HOW TO WELCOME CHALLENGES

Last January, in one of the prayer and fasting lunch services at Victory Ortigas, a random lady approached me to offer prayer, which I gladly welcomed. The first part of her prayer came this way:

“Welcome Challenges this year”

I could not recall the rest of her prayers. But it indeed struck me, because it was clear to me that God was speaking through her.
Doing ministry is not easy, It can be very overwhelming and I have honestly come to a point of pleading to God to take it away, or at least, make it a bit easier. It was a breaking point. But every time I talk with God, He constantly reminds that it is He who orchestrates everything in my life, including the overwhelming challenges in the ministry. It is He who placed me here and that He did not make a mistake in assigning me that weight for the task.
Looking back at that time of prayer with the lady, I realize how God revealed to me my response (which is fear) to the potential challenges that will come my way this year. This made me ask myself, “so how should we welcome challenges?”

Pondering on this question, here are some of the points which came to mind:

1. Recognize that all challenges that come to you are allowed by God.

· Go direct to God above who entrust this to you. Seek Him with all your heart. Ask to give you wisdom and guidance on how to handle the challenge. Recognizing that all these challenges were allowed by God, will make you see that it is also God who can deliver you out of it. Take to heart that it is God−ordained.

2. Respond with the right heart.
· How we respond to challenges matters. We can either keep on complaining or take on the challenges and thank God. As God has entrusted the challenges, He will enable you to perform it. Heart check is crucial as we respond in this journey. God is maturing our faith and relationship with Him.

3. Be courageous and strong. 
· God’s Word to Joshua, as he took on the new leadership role was “Be very strong and courageous in all your challenges.” Remembering that God is with you in every step of the way will encourage you to be strong and courageous. Do not be intimated with what will come your way, for the Lord your God is with you.

   4. Be excited for what God will teach you through your challenges. 
· Keep in mind that this faith journey comes with amazing learnings and revelations, no matter how difficult and impossible it may be. One of the benefits of facing challenges is breaking of wrong mindsets. Most of the time I find myself limiting an unlimited God, then I repent and realize how God is expanding my faith.

We are just in the first quarter of 2017 and I find myself delightfully excited to what comes my way. Do not close doors yet for challenges, for God is mighty in your life and He will deliver you through it.

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Overcoming Christmas stress? 

Feeling tossed between tidal waves in the middle of the ocean since my return to Manila a week ago -that’s how I can describe myself, at least in the past few days. Christmas time is an awesome, wonderful time to celebrate and reunite with good old friends, colleagues, and family. However, this “awesome, wonderful time” can also cost us with a lot of things and inconveniences. If we are not watchful, we will unknowingly grow hearts of complaints and grudges because of the many things that are happening around us. And this is not the way it should be!

Below are some points on how we can avoid and overcome this:

IDENTIFYING THE STRESS FACTOR

Stress can be both good and bad. But what is causing the stress within us? When stress begins to surface, it’s important to identify what triggers it by asking ourselves honest questions like:

  • Am I stressed because things are not happening my way?
  • Am I stressed because my travel time went beyond what I expected?
  • Am I stressed because I have so many expenses for all the Christmas parties I need to go to?
  • Am I stressed because I’m not getting the things I want?

And there are a lot of other questions that we can ask ourselves whenever we start getting stressed!

As we examine what triggers stress in us, let us also examine the way we respond to these triggers. Our response reveals a lot about the condition of our hearts before God. It takes humility to be honest before God with how we feel about ourselves and our situation, and to surrender everything unto Him.

GRATITUDE!

Christmas parties! From officemates, to friends, neighborhood, community, family reunions, volunteer group, churchmates, discipleship group and a lot more depending on your involvement. There are just so many parties to go to that sometimes, we come to a point that one party becomes “just another activity.” This is the point when I start thanking God for each group and party, and for the fruitful relationships I have this people. But honestly, I’ve had to let go of some parties, especially those with conflict in schedule and location.

Having a thankful heart for all the people and relationships in this season will help us go above feeling overwhelmed with all the parties and events.

EXPENSE! (BOTH TIME AND MONEY)

Celebrating this season means going through many inconveniences – from heavy traffic jam, to crowded malls, to so much things to buy. Most of the time, exchange gifts are set to a range of amount and parties have prescribed outfits or costumes. When budget starts to run low, expense stress also starts. We have to think smart and organize when it comes to spending. Come to think of it, almost everyone is giving away something this season, both time and gifts. Expense is temporary, but the relationships being built through the time spent and appreciation given to people go a long way. When we start to see people as expenses, we should start checking and recalibrating our hearts also. Examine why we have come to this point.

