Where your priorities are, there your time will be. Personal well-being is just as important as our external priorities. When we are healthier on the inside, we live better lives and thrive despite life’s challenges.
No one else will take care of your well-being but you alone. In order for us to continue to serve the world, our private world has to be in order.
Below are 3 areas of our well-being and some suggested habits we can build to to help enrich it.
Mental / Emotional / Spiritual Aspect
Creating morning routines
Working on a meaningful project
Taking trips on a weekend
Joining fitness classes
Spending time in Nature
Have a good enough sleep that works with your body rhythm
Spending quality time with love ones
Talking to family and friends over the phone
Attending cultural or sporting events.
In order for us to keep serving and loving others, we need to learn to love and take care of our self first; that is being intentional of a healtheir you inside – out.
How about you? What best practices for well-being helps you the most? Or what new habits for well-being will you be starting this year? I’d like to hear from you at the comment section.
Me and my friends participated the sprint race category at the spartan race held at Alviera, Porac,Pampanga last October 27, 2019. This was my first time to ever join an obstacle course challenge, which consisted of 5 KM and 20 Obstacles. This race category is perfect for benginners and thank God my friends choose this.
I thought I came prepared, I had 3 months of endurance training prior to this event, but the moment we where lining up for the registration under the scorching heat of the sun it was already draining the life out of me. It turns out I didn’t have the endurance for the weather and scorching heat has always been a weakness for me. On the 3rd obstacle of the race I felt my body was shocked with the heat. Asking myself, where did all my preparations went? Though I did prepare, I can now say I was under prepared to what came that day.
Disappointment hit me, when I failed the monkey bars while my teammates made it well and I had to do my first 30 burpees in return, causing my team to wait, I have observed that my body was constantly catching breath after that, heavily breathing even as I slowly walked towards the next obstacle station, that was the Atlas Stone Carry, this was just a 6Okg stone ball, this was frustrating for me as I couldn’t lift it up. I felt life was coming out of me, while my teammates made it through, I was taking time and felt I was delaying them. But my teammates was very supportive and encouraging, they help me lift it up, assisted all through until I’m done with the atlas carry.
It was a humbling experience and the most physically exhausting challenge I ever had in life in so far, I wouldn’t have survived it if not without my teammates who helped and gave so much encouragement during the most difficult and struggling obstacles. During the sandbag and bucket carry, I had to stop several times and just catch up some air, spartan racers who would pass by me, utterred simple yet very encouraging words. Those words of kindness help me kept going but quitting was not an option. This race made me appreciate so much teamwork and life made more meaningful because of others.
Though making it through the Spartan race with a medal can be a bragging right. The medal reminded me more of undeserved grace. For now I will push harder and will continue to challenge my own limits as I prepare for Spartan Race 2020. Thankful to God above all else for this experience.
This year’s single’s getaway theme was “PAUSE”. In a busy world and with our minds filled with things to do and life pressures, hiting the pause button is exactly what we need.
And here’s the reason why I love this year’s experience and if this will done again, I would definitely come and even if I would be married by that time.
▪️ It was more of Physical Rest. We normally think of more session and having team building games, that somehow kept you busy and mentally equip at these type of events. But instead we were given more time to sleep! Which is exactly what we needed, being a generation that’s highly deprived of sleep.
It was my first time ever to enjoy a siesta! A good after lunch sleep. And that was really refreshing.
▪️ It was more of a Personal Reflection. The session was less of a talk but rather lead us to an activity that help us reflect and see our personal journey in life through the consolation and desolation cycle activity. I have realized so much that despite the desolations I went through in life, God always provide a consolation. Through this activity it showed me that no matter what happens next, I will still see God’s goodness. That was really, faith building for me. I love the fact that I was able to share it with fellow participant and prayed about it.
▪️ It was about listening to God through his words. Again this session was of less talk from the facilitator but more on hearing God through the reading of the word. It was at this time I felt God speaking loudest in my life and actually Him giving a word to what I have been praying for the past few weeks.
This is really what I really needed most, a much needed time to hear God and away from the busy life. This getaway provided that avenue. It was more of an equipping in a way we can do in our daily life. Hiting pause is like a life reset button.
▪️ A much needed silence and solitude. The venue was so perfect and beautiful, it actually provided the environment for a much needed silence and solitude, which was actually encouraged during our stay at Balay Indang.
