Sunday, May 31, 2009
One thing that I really appreciate about my wife is that she prepares my food and she does it exquisitely! Her specialties are sinigang na baboy, manok, baka. Menudo, afritada, adobong manok, baboy, pusit, and she does Japanese food like Maki, and Korean soups with Kimchi! I also get excited when she sends me a text message to come home asap because she cooked something for me. How sweet! It is true that the best way to man's heart is through his stomach, but I should add: it must go through his taste buds first! Well, my wife is very good a that, she's very caring and always serving me with all her heart. As a couple we pray that we please the Lord the same way she pleases me! I thank God for her...
Sunday, May 24, 2009
In this entry, I am actually going to be dead honest with my church's flaws and strengths. I may be a little biased, but I will be as factual as I can be.
Let me start off at my personal history in our church. This is where my family met the Lord, and where I grew as a Christian. Our Christian journey started here, and to that fact alone, I am grateful. Ive never been part of another church, nor did i desire to transfer membership because I see so much blessing and exciting things happening in our ministries, some we started, some we continued, and some we are going to begin with. My experience with church in the beginning is alittle disappointing to me because I had all the wrong reasons about church... give me a break, i was an eight year old boy! Up to around 15 years old, church was as boring to me until small groups were instituted. At around the same time, the church leadership found it as God's leading to transition the type of music to use in the singing... contemporary. At the same time, the Lord was exposing me to all the "rock" "worldly" music and was getting good at it. And at the same time I was going through a lot of emotional stress about family, school (fraternity), and a broken off relationship to a two year courtship-turned seven-month girlfriend.
All the "bad" things God was allowing me to go through, He was cooking up something good for me too! And that was to be used by Him. Our church would've grown as much, reached as much, trained as much, even if I werent there... see its not about me. Its all about God's will being done, and us wanting to be part of it. I was called, and I responded, and I was used...according to His will, through the pastor's leadership.
That is a concept I really hope people new and old will grasp. I am not as financially blessed as others, not as talented or good looking, intelligent or powerful, not at all. But I have a blessing that I am NOT mad at anyone, nor do I know of anyone mad at me. I cant think of anyone tahtI hold a grudge against, and vise versa. Right now, I feel alot of respect almost everywhere I go, and I give respect to almost everyone I know! The only ones I know I've offended are those who go against God. What am I driving at? I am saying that the concept of submission TO GOD, not necessarily to your Pastor or your parents, will reap good results, specially in your area of leadership, influence, and relationships.
I recently was exposed to alot of negative comments about our church, which I also give credit to, and to a degree I agree, but, I see that the comments were coming from a bitter or a hurt heart. Whenever I sense that, I always set my guards up and sense if this is from the Holy Spirit, or from, as i said, a neglected person.
All churches have flaws. That's why we need Christ to lead us. There are mega Churches who are doing great in their ministries, and I praise God for that, but the Lord has instituted local churches for DIFFERENT tasks. The same way he has gifted us as individuals differently, some uniquely, some similarly, but generally, we are gifted for a purpose... His purpose. We get to pool our gifts together, and become a powerful entity lead by a powerful Spirit to a common goal and that is to accomplish His will in this earth. I see churches with excellent musicians as examples, models for our own church family. I see mega ministries as an inspiration, leadership and structure as a guide, but not as a competition, and though they are models, I do not aspire to BECOME them. My goal is to learn from them. The only person we should be like is Jesus.
I have my own dreams and goals for our church. I desire good things for our church. I envision greatness and awesome ministries, but it is not my task to do that. God has anointed a person for that task, and we should respect and submit to that structure. We can suggest, we can help start, we can act under blessing, but we must not put in ou self the burden of leading the church when we are not the leader. A ship with many captains cannot succeed. I know of many people who are neglected and their opinions are sometimes thrown aside... it is a hurtful experience when a church is supposed to be a haven of rest, and a spiritual shelter to the hurting and to the broken. We leave the church when our needs arent met, or when we think we arent growing anymore.... a legitimate reason. But i see it as an excuse.
