Better Together: Team Teaching on Purity

Last Friday I got a chance to share with our Friday Youth Service leaders about a Valentine month ender message on Healthy Boundaries and Purity. I will be blogging about that message soon but I have learned so much just simply bouncing off and getting feedbacks from other people I want to share that experience first.

Studying the Bible

There are just countless of verses to use and numerous angles to take to discuss this so though it took lots of time, there’s just a joy wrestling with God’s word knowing how it will cut your heart first before your intended audience. At the end of it there’s just peace in finally understanding, this is what God wants to communicate from this verse for this specific group of people. Then prayers would flow and now you are really pumped up to finish the whole message.

Embracing Feedbacks

Early on my first years of doing campus ministry, my pastor in Victory Los Baños really trained us on the diligence of writing a message. He challenge us to prepare well and try writing it verbatim, I know this is not for everyone but for me it was really helpful as fully writing it clearly shows my thought pattern, the clarity of the message and the strategy of delivery. Plus it also helps in making very smooth transitions, adding and editing things based on the time given and grammars can also be easily edited as we have a very unforgiving crowd of UPLB students back then. Next is  the diligent process of asking feedbacks, I remember he would really challenge us to finish our messages early, that way we can practice it with him and or the other staff, our messages really comes out way way better than it started. Though this task may seem quite strenuous for some, the saying remains true: “two heads are indeed better than one”

Collaborating with others

For this specific message my first life line was Mye, one of our pastor’s wives and a campus missionary by heart, I know she just spoke about this topic a week ago so I got a copy of her message right away. Her notes really helped me focus on the verse I need to zero in and I got a lot of power lines as well such as:                                                                       God’s standards vs. people’s opinion and experiences                                                You cannot live on borrowed convictions                                                                       Your standards determine the way you act

Maya was next, she’s one of our  diligent theologians in campus ministry and as we have just been from a Systematic Theology class I want to make sure my Bible interpretation was spot on. I’m really glad I passed the test. (yay!) The basic premise of my message was really embracing purity as our God-given identity. Maya expounded my message by explaining to me that its God faithfulness that He gave us standards on purity and He did not leave us clueless on our own. She also emphasised on the rewards of purity

Next I got to call Fidel, my campus director at EN Campus Fort to find out if I’m on the right tract for what he intended the purpose is of the Leader’s Huddle. He added in that he wants the student to really go home hungry for more of the Bible and he wants them to have greater accountability in the context of community. Perfect, it has helped me channel all my applications to really gear towards a deeper understanding of His word and a push for more transparency and vulnerability from our student leaders.

Wrapping things up

Final touches on the message and added in one of Dove’s commercial: When Did you stop thinking you are beautiful? and posted this question in the end “When did you stop thinking you are pure”?  Also inserted some of my I learned it the hard way moments and lots of my past mistakes. I got to bounce it off to Em as well, one of our campus missionaries atEN Campus Fort and she added in this concept of faith, fact and feelings, which was really so good I wish she would blog it as well. One of her powerlines: “Your feelings are valid, but its not always right” (boom! pak!) I’m glad for her affirmations as well on where the message was headed. She wrote a perfect one-liner summarising what I want the students to bring home that night:                                                                   “Purity is not a status to be attained. It is an identity to be lived out.”

Questions and Answers On the actual talk itself, Im super happy that Sonjia (Fidel’s wife) was there along with our other campus missionaries, Ella, Reynette and Em. The discussion was really a joy as all of us are really excited to interact with our leaders and hear their hearts. We all come from different backgrounds and seasons and it made the answers a lot richer.

Final thoughts

Overall I think more than the students learning from us,                              We got to learn a lot from each other as well.

Indeed we are better together!

Lessons from the Legends: Standing Strong

Last Thursday we got the privilege to hear stories of faith, endurance and leadership from 3 legends in ministry, their messages were simple and uncomplicated but it really cuts through our heart and spirit and really spoke volumes to us. Today I’ll share my take on what Ptr. Ferdie imparted to us. Ptr. Ferdie Cabiling is one of the fathers of our movement, he’s been advancing God’s kingdom for decades and he’s one of the senior pastors that I know of who still hasn’t graduated from being a campus missionary as he’s literally evangelizing students every chance he has. He’s currently the director of all our Metro Manila churches.