At this day and age, the principle and practice of silence and solitude is what a digital busy age needs. Even away from digital devices. It’s a good time to reconnect with our inner most being, acknowledge and name the underlying emotions that matters most to God the Father.
▪️ Friendships was forge organically. There was absence of pressure of meeting people nor mingling with via activities. It just became organic as we connect with one another over the sumptuous meals we enjoyed and board games we played.
▪️ It was about hitting the pause button, not about being single. Maybe the most dreadful part of being in a single getaway is the feeling that you get why you are still single? That feeling of being matched? Maybe of being fixed? (Singleness don’t need to be fix) And you don’t want to be part of it again. Thank God this was all about a much needed Pause and connecting to God, that really ministered most.
To the organizing team! (photo above) Thank you! We appreciate you! That was the best ever so far!
More photos below: (Food, Venue, Wonderful People)
Summer youth camps are just around the corner! For instance, Every Nation Campus Ortigas will be holding its youth camp titled “Wildfire” on May 25 – 27, 2019 at Caliraya, Laguna.
In reality, youth camps can be pricy but finance should not be hindrance. How can a student like you be able raise funds? Below are list of suggestion.
1. Pray & Save
Yes! Pray first, remembering to ask God for provision and wisdom in doing the fundraising. God is our ultimate provider and hold on of His promises from the bible.
Save money, and set aside from your allowance. You may need to make some sacrifices maybe by skipping a few Starbucks drinks, KFC meals, or movie tickets. Keep in heart that the youth camp is all worth the self investment. Keep the exciting vision of meeting new friends, having fun, having a great experience, and the life changing lessons to be learned.
2. Make a list of people
If you are raising Php 3,500, try to list down 35 people who can donate Php 100 each or 70 people that can give you Php 50 or maybe 7 people who can give you Php 500 each.
Start the list with your family members, relatives, neighbors, and friends. Raise more than enough, so you can also bless others!
3. Ask for referrals
Approach the people in your list, after asking them if they can donate. Ask them if they can refer you to others who may be able to help you. Ask politely for names of at least 3-5 people. Remember to politely request if they can inform these people in advance before you contact them within the next 3 days! Yes, make sure you do the follow up too! Don’t forget to thank them.
Fundraise through selling. You can do this individually or as a team. Show off your baking skills like making cupcakes, cookies, graham balls, or pastillas. You can also make T-shirts or pens. Gather your slightly used fashionable clothes and accessories for a garage sale. Make sure to personalize your product by putting your name or the title of the youth camp event. Don’t just sell the product, sell the vision that you and your friends will be in the youth camp! They are investing in the next generation leaders every time they are buying your product.
Make sure to mark up your price, for example if you make a T-shirt that costs you Php 100, sell it for Php 200 or more. Remember to sell the vision and that their support will go a long way.
5. Service through chores or job
Ask your parents, relatives, neighbors, churchmates, or friends if there are chores or job you can do in exchange for a donation.
I will never forget a great friend who offered car washing services a few years back just to be able to attend the camp. There were the students who help me cleaned the apartment in exchange for their registration for Victory Weekend. To what great heights are you willing to raise funds?
6. Organize concerts
If you and your friends or schoolmates have all the time, all energy, and resources to pull this off, why not? Be mindful that this needs a lot of preparation and consideration. This is great if you are raising funds for more students in your campus or community to attend. This is the least of all I recommend.
7. Utilize use social media
Make use of Facebook, and let the world know that you are fundraising. Tell them that they can help you by donating or buying your product.
8. Set target goals
Set a target goal amount to raise up every week. If you have 7 more weeks left, write a specific amount you need to raise. Be in faith to reach that amount and that you’ll be able to complete it before the deadline.
I’m excited for you as you raise funds and encounter God’s faithfulness. Have fun and always be in faith for God’s provision. God is more than able to bless you more abundantly than what you can ask or imagine. Remember to honor Him and worship Him as well as you give your tithe, remembering that it is God who gives you this provision.
We are, who we are today because of the decisions we made in the past. If you are physically fit today, it’s because you decided to commit to being fit. Maybe the best question we can ask ourselves today is “Years from now, will I be grateful for the decisions I made today?”
We have been given the power of choice everyday, you have been given the wonderful ability and privilege of embracing life changing decisions. It starts with a decision in the heart and mind to believe and step out in faith.