We go to church to worship God in a congregational setting. We go to church to serve others and serve with fellow believers. We go to church to be used by God for His glory. We go to church to learn and be equipped. Sadly, most church goers' reason is to be blessed... and others entertained. They say "I need to be blessed by the message because I am not growing anymore", for me though legitimate, is a lame reason to go to church, much less leave the church!
Let me give some background on some basics: First, we go to church to BLESS GOD first, and it is up to Him to bless us. In Psalms 103, and many other scripture it is said to "Bless the Lord o my soul and all that is within me!" We should bless God, as an imperative. Now, other scripture mentions "MAY the Lord bless you and keep you..." "Keep His commandments, and He will surely bless you..." it is UP TO HIM to bless us, not us earning His blessing.
Second, discipleship is done in a one to one basis, or at most small group basis. Not a Sunday basis. We congregate to worship together. And if we are blessed by the message then Praise God! If not, maybe you are not listening closely, or your "better" talents in preaching can be excercised through writing your insight and sharing it to a smaller group of people... maybe you need to become a small group leader since you're so good at the exposition and rightly dividing the Word. And if you faithfully do that, you will, I tell you, be used someday to teach it to the congregation. But wait for your turn...and more rightly said, earn for your turn.
If the direction of the Pastor isnt in line with the direction God has given you, then leave the flock graciously, and without causing trouble. Leave with a blessing, not a bad word to say. In that, you are sinning. Again, the pastor can only reach a certain group of people for a certain time... language and social barriers become difficult to address, and the only way to reach a wide spectrum of the audience is to provide multiple services, in which you can do only so much... you would need help, but who is there to help? Most complainers and suggesters are often those who are not helpers or those who dont make much difference in the church. Because those who are really passionate about the church's welfare do something about the problem, and not throw it at the pastor's feet and wait until he does something about it. A wiser way to do that is to suggest your idea to the person delegated to that area of responsibility. If it concerns music, talk to the music director first, if it concerns children's sunday school, talk to the sunday school head, if it concerns beautifying the church facilities, talk to deacons or the elders, etc. The Senior Pastor cannot possibly keep track of all the church's problems.
Nobody taught me these concepts. I didnt read it from a manual. But it is taught by the Bible, and I simply noticed it through experience, and by humbly submitting to authorities, and loving the church passionately. Sure, there is always room to improve, members constantly give me suggestions which are practical and good, but they are not always possible. Some suggestions are good but you cannot do simply because you lack workers or equipment, or the even the know-how to accomplish it. And yes, often, we lack the funds. And sometimes their comments or suggestions are simply dumb. And when you dont do their suggestion, whether good or dumb, because of a number of reasons, they become bitter and spread to everyone their bad feelings. I see it as a pattern and this should stop! Besides, a leader is placed in that position because he is responsible for that area. If he doesnt do a good job, yes people suffer, but it is God who will replace him for not accomplishing his work. It is a God-thing. If your pastor isnt anointed to lead the church, God Himself will remove him.... and it is not OUR job to do that. Our job is to submit, as long as his authority is based on the WORD of God and He is acting as a servant of God, not a Boss to the children of God. He is a shepherd, a leader, a visionary, a model. We are supposed to follow that model in Christ to avoid divisions, splits, ad church deaths.
I personally grew in my spiritual walk because of my mentors in a different organization.. IVCF. I learned because I read my Bible, and I read books from trustworthy authors, and reputable theologians, and my church reinforces those. I didnt depend on my church for growth. I depended on God for that. The church is very instrumental in accomplishing this, but if not, maybe you should become an equipped leader, and help the church do that. Not leave the church for some selfish ("I'm not growing here" mentality) reason.
The only reasons I see for a person to leave the church is when he/she is called to a different ministry, when he/she is absolutely going against God's laws, when that person has a different leading/calling/ direction of ministry, and maybe a handful of others.. but not because he is not satisfied with how the church is being managed.
I personally am so blessed with my church. It has a lot of flaws, and all our leaders are flawed as well, including me. But working together with my leaders and co workers is such a pleasure and I find it so fulfilling to be used in our ministry. If the time comes that I am needed or called to another ministry, then I shall leave my church so I can bless others, because I have been a blessing enough to it, and I have trained better people to do my job.
