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


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 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”.


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, 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!


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.

tamperproof worshipper

tamperproof worshipper
rock it for Jesus