IDENTIFYING PASSION KILLERS

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

Gratefully offended daily

Offense is one of  life’s inescapable reality, whether  we like it or not it will come our way. We all had our taste of offense whether we may be the cause or the receiving end. But how can I be grateful when the offense happens daily? How do you handle it? or take it?

As I was reading and reflecting on the lines of Isaiah 59:22

“but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”

These lines speaks so powerfully of what separates me from my creator, SIN, that causes me to be independent from God. This reminded me that deep in my core, I am truly a sinner and nothing of it deserves God’s goodness and grace. That, by faith alone in Jesus and His finish work, we can only be save and nothing else. That we can have rich and have satisfying life. That forgiveness is made available and true freedom can be attained at the cross. That is the gospel!

Daily, I need to seek God, pray and read the bible and remind myself that only Jesus can save me, nor ultimately satisfy and give me fulfilment. My good works have no value, but only the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. My great representative in fulfilling the law that I can never fulfill. This is where the daily offense happen.

The truth is the gospel is offensive because..

  1.  It tells us we are not capable of saving ourselves.
  2.  It tells us that we need a Savior, more capable and powerful than us.
  3.  It tells us that we are foolish like a sheep that needs a shepherd.
  4.  It tell us that on our own, we will never amount to anything.
  5.  It tells us that human intellect is limited.

and a lot more reasons to be offended.

And yet I chose to embrace all this everyday. The truth is God’s truth is offensive. Our response is either humility and embrace Jesus in our life or be led away by pride, independence and arrogance.

God’s truth is offensive yet worth embracing and worth rejoicing. We will never know how wonderful the good news is unless we fully understand how really awful the bad news is. We need a Savior in the name of Jesus Christ.

For that I am truly grateful to the core. And I don’t know with you, with what you choose. But I pray that you may consider the truth and respond in humility, acknowledging that salvation, freedom and joy can only come from Jesus Christ.

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.” – Tim Keller

 

Changed life| Christiane Bulawan

“I thought I was doing the right thing. I found joy and fulfilment in having same sex relationship and immorality. I didn’t care what people would say. I was happy with myself and my choices even if I was being bullied and being taken advantage of.  All I cared was finding love and being loved specially by handsome good looking men.

But then the love and care that I was looking for was not enough. There was deep loneliness and emptiness that I could not explain. I thought I was living the life as it should be then I found myself in search for the real meaning and purpose of my being.

I rejected the idea of  attending Youth Service in Victory Ortigas where I was invited. I came once and thought I already knew God and that was enough. I was constantly being invited and I would always make my academic busyness as an excuse.

After a year, I invited myself and showed up in the Youth Service. While I was standing up during the worship time I felt the presence of the Lord for the first time. I felt complete, cared and forgiven. After the service, a campus missionary approached me and connected me to a Victory Group and to a person who led me to grow more in my relationship with God. I did not hesitate, for deep within I wanted a change in my life.

It was during the one 2 one discipleship I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My  desires for flesh was still there and so were my struggles. As I continued my journey for my personal relationship with Jesus, slowly I found myself turning away from my old ways and God gave me new desires in my heart that honor Him.  

Cristiane in the middle after his water baptism.

 I finally found the love that I was looking for. Truly, only God can satisfy the deepest desires of my heart and I am grateful that He replaced those ungodly desires and continues to replace it with what pleases Him. His love is so compelling that I started to share the Gospel to my schoolmates and even to those who bullied me.  The same Gospel that transformed me is the same Gospel that I am sharing to them; the message that brings salvation, hope and forgiveness that can be found in Jesus Christ. Indeed, the change has come in my life and it can happen to anyone!”

– Christiane Bulawan; changed by the love of Christ!

Christiane is now one of our Youth leaders in Arellano University – Pasig. Recently, he made a post on facebook status.
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“I don’t want to be called ‘sis’, ‘gay’ or  ‘bhesty’. Because that is not the identity God gave me. I want to be called ‘bro’ or by my real name. The old has gone, the new has come.” – Cristiane Bulawan

Mobile Apps | Youth Leader Starter Pack

As our Youth leaders’ are excited to go back to school, they are also excited to have their allowance back. But at the same time they are also excited to fulfill the Great Commission. What is the most basic app that would help them in their mission of changing the campus and changing the world?

1. The God Test 

Because evangelism is a lifestyle, doing the God test is a great tool to help you engage your schoolmates. Start the conversation about God and join the global survey. The God Test App is both available for android and IOS users.

The God Test App

If you want to know how to do the God test, you can visit http://www.thegodtest.org, which has video guide on how to use it or you may approach your Every Nation Campus coach.