I am quickly approaching my 31st year and man, time flies so fast! My peers tell me at least (its a consolation) that I dont age as fast, i really hope as I age, I may grow spiritually, emotionally, responsibly, and FINANCIALLY!!! hehehe
Well, with regards to last years financial performance, it was alot better. This year's global economic crisis affected my flow of clients and I am now honestly thinking of where to get the extra that God steadily provided last year. I dont worry. I hope I never will. I need to think of how and where to get the money the Lord is preparing for me to get.
The only option I am open to now is, to prepare my fields for the rain, which i dont know when, but when it does, I am ready. And that is by practicing cello religiously again, so when ops come, I am not dumbfounded. I am also thinking of making new songs and recording the old ones I've made so I am busy even in "dry" times.
SO with that said, I am not discouraged even in these tough days, though really I am, I find my strength, security, and success in Christ's promise.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Hello, to start off, I would like everyone to know I am a full-pledged Christian and a die hard follower of Christ. On the other hand, I am also a thinker, logic-based, not-blind-faith guy. Like the atheist, I must depend on facts to support my belief,or faith. But I cannot say that strictly on the definitions of faith and science. Science, or at least PURE science are conclusions based on observable facts. Apart from that we can theorize, conjecture, hypothesize, etc. Any statement outside of the OBSERVABLE realm is a stement of belief, of faith and i should say a "religious" statement. Say, I declare that there is a God is not a scientific statement, for He cannot be observed, though there are evidences of His existence. On the strict definitions, God is, yes, just a theory, based on evidence and documentaries (authentic or not). The same way I look at science's theories like electrons, which is the theory of electromagnetivity, and of course, evolution, the theory that we and all living creatures have a common, primitive origin. These are theories with bases, BUT, are statements outside the TRUE science of observable data. They are purely hypothesis based on what was experimented, and observed with evidence available today. That is why it is a theory. So, is it right to call God a Theory? Based on these definitions, Im afraid so. So I personally have stepped outside of these definitions and have declared BY FAITH, (statement based on faith) that there is a God. I have concluded based on what I have heard from the Bible (which is a historically authentic document), based on the logic of the five basic laws of science, that there has to be a Creator, an Intelligent Designer above us who started it all, who has the ability to create from nothing, but He Himself cannot be created for He is outside of our saptial and temporal dimension. Yes, I declare this statement of faith, there is a GOD.
Now, I accept that the atheists or the evolutionists have the same stand. They choose to believe on whatever they believe based on what they have observed. Based on their evidence, which they believe to be authentic, and they believe to be true. My observation is this: alot of those are statements of faith also, and they formulate all sorts of theories to support their hypothesis, gathering evidence along the way to somehow cement their findings. Which is true for some Theists too, who formulate a doctrine and find Biblical support taken out of context. Both are true in both camps.
Now, with regards to the authenticity and popularity as a basis for what is right and accepted, I find a most interesting observation: Science has more followers who actually NOT believe oin a created world, a created biology, and all simply because they choose to NOT accept the story of the Bible, who accounts the universe as a creation of God, full, complete and perfectly functional. To repeat my stement above, they cook up all sorts of experiments and archeological digs to explain their theories. However, I am pleased to know that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER TO PROVE THE BIBLE WRONG, only to evidence to support their beliefs, but not to DISPROVE the Scripture. Never has any evidence been found, and fortunately, new found scientific discoveries actually support myteries which are IN LINE with Biblical accounts. AMAZING! Science actually complements and reinforces the Bible! Going back to who believes more, I have noticed that more students believe the "scientists" more simply because more of them support the theory that there wasnt any Creators and that there is no god. More scientists join the band wagon because more of them choose not to be accountable to God. They choose to believe in the philosophies, theories, and beliefs of the scientific world. Therefore, according to them, God is not real because MORE, "scientists" believe so. "They are the experts, they know more than I do, therefore, I believe them!"
However, it is true also for the Theists who want to play the popularity game. About 3/4ths of the entire population of the world (and a vastly bigger percentage based on all people who lived since the start of civilization) believe in a Higher Being/s. Now, more than half of the worlds population believes in ONE GOD. Only a small percentage believe in YAHWEH, the God of the Bible, but still, according to the popularity game, a vast majority believes in God. In respect to this, can we assume that the atheists and the scientific community(selective) are wrong?
