT my room, where she sleeps. Its amazing that she never had a record of doing her stuff in there.

But, one day as I was cleaning up one of her pee escapades indoors, I noticed a life lesson. Her pee would be considered maybe a hand scoop full, not too much. And it didn't spread. However, the amount of clean water you need to clean a small amount of pee, is almost a small bucket of clean water! And the effort also is double since you need to re-wipe the area, and put some lysol so the scent would be covered.

This is where the lesson in life enters. It popped up into my head the moment I saw the water running from the faucet as I cleaned the mop. It is simple. The mess represents the mistakes we make in life. The mop and the water represents the amount of "repair" we need to do. Naturally, we need to clean up the mess the puppy made ourselves (if you want it done right), and ASAP, to avoid it being spread all over and messing other stuff up. In parallel, when we do make mistakes, we need to learn from them ASAP, or try to mend what is broken before it messes up other people's lives and gets to unknown proportions. The mess also needs to be cleaned the right way, and it usually means a lot more effort than making the mistake itself. Usually it is 10 times more, if not a lot more. If we do it the short cut way, like sweeping it under the rug (yuck), or just covering it up with dust, we will definitely end up messing up other stuff as well! So, in life, we need to deal with issues the right way and in the proper attitude so we can fix the problem we caused.

Now if you notice, people who know that your pooch messed up in that particular spot will not step over it even after it is thoroughly cleaned. Yup they wont. Much more if it is not! The lesson is this, even after you've dealt with your mistake, repaired all the damage, said sorry and all, it will take time for people to forget what happened. We cannot change that, however we can change ourselves by not passing judgement on people who made mistakes in their lives. Since we now know better, we are to understand more, and instead of putting people down, we need to help them up and be an encouragement and a support.

Another reason we need to deal with our mess asap is because the longer it is left uncleaned, the scent will spread, the risk of the poop getting stepped upon, and the trouble it causes other people (and yourself) piles up exponentially. So we need to clean up asap, the right way (it takes a proper process), and with the right attitude.

It is amazing to learn life lessons from a poop of my dog. I choose to look at it in the positive way, whenever she does that. But the last lesson I learned is to teach her to do her stuff properly, and it only means that we should train ourselves and others in the ways of righteousness and truth (found in the Bible), so that we can all avoid the mistakes and the complications that arise from it.

Thank you Princess(my dog) for that wonderful lesson!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Am I a Believer?

I was sitting in the congregation of our church when the guest speaker, the son of an International missionary Organization Director spoke about the famous statement of Joshua, “Choose you this day, who shall you serve? But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He pointed out that people need to make a personal decision to follow Christ. They had to choose.

It was an eye opening experience for me, because he stressed that there are lots of Christians in churches today, even those who are active in their respective ministries, doing all those church work, that are really not saved at all.

Now what does “saved” mean? The Bible emphasizes more on the term: “Believers”. Believers of what? In God? That He exists and that He rules over all and He is great, and majestic and worthy of all praise? That He has a Son who died on the cross for the sins of man and rose up from the grave to conquer death? Sure, the Bible even tells us that even Demons believe in God and Jesus, and they shudder, but they are definitely not “believers”. If we apply that term “believers” to ourselves, and examine our lives, do we even come close to how the demons believe? I guess not.

If I even dig deeper, I could safely assume that we, as present day “believers”, have it easy on the Gospel. And, ironically, having it easy makes it a lot more difficult to be “believers”. First of all, we live in a time so distant from the time of the life of Jesus. We are asked to believe on somebody who lived and died (and lives forever more) more than 2000 years ago. Second to believe that there is a God who can neither be seen or heard, who does out-of-this-world miraculous wonders (triple redundant) which are not seen this day, with little or no scientific or historical evidence, except by the testimonies of those who lived in that distant time. (But amazingly, Archeology and history now can testify to the Biblical accounts, they just don’t mass publish them) Third, is to even have the need of a Savior is somewhat useless to this “convenient” generation. We can have what we want, do what we want, and even believe what we want without some emperor telling us what or who to believe as God. And we don’t face death if we believe otherwise. Easy? Yes, but more difficult because the need becomes cloudy, and the truth is somewhat pushed aside in significance.