 
2. One 2 one Discipleship App

This app is designed to help you walk in faith those made the decision to accept Jesus as Lord and saviour.

one2one

Helpful features:

  1. 121 Discipleship Journey tracker ( helpful in tracker which chapter you last shared to your classmate.
  2. Different 121 Language versions (includes English, Tagalog, and other foreign languages).

 

3. Bible app

Never go without this app, although you may be using the printed version when at home, this apps comes handy and on the go. Sometimes we are on the morning rush and don’t the time to read and reflect upon waking up, whether you are on the jeep or bus. You can still have the time to savour God’s words on the go.

There are so many app versions out there, I am using YOU version and bible.is. Both provides an option for audio, as the bible say’s faith comes from hearing the message.

 

4. Dictionary

This app is helpful not just in our academics, but even in understanding God’s word. As leaders we value understanding and clearly defined words.

dictionary

 

5. Podcast

Victory App provides you podcast from your Victory Pastor preaching and sermon base materials. If ever you miss the preaching or want  to hear other preachers. This app is both available in android and IOS mobile phones.

victory app

Another app on IOS is the podcast.

podcast

 

Relationships | Why dispose? 

On my previous blog, I wrote about relationships and how they aren’t disposable.  I shared about how my friends and I overcame the challenges and how to stand firm in saying “no” to disposable relationships. These are the friends I found in church who are truly for keeps. They have been a blessing and indeed, as described in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  That is why I truly value them. 

Now, let’s talk about the people who we allow to influence us . Among the key relationships within our circles, Identify among them who you need to move to your outer circle of influence or totally disconnect with, due to it’s unhealthy influence in us. The Bible warns us about that in 1 corinthians 15:33, It says;

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Let me share with you other versions to help us better understand it.

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Spot on these quote…

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People who we choose  as friends are the people who we allow to have influence in our lives. The bible says in Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

We need friends that point us back to God in whatever situations, Who are  honest and sincere to point out our shortcoming, mistake and sin and walk with us in our faith and vision in in life. However we do not completely dispose those who we feel that brings us aways from God’s purpose,but leave enough space to keep the line open for us to share the gospel and minister to, and even have them in our prayers.

Here are a few questions to ponder on our current relationship that we allow to influence us most?

  1.  Are my friends empowering me to live a Godly life?
  2. Are my friends pushing me to go deeper in my intimacy with God?
  3. Are my friends building up my character and faith in God?
  4. Are my friends tolerating me in my worldly and ungodly ways?
  5. Do they speak the truth? and choose not to please me?

We need Godly men and women in our lives, that will help us grow deeper in our faith and relationship with Jesus. People whom we keep close to our hearts that remind of faith, vision and direction in life. People who stand along with us in our journeys and battles.

 

It is never enough to hold our tongues


As I read “Wisdom and Declarations” written by my good friend Caleb Galaraga, it reminded me of the good people who have encouraged me & spoke powerful declarations in my life that helped me become a better person. However, it also reminded me of the devastating words said to me that had a negative impact in my life as well as the things that I’ve said that brought more damage than encouragement. The bible says that the tongue has the power of life and death. In his book, Caleb encourages us to live a life committed to choose to speak life. It means speaking words that build people up, intentionally encouraging others, and choosing your words wisely, no matter what situation or circumstance we are in.

I remember those times when I was sleepless, pressured, and frustrated while running the university week activities with the student council officers and volunteers. At the main hall, I vented my anger on someone in public with a scandalous yelling and reprimand.  That forever changed my relationship with a fellow student and officer at the student council. A great wall was created in defense to me. I have repented and apologized so many times, I tried to restore the friendship and working relationship that affected me and the entire student organization I was in. There was no excuse for my behavior. What has been said cannot be taken back.

 
About a year ago, my friends and I attended a wedding. One of my friends who went to that event at that time was an atheist. There was a time in the event wherein we had the opportunity to hang out with a pastor along with his wife, during the hangout conversation, the hurting experiences he had in the past from church leaders resurfaced. It was a powerful moment when the pastor listened to him and sincerely apologized in behalf of the leaders. We all felt that forgiveness has been release, healing and restoration took place. After that I have never heard him utter words of hate or anger towards the church.( as far as I know)  Our ability to humbly ask for forgiveness brings people whom we have hurt to the healing and restoration process.

To most of us who have uttered damaging and not so encouraging words, when we learn our mistakes, it is never enough to hold our tongues and say we will never do it again. I like what Caleb said in his e-book, “choose to commit to a life that speaks life, regardless who we speak to, regardless of their past and their mistakes, regardless of circumstances and situations”. The words we speak brings good or bad results.

 
I highly recommend the e-book to everyone and also for group study and discussions. Caleb’s e-book “Wisdom and Declaration” is free for download, click the link below and it will direct you to the download site.

Click here : http://calebgalaraga.com/book/