Friday, July 16, 2010

Temple Invasion

"Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT). Paul wrote these words to counter the Corinthian sex obsession. "Run away from sexual sin!" reads the prior sentence. "No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body." (v.18 NLT).

I am a man whose testimony publicly is clean from sexual stains. My words are clean, my house is clean, my relationship is securely pure, and from a public standpoint I can pass as a "livable" temple of the Holy Spirit.

BUT no. I am as filthy as everyone else. As dirty as the adulterer and as malicious as the maniac in the street. The Bible also says that if you look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery with her. How sad, that I am a guilty sinner in thought, and in standing before God.

Recently, when the power failures happened in the whole of Luzon, I was forced to go to the mall and spend the time there to cool off. I was alone, and I wanted to watch a movie. So after parking, I was surprised to see that almost everyone else had the same idea. The mall was brimming with beautiful and attractive ladies, from teenager up. I found myself thinking I was a single man, and I played with the thought of girl-watching, since my wife wasnt around. By the way,my wife and I do girl-watch and its quite different when Im with her, I sort of appreciate the beauty of ladies,and I thank God whenever I look at my wife, because she is very attractive indeed. BUT, when I am alone,I cannot girl-watch, because I suddenly become somebody else. I was constantly rebuking myself telling myself, "What's wrong with you? You're supposed to be filled with the Spirit, thinking about things of the Spirit..."

I really need a smack in the head. Get myself focused on the things of God, and not on the things of this world. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, i should not sin against my body...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ravi Zacharias' answers to atheists

Steps to debunk Darwin’s Evolution Theory regarding the Existence of God.

1. However you section physical reality, you take the physical universe as you see it, however you slice it down to its minutest form, the fact of the matter is you end up with a physical entity or quantity that does not have reason for its existence in itself. Ultimately, the physical universe reduced in any form cannot explain its own origin. It has to find its explanation outside of itself which means the FIRST explanation of the universe as we see it has to have something NON-PHYSICAL (Spiritual) as a first cause. So, you have something like a “haunted” universe without knowing what the FIRST cause is.

2. Next you come to the argument not from design but TO design. If you walk into a planet and come across a McDonald’s wrapper or letters of the alphabet, you immediately know that there is information there. Logic tells you that when you see information, you assume that prior to that information is a mind. You don’t just think that Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus accidentally came together, or the dictionary developed because of an explosion in a printing press. There is sequence to the whole thing. If you take just the composition of the enzyme in the human component, which is the building block of the gene, which is the building block of the cell, the possibility of the human enzyme coming together by random says Vic Ramsinky professor of applied mathematics in Cardith, Wales, the possibility of that happening by chance is 1/10 to 40,000!! That’s more than the number of atoms of the whole universe! It is, time-wise and mathematically impossible! So I say to you no.1 the physical quantity cannot explain itself number two, there’s intelligibility which assumes there is a prior mind… so the first case there something non physical, second case there is something intellectual, and

3. …third, in the history of society, human experience, and history itself you begin to realize that the moral issues, the social issues and just human intercourse, demands the explanation of a moral reality. So you have a FIRST CAUSE that is spiritual, a FIRST CAUSE that has a mind, and a FIRST CAUSE that needs to explain morality. You take these three struggles, and pause with me for a moment here, there are four fundamental questions in life: ORIGIN, Meaning, morality and destiny. You take these four questions, and these three explanations needed, and only GOD is big enough to explain this universe!

QUESTIONS from an atheist student regarding the existence of God:

Student: How can you talk about the existence of an all- loving and all-powerful God when there is so much moral and gratuitous EVIL in the world? Doesn’t that strike you as contradictory?

Ravi: Stay with me for a moment, because I have questions for you: When you say there’s such a thing as evil, aren’t you assuming there’s such a thing as good?

Student: Yes, I accept.

Ravi When you say there is such a thing as good, are you saying there exists a moral law, so as to differentiate between something good and something evil?

Student: I accept that as well.

Ravi: So if you pose that there is a moral law, then you should suppose there is a moral LAW GIVER, but that is what you were trying to disprove and NOT prove!

If there is NO law giver, then there is no moral law, if there is no moral law, there is no such thing as good, if there is no good, then there is no way to define evil, so WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Asking God How to Die

We often ask that huh? Many times I think of these morbid thoughts, as I know that our “time” is inevitable. Yes, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but we all have to die. Generally, we all dread the thought of dying. Some of us don’t, because we’ve accepted the fact, but we dreamily hope we die a peaceful death.

Why am I talking about this anyway? Well to begin with, I am surrounded by dying people, some have gone, some are going, and some are facing the certainty of death. I fear to lose my loved ones in a painful death, such as cancer, or cruelty, or in the hands of evil people. I pray that I don’t die of cancer myself! I often pray to God, in all of the ways of going, I would certainly like mine to be meaningful, not pathetic. I hate it when we die because of some drunk kid driving and runs us over. Or because we were too busy talking to someone on the phone we get run over by a bus. I also hate to die of sickness. I know its going to be painful. Hope and worth dwindles as you see people around you move on with life and you don’t make a difference anymore. I dread that.

