10,000 Hours in the Making

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ImageLast December, I saw a local movie titled 10000 hours, staring Robin Padilla – It’s a movie depiction of a local senator’s account, revealing some secrets about the reason why he was caught and brought in a political scandal, and the ‘said’ truth behind his leaving the country. I’m not really interested in the life of the depicted political figure, nor the details of his escaping the issue; but for the sake of my old-time tradition of watching the Metro Manila Film Festival entries every December, and supporting Filipino movies, I dragged myself to watching the said movie. Surprisingly, it was one of the best (If not the best) entries for that year. What’s really intelligent about the concept of the movie is the counting of the hours the character had from escaping to returning the country with gathered evidences. After which, I started counting hours in some significant events in my life.Image

 How many hours did I stay in the school, taking my primary to tertiary education? How many hours did I spend watching television since I was a kid? How many hours have I waited (and still waiting) for the right… never mind hahaha =)

 This year starts the 11th Class of the School of Campus Ministry here in Every Nation Philippines. The hours continue…

Every class of the School of Campus Ministry, I stay in the classroom as homeroom teacher for 360 hours (12 weeks of 6 hours every day). I started here during the 6th Class (July 2011). Everytime the School starts, I would have that feeling that it’s another ‘long’ season of not seeing the sunlight regularly, waking up earlier so I can be in the School hours before the students come, checking papers, preparing lessons, dealing with schedules and calendars – it looks like it’s never ending… But every time the School ends, there’s that feeling that it all went that easy… and of course the feeling of ‘getting old’. How time flies…Image

Counting the hours, I’m in around 2,000 hours… yet to be worthy of a film. But one thing is sure, I’m excited for what the next hours will be. The season continues. New set of passionate campus-missionaries-to-be. Different stories, different gifting, but the same number of hours ticking to the discovery of greater campus ministry life.Image

Campus Ministry is never tiring!

Bring the hours!!!

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3 Things I learned from Daniel Trinidad

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daniel As some people very wisely say, the way we live our lives, more than what we say or teach others, is the greatest teacher and inspiration of all. And that is very much true in the life of Pastor Daniel Trinidad – Campus Director of Victory Malate Youth, and a great friend. Since he is celebrating his birthday today, allow me to share the 3 things i learned from his life and examples.

1. Security – We do not perform in front of God and people to feed our security issues. Living life to please our creator brings so much security. Sometimes, its easy to get insecure if our efforts were not recognize, nor our talents exposed in front of people – but there is a God who is pleased, even before you say or do something. There will be hard works and sacrifices that will not be recognized by men, but as he always tell me, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10)daniel2

2. Responsibility – Daniel is a very responsible man. I’ve been working with him for almost 6 years now as full time campus missionary, and his work ethics and discipline has grown tremendously. I still remember our early days in the ministry, running our Youth Services – during those times we (with Jr Rivero) will work on the set up and stage design for the service, few minutes before one of us preaches and the other two host and do the technicals. We learn to be multi-taskers by force. There was also a time we fought just because of the distribution of food stubs on our Youth Camp (funny memories). All to say, he has shouldered a lot and grew all the more. Now he’s leading not just our Youth Ministry, but also his very own wife Char Quiaoit-Trinidad and baby Judah =) 

3. Love – We call him in Victory Malate the “love pastor” because of his ability to help people deal with relational issues, from romantic relationships to working as a team. This man is not just a talker of love but someone who demonstrates the love of God in his life. Countless of times do i remember opening up things to him regarding relational conflicts, issues with girls, and even as small as venting out frustrations. He is a good listener; a man of big heart. 

1475811_10153648499445235_43647653_nHappy birthday brother. Thank you for who you are! I always thank God every time I remember you. Continue to inspire many!!!

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On Cue Moments (part 1)

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ImageNagka On-Cue Moment ka na ba? … Yung may mga pinag dadaanan ka sa buhay tapos sakto uulan… And its either titingin ka sa bintana at mag eemo or maglalakad ka sa streets tapos “it hides the tears” ang peg mo. “Rain, gently falls whenever we say goodbye…” Some might not be familiar with this power ballad that my parents listen to during the then-time. Such is the image the rain carries with it… Pain… Suffering… Being broken hearted and a moment of deep confusion that will lead one to a lonely, hurting moment. “I let the pain bring all the rain… If that’s the only way, if there’s no other way to be with you again.” Rain has become an archetype for hurt and pain in music, literature and films. Whether its a “rainy days and mondays” that makes one cry or a desperate “come on in out of the rain” plead to a lover who left someone (usually the girl is abandoned by an unfaithful man – ok fine! Lagi na lang kami ang mali at nangiiwan.) Some people say that everytime its raining, heaven cries with you… Its the heaven’s way of emphasizing with what you feel. “I can make it through the rain, I can stand up once again.” Yan dapat ang peg mo pag may bagyong dumadaan sa buhay mo. Whether its a break up, a family problem, or failure, it should never be final. Sabi nga ni Annie, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” It’s not always a rainy season. May summer din, and surely, you can overcome.man-in-the-rain_zpscc5124dd

I know someone who faced not just rains but storms, yet is victorious… And the more amazing thing is he didn’t just went through storms victoriously, but he has the power to calm the storm and to command it to leave. His name is Jesus. The one who asks us to be still in the middle of the storm. What are the storms you are facing in your life today? Jesus is willing to calm you and to command the storms to end in your life. The question is, willing ka ba? Wag ka na mag emo. He knows how hurt you are. Call to him. Let him be your best friend in this rainy season. That’s really a wonderful “on-cue” moment. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

47 Ronin and the 3rd of Galatians

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keanu_reeves_in_47_ronin_2013-1600x900Who would have thought that after quite some time, Keanu Reeves is back. now as a Samurai in the movie 47 Ronin. Keanu played the character of a lowly “half-breed” named Kai, who is the legend’s true savior. The ronin’s leader, Oishi (played by Hiroyuki Sanada), recruits Kai in an effort to take down Kira, whose intended bride, Mika (Ko Shibasaki), Asano’s daughter, was once romantically linked with Kai.