Now going back to the sermon I heard, the speaker simply pointed out that he himself grew up in church, as a son of a well known preacher of God’s Word, grew up and studied in the Christian ways and virtues, doctrines and service, only begun a REAL relationship with God just a little over twelve years ago, at the age of 24 or 25, after more than a decade of serving God in church as a Sunday School teacher, as a choir member, etc. Impossible? Nope, you can be in church, but not really IN the Body of Christ.

He said that he cannot remember a time where he PERSONALLY felt the need for God in his life, and that He asked himself the question, “Am I really a believer? If so, why is my life lived otherwise? If not, Lord, please show me how.” Without anyone to guide him, he went to the Scriptures, and searched for God. He searched for God. He didn’t find God, because God found him. He was lost and blind, hopeless to find God, but it was God’s will and prerogative that he should be found. The Scriptures became true in his life where it says “Seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.”

At this point, I would like to share, my own personal testimony. I grew up as a Catholic, went to a Catholic school for boys, and also in a home where strong Catholicism was taught. What I loved about that was we were disciplined to do all the rituals a faithful Catholic should do. And somehow cathedrals amazes me, gives me this “God I know You’re here” feel. My parents went to a Methodist church then to a Baptist church simply because of geographical reasons, and because services were shorter and less boring. Eventually, they met Jesus in one of the services of the Baptist church they were attending.

Naturally, we had to join them in church and I started to learn Bible lessons which weren’t emphasized when I was in mass. I was taught how to pray directly to God through His one and only Son Jesus. I was told that being good wasn’t enough for a little boy to go to heaven and that I needed to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I learned them all in my head, but it really meant nothing to me. I was even taught to remember my spiritual birthday… so I can be sure I was saved. (It was a good idea, but now I realized its not the date that makes for a good evidence of salvation, its your life.)

My mom approached me in a cold rainy morning and asked me if I wanted to go to Heaven when I die. I told her “Yes”, and we prayed to receive Jesus in my heart. I believe that I got saved at that time. I clearly remember learning why I needed to be saved, and why Jesus came, what He did for me, and that He promised me eternal life.

But it was only about 10 years after that day that I truly started living for God. And I began to stand up as Christian. I surrendered my life to God, not as a pastor or a priest or a church worker, no, not that. I surrendered my life to him as a man… as a son. I wanted to live my life according to what my Dad wants. And I told God I would live for His pleasure, not mine, as an engineer, or as a musician, as anybody I would be. As long as I lived for Him, I knew I would be fine, and that I’m really living. I asked myself if I’m really a believer… if I’m really a Christian. And I sought for answers personally in His Word. I found them, and God assured me I was His, even before I sought Him this way.

From that moment on I knew I had a purpose. I knew that if I died any moment, I knew I would face a God who would be proud to welcome home a son. I am assured of heaven yes, even as kid, and even before I gave my life to Him, I knew I will go there, but what makes a surrendered life great is the peace that when you leave this life, you will not regret anything. The only possible regret is that you wish you could’ve reached more, served more or did more for Him. But right now I am proud to say (not in my own strength or capabilities) that if God took me, I know I have run a good race, fought a good fight (not as exciting as Pacquiao’s though), and I am sure I kept the faith the old martyrs have died for, the faith Jesus has passed on to generations of true believers.

My challenge to you is this: even if you grew up in church, and did all the necessary steps to become a believer, examine your life, and ask God, “God, am I really your son/daughter? If so, show me and assure me through Your Word, and if not, show me how.” I tell you, it would make a whole lot of difference.

God's Provision

I always experience first hand the lessons of God. I don't want to experience them to be honest, but in His will, He allows those which are necessary for me to go through and those which I can learn from others' experiences.

Forgiveness was one, but thank God He gave me the strength to have that... and the other thing is provision. His providence (which comes from the Latin words "pro", meaning "before", and "visio", meaning "to see", is what it really means to me right now. I have to have the faith to believe that God "will see to it" that my needs are met. Our exact needs are simple, they are to pay for bills, provide food and shelter for my family, provide transportation for all of us, and of course the other stuff we need-- they are medical costs for Rose, including all my payments at home (for the car), for my credit card (for the wheels I got for my car-again), and insurance. Man, I don't know where to get the finances.

But with all the years God has provided, and with all the lessons I heard and learned from the Bible and at church, I cannot see the reason why I need to worry, nor be afraid. GOD WILL SEE TO IT that ALL my needs are met. And He always does.