Another issue arises as we observe within both camps, much are really undecided! Maybe 90-95% of the members of each camp (Theists and atheist) believe not because they want to but because they're playing safe, or simply believing blindly because they were born that way, to their community's or soceity's belief systems. Not because of personal quest to know, to find out, to investigate. To illustrate, many atheists become atheists simply because they had a disappointing encounter with "god". Their prayers werent heard, or a tragic event happened, and the God they used to believe in was silent. Most Theists on the other hand believe in their God, but really never want to follow what He teaches. They use Him as a crutch, an easy explanation, sometimes an escape from reality, taking their belief completely out of context. Which for me, is really not a theist, but an agnostic. People who dont care whether there is a god, or believes only when it is convenient. There are many Biblical teachings that contradict their lifestyle or philosophies but they say that it is old fashioned and socially out of date. Therefore they adopt other teachings, knitting a quilt of beliefs to fit their wants, not really submitting to a particular faith. The Convenient Religion. Most theists are members if this one. Accepting everything "science" teaches them, and all sorts of convenient philosophies and practices, because they fear they will be labeled as a Christian Freak, or a Scientific Atheist. So they balance between the two, to play safe.
Here is the conclusion of the matter: according to Joshua, ..."Choose you this day, whom shall ye serve? (yourself, your convenient religion, the atheists-humanists, scientific theories, or God, the Everlastic Father of the Bible) As for me and my house, we shall serve the LORD." That is what I've done, and I hope you choose your side wisely. Make that statement of faith. Choose which side of the fence are you on... and stay on it until proven wrong.
Going to the next
I hope you guys are following my thought.
Friday, May 8, 2009
I have often gotten into "debates" with atheists and they have always managed to somehow end the debates as a stale mate. They never convinced me, but sadly, i never convinced them. The only positive thing about this is that i know my faith in Jesus can never or at least not easily shaken. I have indeed a solid Rock as a Foundation. I owe this to my church, my parents, my mentors in IVCF, and most specially to God. Going back to debates, I have really learned from those experiences that no one can win the argument. They have points, I have points, they can say anything they want (not all), you have to control your temper (not all too) because what you say reflects your faith... its difficult to get across because your foundation of faith is theBible, which they dont believe. You go to science and logic as an argument, they throw valid questions but answerable only if you believe in the Bible (because most questions they throw the Bible addresses, and amply answers). However, these arent acceptable answers for the "scientific" mind, since from a worldly, or in other words, secular and observable standpoint, our answers do not logically fit. We say this is where faith comes in, they say that is another reason we are laughed at. We throw in answered prayers, miracles, they become insultingly sarcastic and say they are coincidences... weird, a constant coincidence. Statistics (a science itself) will say otherwise since the probability of this happening at a constant rate is like winning the lottery over and over again. Probable, buit highly improbable.
I have often thought of not using God's Word to refute them, thinking I can defeat them on their ground. (occasionaly I have shut up some atheists) but I never won an argument. I can only achieve this much. My Pastor told me and some friends too that I am wasting my time since I can never accomplish my goal. Praise God if I do, but my commission is to make disciples, share the Word, not convince the atheist. I must introduce them to God, if they reject, then so be it. What my pator said struck me, if I do throw to them their own flaws (which often is an unanswered issue), it returns void. If you throw them God's Word, it NEVER returns void. It can change thier hearts, challenge them to think it over twice, or make them admittedly guilty of their rejection of the Holy Spirit... which is a sin against Him. If you continually reject Him, your sins can never be forgiven in the first place... making it the unforgivable sin.
On the other hand, I do admire the Christians in the scientific community who are researching and experimenting, making formulae and trying to topple the arguments of our friends the atheists, evolutionists, etc, with their research. That is the war they are called to fight. I would love to join that army actually, and I often find myself a soldier in that company, but I am ill equipped, and my strengths are called to a different battlefield: and that is to show love and give love. Be an example of success, be excellent in what you do, be fruitful, encourage others, serve others, be salt and be light. Worship as a lifestyle. That is my calling. Now with that said: atheists, I may or may not come back to our battleground, but watch out, Love is heading your way.