Let me share my story with you.
More than 10 years ago, during 2009 prayer and fasting week, I prayed and believed for the impossible to happen in my life and that was to go back to college and get a degree. During that time, I was working as a call center agent and helping provide for my family in the province. The financial challenges in my family drove me to give up the dream of a college degree and accept the weight of being the breadwinner.
But it was through a class in church back in 2007 that once again reignited that desire. Since then it has been constantly brewing in my heart, a hopeful thought that haunted me for two years. My response to this thought was resistance and saying how could it be possible? Considering the weight of responsibility I felt for my family. Who would support and help my family if I pursue my desire?
At the 2009 prayer and fasting, I said to God, yes I want it, and I want to continue. Started believing in my heart what can be, rather than what cannot. I felt it was God calling me on this and it was Him who put this desire burning in my heart. The one who called me is ultimately faithful and in that I rested.
A month after the prayer and fasting, my mom called me up to share her good news! She was hired to work in Macau as a domestic helper. The month that followed was another answered prayer, my sister’s education in a private school will be fully supported financially by a relative until she graduates. Isn’t that great?
God took off every hindrance, showing that truly nothing is impossible with Him. That year I resigned from work and went back to college as a full time student. The journey wasn’t easy, there was plenty of hurdles along the way, but the very words of God brought sustenance and strength throughout the journey.
Today I am grateful that I had made that decision to respond in faith. I am thankful that God enabled me to move in hope in a seemingly cornered and hopeless situation. This experience enabled me as well to see God in action in my life.
But truly the best decision I ever made was the moment I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart as my Lord and Savior back in 2006. I would not have the faith to believe for the possibilities If I did not embrace his Lorship over all things . I am in Christ, so is my life and all it’s circumtance.
These decisions where acts of faith to a faithful and all powerful God that brought so much joy and gratitude in life. It was not because I made a good decision but because it is God’s character who is ultimately good and faithful.
At the end of the day, we all make faith decisions.
Three things I want to point out;
• Never make life decisions base on personal limitations.
• Pray and trust God in all circumstance.
• Obey and act in faith in accordance to God’s words and promises.
What decisions are seemingly challenging and impossible for you, but will make you thankful in the years to come?
How do we set up ourselves for greater desire for intimacy with God and spiritual growth? Or maybe do you desire to know God more and more in your relationship with Him? Would you want to experience God more than before? May these 3 ways help you cultivate spiritual hunger.
1. Ask for it.
Asking entails humbling ourselves before God, acknowledging that left to our own, we cannot do it. We need God’s power and grace in our lives to enable us to hunger and thirst for more of Him in our lives.
For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. – Mathew 7:8
Spiritual hunger is something that we cannot manufacture on our own. Asking God is our starting point in all things, developing intimacy requires communication.
2. Develop Spiritual Disciplines.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11
Starting new disciplines isn’t always easy at start; but it springs from a heart that is committed to growth and intimacy with the Almighty, not by obligation but of joyful delight. If God is of top priority, then daily spiritual discipline is nonnegotiable.
These are personal disciplines of reading and understanding the Word, reflection, prayer confession, and obedience to the Word.
The more we discipline ourselves, the more we know God, the more we desire for more of Him and growing in trust in Him. Spiritual disciplines are never the means to attain salvation but the means to get deeper in knowledge of God.
3. Preach the Gospel to self and accept it daily.
Our understanding of the gospel directly impacts how we live our lives and so are our misunderstandings about it. We need to be reminded of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and its implications. Reminding ourselves of the Gospel keeps us grounded to our own depravity. Accepting the gospel daily sets us free from our inadequacy and it enables us to live the life to full in Christ.
The gospel leads us to inside-out transformation.
As we end: let me encourage with this promise:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Mathew 5:6 ESV
When life and circumstances seems crippling, cornered and no where to go, succumb to darkness of hopeless and grief; a time when emotions are high and overwhelming.
The days felt like days of mourning and grief, as if someone you dearly loved passed away. Moment of immense tears and sadness no words can ever describe. Such a despair I can only do but cry.
This was me a week before entering 2018, the last quarter of 2017 had a plotwist that brought much pain and challenge, a time when life and circumstances hit hard. I was overwhelmed with the circumstances that I have, combined my reflections with disappointments and discouragement for 2017 that surfaced on the very eve of Christmas to days that followed was filled with emotional pain.