With all of the debates whether the story is accurately taken from the original historical account, or if the characters are well developed according to who they really are culturally, one thing remains noticeable both in the original (according to some reviews only, I have not read them heheh) and in the rewrites, and now the movie: the struggle of Kai (and the other ronins) to belong. 

 image-47-ronin04There is an obvious discrimination in the setting of Kai, being “half-breed”. He should not ‘belong’ to the original ‘honorable’ samurais. He was conditioned, if not manipulated, to be torn between two citizenship: Japanese and English. Kind of like the position of those who are “God fearing” yet are Gentiles (not Jews) in the Bible. Gentiles were not allowed to have the same status and privileges like that of Jewish people; and no matter how much effort one puts in serving, worshipping, honoring and working hard on having a taste, if not a little glimpse, of such privileges, they are still Gentiles – treated as lower citizens… “half-breed”, not in blood, but in honor. 

 That’s when Paul the Apostle (Should I say, the super hero), rebuked the responsible people in Galatians 3:26-29, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

 As the commentary by Barnes says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek – All are on a level; all are saved in the same way; all are entitled to the same privileges. There is no favoritism on account of birth, beauty, or blood. All confess that they are sinners; all are saved by the merits of the same Savior; all are admitted to the same privileges as children of God.”

There’s no need to work for that honor or status in Christ Jesus. Through His finish work on the cross, and out faith in what he’s done, we are no longer ‘half-breed’ in sin and righteousness anymore. We are a citizen! We are accepted! We belong! 

“I Live for the Applause, Applause, Applause”

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“I live for the applause, applause, applause
I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause
Live for the way that you cheer and scream for me
The applause, applause, applause.”

applause pls

These are the words I would often hear… in public transportation, in christmas parties, in houses nearby… almost everywhere. Lady Gaga’s song “Applause” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Electronic Dance charts in the last quarter of 2013. What is more interesting is the sudden propagation of the song, even in our young people today. 

The song talks about, as the “Mother Monster” herself said, the dignity of a real artist, who should desire to be popular, for in his/her popularity is the real measure of his/her being an artist. Sadly, the song’s message hits not just artists but ordinary people, taking pride in their monster-inspired philosophy of the “self”.

In essence, these can be seen around… people living for applause… people wanting and desiring recognition, praises from others; people bragging about their accomplishments and achievements… people doing everything possible to elevate the “self” more than anything else. 

In a NY Times article, our generation is described as the “…most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation…

While these may be huge a problem in the world, the sad thing is, even the church is not safe from such. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 27:2, “ Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.”

Have you ever heard christians brag about the number of people they’re discipling? What about those who would ask for prayer concerns, only with the intention of announcing how good he is with all the ministry involvements wrapped in a very nice “I need grace” packaging? Then there are those who love to criticize and point out what is wrong in other people or activities. Of course, the Bible also admonishes us to help one another, correct, train, rebuke… but the goal is to build each other up, not to bring them down.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride is a very ugly thing. It is shown by the words we speak (or the manner by which we speak), our treatment of others, the self-serving desire to get into leadership positions, and the appetite for recognition and applause, to name a few. 

The good news is, God has given us enough grace to die to our “self” daily and be humble in all dealings and circumstances.  Scripture says, “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)

I hope that we will be a generation of people who are less of the “self”. 

Don’t live for the applause. 

New Year, New Hope

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Happy-new-Year20140101000143New year always brings new hope to people. No matter how many challenges one faced previously, there is always that desire for new things and fresh start, whenever new year comes. Looking back at what happened the previous year, our nation went through so many challenges. There were political and economical damages revealed, earthquakes and typhoons, and also some territorial disputes and international conflicts, to mention a few. More so, we also faced some personal issues, from academic and career to emotional ones. How many people had problems with relationships? What about people struggling to pass certain courses (or problems getting along with professors)? How many homes were challenged and families destroyed? Yet no matter how many of those challenges knocked in your door and entered abruptly, there’s something about new years that excites us.

The Bible speaks of what God is doing, even during the ancient times, up to now. God is in the business of doing new things amidst us. In Isaiah (43:18-19) It is said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah’s writings to Israel came at a bleak period of their history. They are in captivity, they have lost everything they thought they would keep forever, and they were home sick for the land and the blessing God had promised them. Yet in the time mostly unexpected, the Lord spoke to them such promise.

Simple as it is, the word ‘Forget’ mean ‘let go’ or to ‘cease to think of’. And this is not just in terms of negative things that happened, but also seemingly great things. For some, it it easy to face the new year having the confidence that is anchored on savings, achievements, performances or simply having a disaster-free year last year. The Bible encourages us to even forget those things, and fully anchor our trust in Christ, and not on those.

This scripture also assures us that the God that we worship is an active God. “See, I am doing a new thing…” He is not a silent God. He cares. He is in the business of doing things for us. That’s why He encourages us to “perceive it.” In the original translation, this means ‘to know for certain’ or ‘to have an assurance.’ It is not a question of ‘will God do something?’ but rather, are you ‘ready for what God will do in and through you?”

You might have a tough year last 2013. I hope and pray that those problems will not derail you from the track that God wants you to go through this year! Great things are ahead of us in Christ Jesus!

Do you not perceive it?

Happy New Year!!!