On the other hand, when we start to magnify God’s goodness, kindness and generosity, and fully understand the expense of our forgiveness and redemption, I am sure the sure our hearts response is gratitude and rejoicing. The expenses we have at this time are nothing compared to God’s expense when He sent His Son to us – the Reason why we are supposed to celebrate (and not fret over) this season.

JESUS IS THE REASON

Let us always go back to the reason of the season. It is not the sale going on the malls, nor the presents we give and get, nor the Christmas parties and bazaars we go to. Neither is it about you and me! Christmas season is always about our LORD JESUS CHRIST, nothing more, nothing less.

Whatever stresses and frustrates you, don’t miss out the very reason for the season, our Lord Jesus. The greatest gift we can have for ourselves is accepting Jesus in our hearts as Lord and Savior.

The greatest gift we can also give to our friends, colleagues, and families, is letting them know the saving knowledge of receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, trusting in His finished work on the cross for our Salvation and forgiveness of our sins. He has accomplished what we can never accomplish on our own and that is more than enough to keep us rejoicing and celebrating this season.

Have a joyful, stress-free and merry Christmas!

Honoring Leaders | Lynn Nawata

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Today, I want to honor and give thanks to one of the people who made an impact to my life and perhaps, to many more, Ms. Lynn Nawata. She served as the Real Life Foundation Director for the past 8 years. REAL LIFE FOUNDATION is a scholarship program that helps the deserving underprivileged youth to finish college degree for a better future.

As she journeys to the next season of her career, it brings both sadness and joy. But joyful for her as she continues to faithfully serve God to where she is called.

Ms. Lyn, your compassion for helping the poor is so contagious. Everytime we would hear you speak about helping others, it never fails to move people for it has always come to us in a voice of a woman filled with so much passion.

Ms. Lyn, one of the things I will never forget is the line “What is your sobrang happy thought?” Thank you for the #SobrangHappyThoughts. This line always reminds me to recall God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life. When things are rough and difficult, recalling this line puts me back to a heart of gratitude and makes me appreciate every small detail of God’s loving grace , provision and gift of life.

I like what Pastor Steve Murell said during the Metro Manila Staff Meeting that for most of the Real Life scholars and for us alumni you are a “Nanay” (mom). Thank you for the impact you made into the lives of many.

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You bring sobrang happy thoughts into our hearts and we are excited as you bring crossroads to more people across Asia and the world. As you have touched our hearts, surely, you will touch thousands more around the globe.

 

Leadership caught than taugh

We were invited by our senior pastor for an evening of dinner and fellowship at their place. I came early together with 3 more fellow campus missionaries. While we waited for the married once to come, we had one of the most empowering and liberating conversations with our senior pastor. He asked a question about our status, whether if we are single or in a relationship, we responded that we are all single at the time, with the vision of marriage. He then continued to share his testimony, He got married at the age of 32 and was able to travel different places and nations before getting married. 

His liberating words was, enjoy your season you have all the time now, because when your married you wouldn’t be able to do the things like you were  single. He said go and enjoy the ministry, travel to places you’ve never been. 

While he was speaking, I just felt so encourage that I have the best time now, and the joy in my heart to hear a very empowering words from him, this was a liberating moment. No pressure just enjoy your season, take your time, that was wow moment. 

Then the conversation shifted to savings , investments and insurance. It was a vision casting in preparation for greater things to come, have an emergency fund, have savings for travel, save for your marriage, believe for a car, travel abroad. When that moment comes you’ll buy that ring , or when you’ll get married you’ll easily be able to provide. 

3 things I realize about this… 

  • Leaders values your season
  • Leaders empowers you to maximize your season
  • Leaders communicates vision towards season

I thought to myself….

  • Do I speak of value of the different seasons of the people that surrounds me and to those that has been entrusted to me?
  • Do I encourage and empower them to maximize their season to the full?
  • Do I communicate vision more than communicating the current status?
  • Do I impart financial stewarship?

More than what was communicated about enjoying the season, I learned a leadership characteristic worth emulating. 

Captivated by the surprise giver.

Everyday we wake up looking forward for a better day. By faith we live in expectation of good things and bigger things to come.

As for me I rely on Him who is my provider. My strength giver. Waiting expectantly on how He will move and orchestrate. I am expectant of His surprise.

