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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Motives 2017 | Heart to serve 

This was the main call for my fellow missionaries and I during our first meeting for the year. Realizing how excited we are to carry out our tasks and victoriously overcome the challenges in our responsibilities in the campuses and in the church (and of course to achieve our respective personal goals), it is also equally important that we reflect on what our hearts truly desire for this year. Why does our service matter? And, what is the heart behind our service?

No matter how good our actions are, at the end of the day, motivation matters. Our heart before God is of UTMOST importance− more than our actions and their results. The Bible says,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

In these verses, we are reminded to serve, not to promote our own interest and reputation, but to serve the interests of others. Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, we are reminded to serve GOD and not man. How can I serve God by serving my teammates and leaders more? How can I be a blessing to God by being a blessing to my campus, my community, and my family?

If we find our hearts gearing towards focusing on our own interests and what we will gain in exchange of our “service” to God and others, it would not hurt to take a few steps back, to rethink and recalibrate our hearts with this Scripture and with Jesus. By overcoming pride  and honestly assessing the motives behind our services, we become more like Jesus, our ultimate example of humility and genuine service. As we have more and more of Jesus in us, there becomes less and less of us each day as we continue to serve. Again our motives matters most to God than our actions.

For Christians, may we always be reminded to imitate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to serve the way he did – selflessly.

Know the condition of your flock.

How do we lead the people entrusted to us?  How do we work with them? As leaders, what should be our posture towards our team?  What guiding principles can work on a general img_8332setting? As of writing, I am reading a new book entitled, “The Way of the Shepherd”,  7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People by Dr. Kevin Leman and Bill Pentak.

The first chapter tackles the principle: “Know the condition of your flock.

As leaders, managers, and overseers we can be preoccupied with the work but not with the workers. Yes, we need to get things done, but we should be reminded as well that people are tired of being treated like a number. They don’t want to be treated just as employees or volunteer but as individuals. It is our people who get things done. Our people is our greatest advantage.

And this will mean:

  • Follow-up the status of your people as well as the status of the work.
  • Getting to know them one at a time,  their goals and dreams, motivations, career ambitions and frustrations, intentionally knowing what impacts them at the moment.
  • Engaging them through the regular basis. This happens when we go out of our comfort zones and getting along with them, keeping eyes and ears open and asking plenty of questions.
  • The most important is this – following them through, it means keeping up with them with what’s going on in their lives.

Above all else, this should come from a heart that really cares for people. Whether they are full time staff or committed volunteers, knowing the condition of your flocks matters.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

This chapter reminds me so much of Proverbs 27:23.

“Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds”

Leaders won’t be able to manage what they don’t know.

Reflection questions:

  1. What is the posture of my heart towards the people I lead?
  2. Do I compromise my people for the sake of the work?
  3. Am I intentionally getting to know them and going out of my way?
  4. Am I listening to them?
  5. Am I asking enough questions?
  6. Am I keeping up with what’s going on in their lives?
  7. Is my motivation really to care for them?

As we try to reflect and answer these questions, we need the grace of the Lord Jesus to be the leader He wants us to be. We need Him to change our hearts. We need Him to overflow in our hearts so that we can genuinely love and care for the people – His people.

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. 

LIFE Classes & Groups

One of our ways of reaching the campus is imparting values of Leadership, Integrity, faith and excellence among the students through what we call LIFE Classes. This month we are so privilege to partner with the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management of Arellano University Pasig. After each topic the students group themselves with the coaches to help them process the topic and how they can apply in their lives.