I had an overwhelming number of family challenges going through back home, along with thoughts and reflections of shortcomings, failures and discouragements both personal and in ministry. All were overwhelming at the same time. I didn’t know how I would celebrate Christmas at that time, at a very special time to be with family. All I wanted was to be alone. Though my closest friend would invite, the grief within was overwhelming I deeply wanted to be alone.
I wandered how will I ever surpass this season. I cried to God almost every day, to remove this grief and mourning in my heart and restore my joy. I prayed for God to help me to hope again and restore the joy of my salvation.
As I waited, I felt God comforting the pain I am going through by sending my friends. It was a season I felt my heart was callous from hoping and joy. Deep within a still small voice saying never give up hoping, never stop believing, and above all never stop calling to God.
A year later, as I spent time with family for the Christmas season, as I look back my heart was filled with peace, and assurance that whatever 2019 and the years will bring, I can rest in his power. As He has sustained me and my family in 2018, how much more in the years to come. Truly apart from God’s goodness and faithfulness I didn’t know I could have survived. This only inspired me to be in faith all the more. The weight of challenge hasn’t lighten up, yet God’s presence through the storm breathes life and hope everyday.
We all have crosses to carry, the weight will never be easy. But as we take it, let’s continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. The cross he carried far more outweighs the ones we have. As we enter 2019, we can continue to rely on his unfailing character.
If we are in Christ then, so are our situations. Nothing escapes in His sovereignty and power. In christ, we rest in His capacity.
New year means new beginnings. While it is wonderful to ponder and write down things that we are thankful for the previous year, it would also be great to reflect on our failures, frustrations, pains and discouragements. We need to free ourselves from all the baggages that have been weighing us down. We can do this through honest reflections and acknowledgments that will lead us to humility before God and Him freeing us from such things. This way we can truly move forward to a year filled with hope and soar high.
Start fresh, back to zero.
We should start the year free from familiarity to face new challenges. Don’t hold on to your trophies, recognitions and achievements because our past successes may not help bring us to success this year. In other words, what got you here may not necessarily get you there. Let us desire to have a heart that is excited for new mountains to conquer – now with a greater dependence on God in being successful and not only from years of experience. Sometimes we rely on our past successes more than relying on God.
In our previous journeys, we may have encountered frustrations, disappointments, discouragements and hurts. Today, it is time to let go. Let go and let God. God, being above all these things, is everlasting and powerful. And when we start to acknowledge that God is at the center and that He is the One who orchestrates all things, we will have peace knowing that He is perfectly in control. He knows better and He knows best. As we allow Him to rule in our hearts, He will give us peace, restoration, strength, healing, new direction, and He will also fill us with a new sense of hope.
Failures do not define us.
We won’t have success all the time. Human beings are limited and bound to fail one way or another. However, failures should never define you neither give you your identity. Rather, we can take them as learning curves to help us become a better person. We only truly fail when we fail to see the beauty and the lessons these shortcomings bring us. Only God has set your value and you are always priceless before Him.
As you start the year, be in faith for greater things. And as you journal your faith goals, dare to believe big, dream big, and expect big things. Hold on to God who rules, reigns and creator of all things. Rest in His promises with expectant hearts for the object of our faith is of incomparable greatness beyond measure.
… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead – Philippians 3:13
While preparing for the message for the Youth Service, my good friend and fellow campus missionary, Roel Layug shared to me about passion killers among the youth in the church. What are passion killers? These are things that rob our enthusiasm and zeal for our faith and relationship with Jesus.
Ungodly relationships : Relationships that lead us away from our intimacy with God, causing us to sin and disobey God’s will. Godly relationships help us to value more our relationship with God and pushes us to honor Him and walk an ever increasing path of obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Mike (not his real name), a student, came to know Jesus at our campus ministry. Realizing what Jesus did for him, he left his ungodly relationship with his girlfriend, pursued his relationship with Jesus, and is now one of our fruitful leaders – sharing the gospel in his campus and leading fellow students to Christ.