Indeed He did surprise me today, I was celebrating, receiving a great news of what I received. My prayer partners was rejoicing at the great news.  As I went on with the day. A call came in asking apology that there was a mistake and this blessing should be going to another person. I just responded, just do the necessary corrections and its fine with me. Oh He did surprised me on that one too. Well I said to myself I’ll wait again.

As the day ends. He did surprised me again. And He did replace almost twice what I received earlier.

Throughout the day I was thinking I can either have faith on things can go wrong and live by that lie or have faith in the truth. That God is more than able to provide abundantly more I can ask or imagine. That’s more mind blowing than the hopeless lie.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! We can be so caught up and captivated by life’s surprises that It may determine our emotions. But I was so captivated with the surprise giver, How He orchestrated every single detail. That gave me joy that He was there in everything. He was looking at my heart with how I would respond if He takes back, what He has given.

He wants to be involved in all things we do. He is so mindful of us, He is so crazy loving each of us. In every way He wants to communicate He is in love with each of us. That He is so willing to forget our past and gave us the identity of His son, Jesus Christ. That He may have that intimacy with us. His crazy Loving us.

On other hand made me reflect: What if bad things keep on happening? Will I still see His Love? Will I still recognized His orchestration? Can I still say He is in control?

May we go deeper into that intimacy with our heavenly Father through Jesus,That our trust in His sovereignty may go deeper. That when lie’s like accusations and deception hits us. We can say to it I know my God personally and I refuse that lie.

Just a thought for the day…

Poverty mindset Vs. identity in Christ mindset

We all go through the different  season of life,  I remember  a time when I literally have nothing on my resources, a time when fasting  seems to be a fad for me , sometimes having nothing to eat for days, when having a meal a day was my most awaited.

It was a season of walking from home to school, from school to church, from church to home. And all I can remember I was doing only two things, first singing praise and worship songs , Second talking to God, At the start of that season while walking I found myself battling with him on why I’ve have to go through it. I was mad with the situation, the hardship, the hunger and demanding his breakthrough, provision and deliverance.

Challenging times  like  it will either make you or break. When the situation is saying give up and leave your dream, you’ll never be able to achieve this with your circumstances. You don’t have anything.

But the voice of truth was far more powerful than all  of those through running on my head. One thing God was pointing so clear so powerful, I am your father, you are my son! your are  co-heir with Christ, you are royal, holy, chosen, destined to do good things, I have all His good promises in the bible.

Faith is recognizing the facts, but holding on to the words of God. Its resolving to trust in him completely, holding on to the identity He said who I am and His mighty promises.

Identity: Salt and Light

 

Who are you? and who do you think you are?

Our generation is face with the challenge of identity crisis, it is beyond sexual orientation brought about the influence of media, the internet, freedom of expression and so soon.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

PCSI: Where it all started

In 2007, I was invited to join a campus outreach team for a high school campus in Cainta Rizal, back then I was working in the Business Process Outsourcing industry,  I had plenty of reason to decline the invitation, primarily because of my work schedule, and the distance of the campus to where I live (Caloocan), and how terrible the traffic can be on the way to both the campus and my place.

I  gave it a try, and joined the team. From one visit to another that became a weekly. Friendship was forged among the team, working along with passionate young men and women mostly students.

PCSI Outreach Team
PCSI Outreach Team

As for me this is where all it started  the experience broke my heart that brought un-explainable desire to reach out to this students and let them know  who they really are  and how much God love them so much, that they have a purpose and greater things to come to them.

outreach

This exposure made me dig deeper into my life’s purpose, that there  is more to life, to my personal plans, it gave me wider perspective, if there one thing my life worth throwing into it would be for the next generation.

me pc

I said to myself, If I’ll be reaching out to young people, I’ll starting getting my degree done. It has been 5 years now since that experience, God did not only gave me the degree but gave a campus.

As for the team,we’re all working now, some of them went overseas, while others are still engaged in the youth ministry.

pcsi edt
2012 Christmas Party

Graduation Day | Faith to believe 

As my college graduation draw near, I wanted my mom to come over and attend. This would will be her first time to attend my graduation, She was outside the country on my previous graduations serving as domestic helper and I appreciate all her hard work.

She felt sick after long years of working, When she arrived here  she was worried of what would happen to my education all left on my own. As I welcome her back I was delighted to see her and had the peace of mind, She’s in better condition here. I told her she has nothing to worry and I”ve surprise her about the scholarship given to me.

After two years I’m finally graduating and I want her on this very special day. I’ve ask her on the phone to come, She was hesitant knowing she is financially challenge, I told her I don’t want her to miss this for me.