I also learned this beautiful statement... "I want to watch the Lord do His stuff". And I do enjoy seeing Him provide. His requirements are simple, GIVE, and WATCH. Give faithfully your dues to His ministry and to the church (which means you have to earn a living), and Watch closely (dont miss it) how He will provide. God loves us to notice and appreciate Him by saying thank you. He wants the glory the honor and the praise when He accomplishes His work. When He does His promises, He wants us to notice.

And I know with all my heart my needs are to going to be met, I do not know how or when, but by faith I will be able to stand up and wait in the Lord until that time comes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Puppy Princess

I recently acquired (for a relatively low price) a new shih tzu puppy and she is really adorable. Her name is Princess, and she just turned three months old last August 21. Its my first time to have puppy, let alone a "breeded" one, and she is as cute as a stuffed toy. That's why its called a toy dog.

I got her from my friend Silke, and she has five other siblings, all given to different owners. I should say she is the cutest, with my own personal bias, since she is a tri-colored one, and she has the best paws of the brood. Her eyes are very expressive and you could see emotion in them.

She likes to eat the meat Pedigree as opposed to the regular pedigree dog food. I got her a plastic bone where she would gnaw all day and when she gets tired, she takes a nap. I think she is sick with hyperactive syndrome! She is WILD!!!

One thing I enjoy most about her is that she acts differently from a regular dog. She likes attention, and she is super playful! She can fetch her toy soccer ball, which I play around with her, and I "drag" her around the village when I want to take her for a nice short walk.

In this entry, I suppose I can link it to my relationship with Jesus, my God, wherein He adores me, and He loves me, and gave everything for me. And I, the puppy, sometimes is wild and makulit, perhaps giving my Savior a headache, (but I guess not because He never gets weary), and yet He loves me.

I love my Savior Jesus, who bought me with a high price!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Flirtng Game is ON, but not for me

"If I were Santa, you would be in my wish list...so tell me, are you naughty, or nice?". This pick up line is so cheesy and funny, it'll probably result in making the girl laugh with her friends and dump you in an instant. I heard that from the movie White Chicks. Very funny movie.

Flirting for me is an awesomely risky game where you risk your reputation as a person, and prepare to get labeled once you're turned away. Pick up lines usually do that, and it may determine the success or failure of a flirting game. But, its a no-no for me, since I am married!!!

I heard of a new flirting scheme and its by the use of your hair style!!! Check it out your hair! If you got a sexy style hair, and you meet another person with a sexy style hair, and suddenly attraction starts, things happen like lightning, become physical, and the result is (not a long lasting relationship), but a NEW HAIRSTYLE! That's what we call Victory Hair with Extreme Style by VO5! The style you get after moochy-moochy!

Since I cannot participate in this game, if you readers want to join in, there is a Flirting Game and it sounds interesting for single persons! Just grab a widget and join in the "spray"... I mean fray!


For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com



Sponsored by Extreme Style by VO5

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Dad: Jules Amper Jr.

My dad is now 64 years old. Still married to my mom Aurora, and he still kicks like a horse! Three of his four kids are now finished with their college studies, working, and are all technically married. I wont get into detail into why I said that.

This blog is about my dad. My great dad Jules Amper. In the point of view of some people, they might see my dad as a failure, or an unsuccessful man. And to a degree, there may be truth in those statements. But amidst all our frustrations I choose not to look at his shortcomings, rather, I chose to celebrate all his accomplishments...thus my blog.

Let me begin with his very first success... he made all four of us siblings possible! His sperm cells were indeed strong swimmers, and all of us are normal, awesome kids! Its only now that my wife and I realize that its not that easy to make kids. That is a feat on its own!

Next, it is by providing us siblings and my mom the love and the financial support we needed growing up as kids. I know with all my heart that Papa worked hard (and enjoyed too) abroad and sacrificed a lot just to get my mom a good, nice life. In fairness to my mom, she could manage equally well (if not better) if she were alone!!! She's a toughie, that's for sure.

I'll write more of my personal experiences with my dad and inject some stuff including my siblings. So, the earliest recollection of my dad is that I admired his singing voice and how he drew pictures. I was amazed as a kid and I always wanted to be like him. I practiced drawing and I tried to make them as lifelike as I could. About singing, I admired his confidence and how he drew listeners to his guitar playing and his great voice. I also breezed through a lot of his songbooks where he hand-wrote all the songs he loved, cowboy songs, Spanish songs, folk songs, etc. I remember listening to the car stereo of our old red Lancer as we sped through the former smooth Marcos Hi way, and I loved hearing my dad sing Spanish songs and I sang them quietly with him.