I often envision myself dying for God, for His cause, or sacrificing my life for my country, for fellow men, or protecting my loved ones… all those noble ways of dying. And how we’re going to be remembered and honored on our eulogies. People might erect a remembrance of your heroism, or name a hall or classroom in your honor. And then we smile and say, that would be an awesome death.

But, as often as I forget my stuff when leaving, I am again smacked in the head with reality. I remembered how my mom died, how many great people in my life passed on, and their mode of death wasn’t as glorious as most of us would like. They died unexpectedly, in the prime of health, or with a sickness they thought they would never have.

Then God moved my heart and I realized IT’S NOT HOW WE DIE, BUT HOW WE LIVED. We cannot choose(well some of us can) how and when we die, but we can all choose how and when to LIVE for God. This made me stop thinking of having a glorious death, when we can live a glorious life! We can stop thinking of how many people would think I am a hero when I die, when we can be appreciated by helping people around us now while we are alive!

So, with that said, whether we live or die, our lives must be guided by the words of the Apostle Paul: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

O Worshiper: Shame on Me, Shame on You!

It has been ages since I last dropped an entry to my blog… in the recent events of my life, I went through a lot of suffering, challenges, trials, and to be honest I am not sure if these burdens are really through… and as to my other burdens, I know God has a plan to bring them all in to fruition, in His time.

Recently, I was faced with issues regarding priorities, personal dreams, and even comparisons to the success of others, which I selfishly thought I deserved more. Shame on me. Shame on me. Sometimes, promotions, successes, blessings of others make us feel uncomfortable, and to the extent we think we deserve it more than other people. Well, though I knew it, I believed it, I was smacked in the head for actually feeling it. Before I shame myself more, I thank God for putting me back to my senses.

One of my pastors told me regarding that issue was that God wasn’t concerned with my temporal success (in this world), but He was more concerned in how I reflect His Son. I put that in my wall post in Facebook, and instantly, a lot of my friends felt the same encouragement/rebuke from that statement. Putting my own life experiences into that perspective, I found a lot of errors in my life and how I worshipped God personally.

Bear with me as I bare my heart. Again, shame on me. Shame on me. I’ve written a lot of wonderful songs which I believe was impressed upon my heart by the Scriptures and by truths I’ve learned from God. Semantically, I can’t say they’re written by God Himself because that would equate my songs with the Bible! So, I safely say these songs were impressed upon my heart by the Scriptures and by truths from God. Going back to my point, I enjoy writing for God’s people when they worship, I enjoy writing for encouragement, challenge, edification, even rebuke, and in all honesty I desired God’s glory in all that I do. I know my heart wanted to glorify God more and exalt Him in all my music. That is probably why the church (at least my home church) loves the music I write for worship, because they’re all for God’s glory.

But in light of recent events, I noticed my heart began to change. Some motives weren’t right. Some plans were selfish. Some of my desires were for personal gain. In this blog, I want everyone to know my dreams and frustrations. My personal dream is to see the nations worship. Yup, until now I desire that, before I lay to rest I desire that to happen. The way I see this to happen is for me to be used by God to write music that does exactly what I wrote above. Being a University of the Philippines student, I desired for my country to be placed on the music map, so I challenged myself to write our own music that would be loved by many churches around the world. Not only did I desire to bless God, but the Body of Christ as well. Now, I prayed that the Lord would lead me to people who can help me record these songs He has allowed me to write, produce them, distribute them to many people/countries, etc, and that way I could somehow indirectly lead people into worship and realize my dream of seeing the nations worship God. But after many connections, many opportunities with local and foreign artists, I still am left with nothing but a dream. A very noble, Godly and spiritual dream in the onset right? Nay, I realized it isn’t. No matter how spiritual I make it sound, it is tainted with the single-lettered word: “I”.

I felt God’s loving rebuke as I was singing worship songs in my room this evening, I noticed something wrong in the right things that I do. I was more concerned with the new tuning my guitar had (open D tuning),and I was more concerned with my voice’s timbre, style, and even thinking of how the song would be LIKED by the people, how the musicians would enjoy playing this one, and how this would sound instrumentally.. while worshipping God(multi tasking!). That mood can only be allowed in creative occasions, when, though it is also worship, we as artists try to make a song-offering better, and more smoothly written, musically sound, and poetically consistent. Now, I want to make it clear that this isn’t the same mood when I wrote my songs…Exact opposite. My mood this time was: I know I can sound better, sing better, play guitar better, write music better, be a better musician than so and so, WHILE I WAS WORSHIPPING GOD! Scary. And I felt so spiritual too! (See, feelings and emotions aren’t the best gauge for worship) And then in my Bible reading after, I read this simple verse: "Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it."
Numbers 21:17

I saw that Israel sang when the Lord has done great things. They sang in response to something God has done. It was all about Him. Psalms 103 says “Bless the Lord,O my soul, and all that is within me,bless His holy name!”. But when I was singing tonight, I realized I was singing so that I could be deemed a better worshipper by other people, not by God. I lost sight of the true meaning of worship! It was FOR God! I sing to praise Him, not to be praised and appreciated by other musicians! And in effect, that’s all I can get if I had that heart: appreciation from “lesser” musicians. The Ultimate Musician (God) wasn’t at all pleased with my heart, much less my music. It was a mediocrity if sang/written with a selfish motive.