With very limited resources, I raised my hands as my heart prayed for provision. I was asking for  fair for my mother that will cover her travel back and forth to the province, I was asking for another set of provision we would need on the graduation day itself  like for the taxi at least on the way to the site and provision for after ceremony lunch celebration. This was my prayer.

2 Days before the graduation, I received a text message from her confirming she can make it on the graduation day, provision came in enabling her to travel back and forth.She will arrive early morning of the graduation date. I thank God for this was more than enough to be thankful.

A night before the graduation I’m was still on empty pocket, I went to a friend to borrow necktie for the next day while staying there, I received a text message from a  friend asking me to come over and meet him saying ” I want to hand over you something”. I went and meet him on the gas station where he was, He handed cash  and shared to me how he remembered God’s faithfulness during the hard times, His eyes was somehow sweating as I try to control mine.

It made me asked “who am I?, that God is so minded of me”, I was in awe, in adoration and worship of Him. On my way home on that late evening my heart was shouting out of joy and of tears for his faithfulness.

I woke up early the next day and pick up my mom at the bus station in Cubao. When we arrive at the place I’m staying, we rushed ourselves in preparation since we may not make it on time. As we left  and waited for a taxi,  I received a call from a graduating buddy telling me he and his family  hasn’t left yet and ask if I had?, I said  “we are just about to leave”. He and his family offered ride on the way to graduation site. I said WOW! and thank God.

edt grad

After the ceremony, Me and Mom planned to go home and was thankful to my friend and his family for the ride, and appreciated the free ride . The family invited us to join them on a simple lunch celebration, we were actually running away from this offer, but couldn’t say no.

God’s favor isn’t over yet for the day, the family gave us a treat at ARMY NAVY,  and could not forget that triple quarter pounder burger and ride going home, We didn’t spend anything on that day. Every inch of  the way I felt God was involved, my heart couldn’t stop praising him, taken over by gratefulness.

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God is never too late in giving his provision, money is never an issue with him when we allow Him to move mountains for us. When we put our faith on what He can do, and not on our limitations.

Stubborn me

My cousin started to share about one  on  one discipleship it was twelve chapters back then, it is the basic essentials to following Christ, Which starts from Salvation. Lordship, Repentance and so on.

My cousin was a med student at that time, I still think that He would be a great theologian, His in-depth knowledge is good a reasoning, can speak really good to the point I don’t understand the depth of his communication skills, as if I perceive it as mathematics and all numbers coming out of his mouth.

We started with Chapter 1, followed by Lordship as next chapter after a week, but then my stubborn me and sarcastic nature towards my cousin starts to kick in, It took one month for the next chapter to be discuss, I felt force because I was unwilling to go through with it, after a couple of weeks before getting to another chapter he ask me What I understood about salvation, with brutal direct answer I said none, he was patient that he discuss it again with.

He would try to offer to discuss the next chapter but I would delaying tactics was on, I was either tired or just not now.

He was persistent in going through for the next chapter. I was challenging him every inch of his patience. We went through another chapter after a month again. This time I’ve butt in and ”said stop, I got the point”.  He continued explaining, out of nowhere to my annoyance. I said “you can continue speaking but my mind has stopped listening from you”. Me and my tongue. After a couple of weeks he asks me of what I understand about salvation, I said I don’t recall anything. Then he patiently shared the salvation topic the third time.

One thing for sure I commend my cousin; he didn’t gave up on me.  Jesus never gave up on us, He was simply faithful in loving us even if unfaithful.

Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I’m  forever thankful for my cousin.

  • Christ likeness.

Before leading others it requires Christ likeness and indeed I saw Jesus Christ in my cousin.  He was patient all through out, He saw me on the angle where our lord is coming  from.

  • God was dealing with me

I’ve accepted Jesus yet my actions seem opposite. It dawn on me that pride and ego had led me to my sarcastic disrespectful behavior. He was working in my heart even if I seem happy with my behavior.

  • Undeserving                                                                                                                                    

completely do not deserve this retaliation kindness, He was generous in very way, He was patient and completely passionate and forgiving. No matter how many times I would give him reasons not to disciples me, all the more he chase me.

In the same way it made me reflect Christ character, How love us, He endured embarrassment, humiliation, betrayal, torture, pain, and death, all be because of undeserving me(us)

We don’t deserve His patience, His love, but still he freely and willfully give it to us never giving up. That is who He is, that is his character.

Now who am Ito give up on others?