Another thing I learned from him early on, is him faithfully bringing us to our church. I hated church when I was a kid, all the kids smelled terrible and my Sunday school teachers were boring, and they prayed too long. Besides, Sunday mornings were cartoons time and it was so hard to get dressed and squeeze into our tiny car. However, I did learn a lot of stuff (basically because the stories were constantly repeated!) and I found great friends at church. But my dad put great value in spiritual things as he invested in books I loved to read as a child, such as Children's Literature and the Bible Stories. Man, I loved those stories. They told the Biblical accounts in such a way that you wont forget them and as a result you'll know them by heart! That's one reason I got bored with Sunday School...

Another thing he did for me was getting us books about sciences and arts. I believe he wanted us to become smart kids, as he and Mama bought us encyclopedias! I remember Papa helping us with the Cyclo-Teacher Learning Aid, and patiently assisted us and checked our answer sheets. He always said "Correct Nicanor!" whenever I got a right answer. Not only that, but my Papa always had a way to explain concepts to us with the use of illustrations and also a system of teaching. He taught me the concept of human reproduction(among many other concepts like Space, history, etc). By the way, about the reproductive "process", I clearly remember reacting: "You mean you and Mama did that?! Yuck!!"

He also handmade our flash cards and constantly drilled us with math and he even bought maps so we could be familiar with the cities of the world and of the Philippines. He also bought us listening tapes from Rodolfo Torres, which helped us big time in our reading, diction, math, etc. Aside from that, he also invested in buying tapes of Kids Praise, where I owe my English speaking skills and diction, which is only secondary to the lessons those tapes taught me about God, His people, His Word, and Christian values...and also SINGING!!! He brought us to Meralco to watch the free film showings, and just enjoy a day at the bowling alley and the billiards, also in the tennis courts and the canteen.

I also loved the way Papa encouraged us to go hiking and appreciate nature. I always looked forward to those hiking trips as a kid. We walked and walked, and we went to places where we could swim and climb trees.

I also remember my Papa teaching me to play basketball, tennis, baseball (we always threw catch in front of our house) and he sent me and my brother to Karate and Taekwondo schools, basketball clinics, tennis clinics, etc. He also loved to tickle us and make us step on his back. I always remember the "octopus" where he wrapped all four of his limbs plus his head for added "grip" over us and counted to ten. By that time we must escape or else he would tickle us!

He taught me how to ride a bike, how to drive, how to solve my homework assignments. He made us a beautiful model house for my brother's assignment and he always paid attention to precision and detail. He worked carefully slow but very professional and clean. He always helped me in making my parol (Christams Lantern), and in almost all my art projects he assisted and guided me so I could develop my own creativity.

About music, he taught me everything. And though he didnt directly teach me guitar, we used HIS guitar when we practiced. Oh, he did teach me a classical piece "romanza de amor", the year I started learning guitar. More than Words was next, but my brother taught me that. He and Mama bought me a nicer guitar (after I broke the previous one), and they encouraged me to join our church's praise team in my senior year in High School.

I pretty much owe him everything I am because he enrolled me in Ateneo as a grade school student, fixed all the necessary procedures to get us into Manila Science High School, and also for me, he was the one who suggested to me that I try UP College of Music, playing the cello.

As I grew up, of course the picture of a perfect Dad faded and as an adult, you slowly replace the beautiful image to an image of all the things you don't want to be. But in reality, my dad was a great dad. Much less, a great man. He instilled in me a deep love for music, science and arts. But one of the most beautiful gift he gave us was his faithfulness to my mom. And they stuck together through thick and thin... mostly thin... and I would always see the constant nights where my Papa would take mama in his arms and dance with her. They sang duets together, and they always kissed each other. What a dad.

I love him and I will always be proud of him. I'm not half the man he is, mostly because I will never be him, 'coz I'm a different person! But all those beautiful lessons he taught us I will try to teach my kids. And my prayer is that he would always show his bright smile and encourage others around him to cheer up and live life!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My trip to Palawan

On August 10-13, I was privileged to join the Breaking Point Team in sharing the anti-substance abuse program that could help the lives of young people in their awareness to this malignant social disease. Our focus, was giving the good news of a change of heart to these young people. And this change of heart could only be a result of a life lived under Jesus' control, by simply making Him your Lord and Savior.