Ptr. Ferdie’s topic was on standing strong to the finish and it was a breath of fresh air indeed specially with all the good transitions happening in our movement. By default yes we understand and we know that we need to stand strong and stay healthy in the ministry but truth be told along the way we have unnecessarily picked up weights and baggages that unconciously have now accumulated, we have gotten used to and tolerated. I myself am guilty and and I couldn’t happier with God’s conviction in me though the process was quite painful.

Baggages can be as simple as an unhealthy habit that has grown too big over time, little compromises here and there, undisciplined emotions left unchecked, good relationships that requires necessary endings to experience what’s best. Whatever form it might have taken, we are currently carrying it all on our shoulder, we feel it, its slowing us down and taken its toll but we have still allowed, tolerated and indulge it.

The Bible was very clear on what we need to do with it: Hebrews 12:1

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”  NIV

“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily strips us up” NLT

“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” ESV

Let us (intentionally, deliberately) throw off everything that hinders our complete devotion to God, our focus and single-mindedness, anything that distracts or misaligns us from His purposes and perfect will.

a. Throw off any guilt and condemnation of the past and even of the present. Focus yourself on God’s truth.

b. Strip yourself off any unmet and impossible expectations set on you even by good people (or you think they might have)

c. lay aside the pressures of this world, more so your towering expectations of yourself (say this with me: hindi ako perfect :))

d.  let go of legalistic mindsets and convictions, be wary of sticky ideas thats sounds so great and yet not bibilical

e. fight against accusations against your leaders, family, yourself and even God

f. kick out bitternes, anger, fears, selfishness, greed, doubts and unbeliefs

The Bible is clear that in order to finish this race and run with endurance, this we must aggressively do. What a breathe of fresh air indeed for everyone who’s heavy laden, for every heavy heart and downcast spirit. Breathe life unto us Lord. speak your truth in our minds.

Ptr. Ferdie ended his message us by reminding us we have this help:

  1. Cheering Crowd- men and women of faith from ages ago to our current leaders, mentors,family and friends. Look out for for them, reach out to people that will inspire and encourage you to run with endurance.           “Since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith ” Hebrews 12:1 NLT                                                                                          What I gleaned from Ptr. Ferdie’s message was to have a posture of confidence as we are running this race, he would say words like:       “Every time Im preaching and leading, I know (Ptr) Steve is backing me up, I know the apostolic team is behind me cheering me on”.                   He recounted how he literally cried seeing all the pastors and even Ptr. Steve joined him at the finish line of his Run 50 across the Philippines.                                   To all you leaders and ministers out there, never believe the lie that your pastors and mentors are not rooting for you, they believe in you, they want you to finish and succeed. Never mistake the personality, manner nor frequency in which it has been conveyed mislead you into thinking this is not truth.
  2. Champion Coach: Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith                  “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” Hebrews 12:2 NLT                                                           Jesus, the one whose applause only matters, is never out there to see us stumble or fall,rather He has finished the line, won the victory for us and is now walking us through and the only reason that keeps us standing strong.                                                                                                             I’m cheering for all of you!!

 

 

Traveling and faith building part 2

A few days ago my flight has gone and I was left behind as my visa for this dream gift trip has yet to arrive. We live near the airport and the constant sound of airplane passing by is cutting thru my heart. I don’t  know what God’s plan is but Im still believing that another way will be provided amidst all odds. Today Im going to look back again at God’s faithfulness to remind myself that though i might not get to understand all of His ways, His will is always good, pleasing and perfect. May you get encouragements as well as you journey in this faith building called traveling.
There’s a part 1 to this blog by the way and you can find it here:
I was looking for a very simple video to explain how our muscles grow and i found this one:
I find it very unique that before our muscles actually grow, they are first torn and we have to experience pain, before the proteins take action and repair happens.
How apt is it in real life that its almost parallel to how we build our faith muscles, so many seemingly random circumstances turning upside down before turning right side up, so many things will come up, so many questions to be answered before we see God’s actual purpose slowly unfold. No matter how much we try to wish the process is not such, God’s give us grace to endure, hope to keep on moving and faith to keep on looking forward.

Traveling to another continent: The Kenya Missions Trip

There’s a long but beautiful back story to this but for now Im focusing on the journey itself.

I’ve always dream of going to Africa-aside from being really fascinated with their culture, all the people i’ve met from there has easily become my friends and of course the safari!!

One day i just found myself being given an opportunity to join our first ever church-planting in Nairobi Kenya, I have mixed emotions about it. The thought of going to another continent, learning a new culture and planting a church happening all at the same time was quite (understatement) overwhelming to say the least. Nevertheless, by God’s grace, my leader’s affirmation and my friend’s and family’s support, I finally have the courage to go.