Unbelief : This comes from a heart that is not sold out to God, who He is, His ability, His promises, His unfailing Love, His forgiveness, His redemption, and His sovereignty. When challenges come, our unbelief can cause us to be overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, and insecurity. The only way to counter unbelief is to move in faith in God’s words and promises. When in doubt that God will provide, believe that everything comes from Him. When sickness strikes, believe God’s word for healing. When relationships are broken and dysfunctional, move in faith that God is able to change hearts and minds. When faced with uncertainties, hang on to God’s promises. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of God will last forever. Even in the midst of unbelief, God remains to be faithful and loving. Unbelief hinders us from fully receiving God’s promises and breakthroughs. The only way to counter unbelief is to hold on to God’s word, and that can happen when we commit to do our part of knowing God through the Bible, prayer and devotion, and a community of believers.
Voices we listen to – Nowadays, social media, society and peers makes huge influence in our youth; they set the trends of what is in or out, what is cool and what is out-of-the-date; and most of the time, these are the voices our youth listens to. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character”. It is true that whoever we listen to or who we are with most of the time, influences us, whether big or small. I’m not saying that we must not be with them, actually we must be with them, like what Paul did, but we need to filter the things that is according to God’s word and that are not – this can happen if we soak and meditate in His Word. Ultimately the only voice we need to listen is the voice of God. To hear God we need to create that quiet environment for us to hear Him speak. When we know God’s voice we easily discern other voices that are not from God. God’s voice is redemptive, regardless of our failures, shortcomings and sins. The voice of God is distinctive, it loves you but it leaves you unchanged, accepts you, affirms you, comforts you, and secures you. What matters most is the voice of God than the opinion of men.
Every time I meet with young people and hear of their challenges, I ask these questions, What is God telling you? How is your quite time and daily bible reading? What is/are God’s word regarding the matter. As they faithfully seek God and keep the spiritual disciplines, our young people will remain passionate for God and the gospel.
I’m thankful to my fellow campus missionaries in Ortigas for sharing their insights about this topic.
Not all are privileged to go to school, and for some, getting a college degree is a dream far from being achieved. The realities of financial lack give little option but to work and help contribute to the family’s needs. But then there are those who, despite all the impossibilities, resist and refuses to give up, get all the more determined, and are armed with a vision and hope to push forward against all odds. They strive to make ends meet, and they find creative ways to make a living. These are just some of the ways they make ends meet:
Tutorials: One of the opportunities they grab a hold of is offering tutoring services, which may have started from simple sessions with a neighbour’s child to recommendations from relatives and friends. This grows until a network of connections is built and more formal opportunities to tutor are established.
House Chores Services: One of the many options to take into considerations is doing house chores. You need not go far as the best place to start is within neighbourhood,and within a network of relatives and friends.
Selling: Some of the things I personally did during college was to make and sell homemade sandwiches. I also sold frozen goods supplied by a friend (tocino,embotido, and longanisa), even adobong mani packs. Other students sell perfumes and other goods. One student from STI would sell balut, just to make sure he has his daily allowance.
Part time jobs and rackets: Some students I’ve met, constantly, make use of their skills such as singing, event hosting, playing musical instruments, acting as event clowns, event coordinators, and even doing random errands for someone.
Working in a fast food chain: This is one of the most common options for most students, but this is also one of the most challenging. Sometimes, work shifts come before or after class, and because of these challenging schedules, students don’t get enough sleep. One should carefully consider the academic load when entering into a job like this. I had batch mates who took quite some time in college, juggling studies and work as server or cook. When I was a student, my classmates who did this were my constant reminder to be grateful, to be inspired and to persevere.
Call Center Jobs: There are still a few graveyard warriors who continue to inspire many people, juggling their graveyard shift and studies. When I was working at a BPO company, I was surprised to see an employee in student’s uniform, only to find out that after the shift, she would go directly to class. I can only imagine how all her sacrifice was not in vain as I’m sure she has gone far in pursuing her dreams.
Scholarship Grants: There are so many scholarship grant available out there. If you’re a student looking for one, try checking your options starting from the school, barangay program, to the local government and research on non-government organizations focused on helping deserving yet underprivileged youth.
God did not leave us powerless against lack or poverty. The determinant of our richness and success is not our environment nor lack, but in our identity in Christ. Through Jesus Christ, we can rightfully claim every promise of God in the Bible. In Jesus Christ, we will be able to live a storm proof life. In him we are made victorious. At the end of the day, It is the object of our faith that will sustain us and will make us victorious.