I know how easily I fall into the trap of the carnal body I have. I pray that my fellow worshippers would stop worshipping music, even their ministries, stop trying to reach others more than reaching God Himself, stop advancing our own bands, our names, our churches, our organizations in “His” name, when we know they are all tainted with the word “I”.

I know I am prone to fall into this category in a matter of days, weeks, so I seek for God’s grace and rebuke. But if you, O believer, should look into your own soul and find that we have the same troubles, same struggles, well, shame on you too. Shame on you. Wake up to the fact that it’s all for God, and that’s all that matters.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Against the Flow (new song)

I wrote a new song for Nikki Gil. Please pray that it would pass their standards, if ever it is accepted, this would be the first time I would have a professional sing my compositions! Nikki has been a friend since way back 2005, and she has been a gracious recording artist (with the help of her mom, ate Sol, Ian and Nikko) as she agreed to sing my worship song "Take Me". I was so excited to have someone like her sing the song, and she said she loved it! Again I was given another opportunity to send a song demo, just in case my song passes, to be included in her upcoming album. I passed one op before when I didn't put any effort in sending one, when her producer/manager/mom gave me a rare chance to be part of her last album. I was not only irresponsible, but i was dumb. The Lord gave me another op when Tita Julie (her Mom) sent me a text mesage two days ago saying I might be interested in submitting a song for her new album, and she needed a Christian/inspirational themed one. Its an honor to be considered as a contributor, and that alone is already a great accomplishment for me. So I stayed up late last night, and started making a song. It was supposed to be a Mylie Cyrus style, country rock, pop song, but when I heard The Climb, its songwriting class was way above mine! I thought it was impossible to make a similar one, or even one that stands close to it! Whatever the case, I started working on it. I admit, I cant do it. So I prayed to God to help me write the lyrics, tune, chords, arrangement, style, etc. Jacqui my sister gave some input and she was more than willing to help except that it was late so she had to go home. I stayed up to until 2:30am working on lyrics and melodies, rhythmic patters, etc. and it was so frustrating! I finally said, whatever the outcome, let the Lord work in it. So i slept and at around 2pm this afternoon, i started recording a demo of it. Since the melody isn't finalized yet, I didn't ask my sister to sing it yet... So i decided to sing in a female voice, just to experiment. Well, after a few tries and a few revisions, I finished a whole song worth of my "female" voice. And since I thought it practical to submit the demo, it really didn't matter if I sung it or whoever, Nikki is supposed to sing it herself, so its just a study track. Well, I just sent the demo to Tita Julie, and I'm praying that the Lord would move through the song and make it as touching and encouraging to people who have lost hope in fighting for a better and brighter future. Ladies and gentlemen, "Against the Flow", written and performed by myself for Nikki Gil's upcoming album. Hope y'all like it!

Against the Flow

Theodore Amper

2009 botbydbludmusic

I find myself, drifting in a river of aimless streams

I cannot help, but float in the direction of broken dreams

I need the strength to turn my life around

It aint too late to start anew

I’ll never stop, won’t give in

There is hope, and strength within

I must ri----se, no matter how much I fall

I’ll lift my head, fight again

Though the current takes my strength

The world must know, I swam against the flow

Swam against the flow…

I wouldn’t just believe, what the world dictates my heart should do

Though they take me as a fool, I’ll remain in my convictions and follow Truth

Even if the mountain’s high (high), even if I cant yet see the Source of this call

I will trust that in its time, I will reach my destination (and) it was worth my all

I realize, Im not alone

I’ll need Your strength to carry on

I’ll never stop, won’t give in

There is hope, and strength within

I must ri----se, no matter how much I fall

I’ll lift my head, fight again

Though the current takes my strength

The world must know, I swam against the flow

BRIDGE: (F#m –G#m-A..)

I know its not the easy road, to believe when others wont

I know its gonna take some faith, so be strong and trust in the Lord!

Never stop, don’t give in

There is hope, and strength within

You must ri----se, no matter how much you fall

Lift your head, fight again

Though the current takes your strength

The world must know, you swam against the flow

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Wife's Cooking

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

SUMULONG BAPTIST CHURCH, and how it has been instrumental in changing my life and countless others

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.

tamperproof worshipper

tamperproof worshipper
rock it for Jesus