First there was the visa needed, I have 3 failed visa attempts going to the US before so this was the first challenge. I tried applying online but after a week long of trying to submit it nothing’s happening, please bear in mind that this was 2 weeks before i have to fly out. I tried doing the manual way but then they are asking new requirements not on the list. Just when i thought of giving up, i tried one last time and then it went thru. Three days later, it was approved miraculously.

Then it was time for the flight to be booked. As all my trips has been historically beating the deadline against all odds, this was no different. Im supposed to fly out Monday and I have set that Friday the week before, provisions by-faith should come otherwise i have to resign that Im not supposed to go. Friday came- I was full of faith!! yeah cmon!
But instead I wasn’t I was in fact too tired of convincing myself to believe
I was crying, praying and wondering why am I going thru this all over again. Then a message came and then a call and with it come’s the miracle of God’s provision. I cried lots because again God proved Himself to be faithful and on time. Kenya here I come!!

You would think that the storm had passed and there’s no more test but wait there’s more.
Hours before my supposed to be flight,there was a problem with my ticket
All my bags are literally packed and yes Im ready to go
After 2 hours of never ending phone calls and follow ups.
Yes I almost barely made it to my flight
But I did and I would never trade any of all these crazy experience for a smoother one

God gave me a crazy opportunity
He approved my visa in 3 days
Provided for my airfare in a week
Rerouted me to a better airlines in 2 hours
I have no contribution to this except my
fears,
tears,
doubts
complaints

Looking back i should have:
a. been more grateful than fearful of every God-given opportunity
b. looked for supernatural provisions than what my feeble sight could see
c. celebrated amidst the last minute mishap knowing that victory was already won

Next time I’ll do better, even as the faith muscles has been torn to pave way for a bigger one 🙂
Cheers to you who’s believing for an impossible miracle
To you who’s situation seems to be hopeless
To you holding on amidst all circumstances

Traveling and Faith Building part 1

As I’m writing this today I,m literally in faith for a trip I’ve been praying for quite some time. Supposedly I should be on the airport right now boarding on the plane going to a birthday trip given by my best friend but it seems other plans are in order. I should not be surprised! The truth of the matter is that all trips I’ve been outside the country were never normal,never worry free and never lacking in both adventures and excitement. You see traveling is one of my faith muscle builders!

My first trip
I had my first trip about 11 years ago, it was our school (School of World Missions) assignment to go on a 10 days Mission Trip and I couldn’t be more excited to travel outside the country for the first time. But the odds are against me, studying for 10 months is difficult as it is and we added in other subjects from ATS (Asian Theological Institute). That time my  financial partnership has dipped in to 50% less and raising partnership for the missions trip was excruciating doing in between reading 1 book a day, homework and not even having money to buy decent food. I did my best and as the song goes it wasn’t good enough to get me what I needed to raise up for the trip. Needless to say I was heartbroken, I have given up and settled things in my heart that I can no longer go.

But God has other plans, a day before my team is about to leave, my team leader called me and told me to go, I have 100 questions to which his reply was only “Bahala na si Lord, He will provide”
I have to wash and packed my clothes until 1am, I woke up late and crazy frantic as I need to travel from Los Baños to Clark for the first time, I packed my literally wet clothes as my friend drove me until Cubao, somehow I arrived in Clark, I was literally running and like in the movies I shouted as I saw my team getting ready for boarding. I made it, it was crazy but God pulled me through.

 

Here’s some nuggets from the faith building exercises God put me in this trip:
Our lack of hope and faith will never be a hindrance for God to move on our behalf. He remains faithful amidst our faithlessness.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to His word and His righteous character], 
for He cannot deny Himself.  2 Timothy 2:13Amplified Bible (AMP)

 

Delays does not necessarily means no, it can sometimes just mean “Wait on God’s way!”

Hopeless situations are God’s specialty, don’t give up too soon.

I know given a choice I would have opted for an easy first time missions trip, but I’m glad that God’s faithfulness ensures I got to exercise my faith muscles every step of the way.

How are your faith muscles being “torn” or stretched recently?
How are you responding to it?
My prayer for you is that you’ll have the tenacity to endure the faith building exercises life throws in at you.

P.S.
Miracles of this trip:
Someone generously paid for my airfare
A family in Singapore hosted our team
Too many people feed us 🙂
I got to go home buying souvenirs for my family
So many miracles indeed
One faithful God to give glory to