We were partnered with a team from Sagemont Church, based in Houston Texas. They sent a total of 18 delegates under Rev. Sandy Baird and his wife Karen. On our arrival in Palawan, we were again partnered with a local Palawan Team, delegates from Family of Christ Church, under Rev. David Quiocson. It was at first a super pleasant trip because we departed from the newly opened NAIA Terminal 3, and was safely transported to Palwan via Cebu Pacific. The upon arrival, we were welcomed by the Family of Christ church with leis and were transported to our beautiful hotel, Fleuris Hotel.

We had a great room (though the view was a blank wall) as Pastor Alvon, Pastor Jeff and myself were comfortably lodged in three nice beds! The dinner was sumptous, and the welcome service was truly, "new" to us. We then rehearsed our Taekwondo demonstaration, and also the dramas in which I played the Money Person in the Redeemer.

After a good night's sleep, we woke up early and had another great breakfast, and also becoming more acquainted with our American partners. We had another training and run throughs of the program, and by lunch time (Jolibee) we were ready for our first school, Sicsican National High School.

Going there was a short 20 minute drive, and we were welcomed by a beautiful school (relative to Manila), and the kids were all excited to see us! The program went really well, and after the whole thing, we started packing up and went to the next school, Palawan National High School. We arrived a little over 4pm, and set up as quick as we could, and we let the ball roll for another great action packed program!

We didn't feel the exhaustion only until we were done with the dramas. There was a classroom interaction up next... Praise God He manipulated situations and gave us a good break by letting a large group presentation of Breaking Point take place instead. It saved us a lot of saliva and throat pain.

It was so rewarding to see the kids so encouraged specially when in my group, I shared the hope you had in Christ, and also the life you can have if you had a real relationship with Jesus. It was hard, but great. I told them that they had to be good in their studies, avoid drugs, and substance abuse, avoid sexual relationships, and just be nice kids. I told them what God did in my life, though Im not the best (but I want to be) in my field, I still get a lot of clients and God provides for my needs! Their faces just lit up as I felt their eagerness to start(or continue) living a clean life and get Jesus in their life.

We ate dinner at a great restaurant, where they served Filipino dishes for the American visitors, and we had a great time of fellowship. By the time we were back at the hotel we desired nothing but a clean bath and a great sleep. However tired, we had to sleep later because we had to read and tally the comment cards.

Next day... we're not fired up. At least not me. My eyes were as heavy as iron bars and my body felt like it was glued to my comfortable bed. But, I'm glad I was used to getting up early at home, so I still got the strength to get up, pray and prepare for another day of hard, physical work.

Breakfast was grrreat! And we hurried to our first location and we arrived on time! We again set up and the energy again was pumping for a great day of evangelism. After the program, we had to pack up and set up at the next scheduled program only one hour away. The school was near but setting up the stage and all was as tiring as doing the program itself. Upon arrival, I was so encouraged to see a small auditorium, no stage, and dirt floor. Hehe, how sarcastic. But in the ministry, you had to look at things in a different perspective. It is always with a servant heart, a love for the people you want to reach, and an attitude of being a part of the solution, not the problem.

Turned out to be a great presentation, (because we got the dramas and the taekwondo perfectly) and a lot of college students were challenged and encouraged to start a relationship with Christ. I met great people in this trip, and mostly my American partners. Their testimonies were movie-like, and their lives were really changed... Some of the guys I met were Stanley and Chuck who were my best buds during the trip.

Stanley is a bagpipe player and he does that professionally in the States. Its somehow interesting because Im enchanted with the bagpipes and it's the first time I ever heard one played live! It's really LOUD! But, as amazing as it is, it's better to meet the player than the instrument! Stanley is amazing and he is very passionate about what he does. Drawing, playing the bagpipes, just sharing his thoughts about life, but most of all, sharing Jesus to others.

The same with Chuck, or Carlos. He is an Italian, first time I ever met a true full blooded Italian! But he grew up in the States and he is a very learned man, being an aircraft mechanic, he is amazing as well! His life story is also very inspiring and he loves the Lord very much. I thought of him as my very own dad, and I love listening to his stories, his insight, his thoughts too!

The best thing about the mission trip is sharing Jesus to a lost people. And seeing them having hope is the greatest reward a missionary can have!

tamperproof worshipper

tamperproof worshipper
rock it for Jesus