Friday, December 19, 2008

The Old Church allowed me to go back...finally...

After more than two years of being excommunicated, after more than two years of being in the new church, I’m back in the Old Church again. I praise God for that! Amen to that! My ex-girlfriend, not clear if she have forgiven me or not, have finally allowed me to go back to the Old Church. Praise God for that!

For those reading my posts since Day 1, you noticed that I always put emphasis that the delay of my comeback is not directly my fault. Yes, it is one of the consequences of my wrong doing, but I am not directly responsible for the delay. Call this conduct unbecoming of a gentleman, but my ex is the one who caused the delay. She may deny while looking at you straight to the eye, but the result of her unforgiving and hateful attitude at that time caused the delay. If not for her unforgiving attitude that she manifested to the Old Church Pastor last August or September 2007, the Old Church Pastor have decided for my comeback that year. I admit, Old Church Pastor, as a leader, faced one of the toughest decisions. He wanted me to go back, but he’s avoiding repercussions from my ex and her family, especially her mother. As a Pastor, he doesn’t want a divided congregation just because of one member who erred. As a leader, you want to make sure there will be no trouble once you executed the decision. Why the emphasis on this? To justify myself? Nope. The reason is this: I want to emphasize that MY PRIDE IS NEVER THE REASON FOR THE DELAY (for I have given it up and is giving it up every time pride it is manifesting), HER AND HER MOTHER’S PRIDE IS THE REASON.

There are people, usually in the New Church, other believers and unbelievers, don’t want me to go back. My Mom, AC, and my relatives don’t want me to go back. After all, things will never be the same again. I’ll be suspended in any leadership ministries and any ministry that I will be seen at the back of the pulpit INDEFINITELY. Most probably, I will no longer be a youth leader there (my favorite ministry), especially with the new set of main leaders now. Why come back still? The New Church Pastor gave his full trust on me in handling Youth Ministry. His trust is so overwhelming he doesn’t mind on my approaches as a leader. The Youth Members in the New Church, majority of them, are sold out. They have high regards for leaders. They trust my leadership style. It was proven in Two YPF days (2007 and 2008), especially the 2nd YPF day. 20 youth members contributed almost P6000 in the span of less than the two months! Only 4 of them are working and the rest are studying. Why gave them all up? The New Church is a youth leader’s haven. The trust. The respect for my privacy. Why gave them all up? It is a Biblical principle that if you did something wrong and you have the chance to confess and admit and be responsible for your actions, THEN DO IT. Regardless how painful it will be. Regardless of a possibility of indifferent treatment (I know who the main youth leaders are, and I admit, I am quite skeptical about them. Yes, they are very talented, but there are no natural optimists among them. If old nature will work its way, only an optimist can consider appointing me back as main leader or assistant leader to the least. Oh well, God will take care of them if they acted wrong). I wanted to go back because I want to be used by God more efficiently. I don’t want to be an “Achan in the camp”. It is only possible when you exercised genuine repentance and confession from your sins BEFORE you serve Him.

I don’t know if ever I will be a Main Youth leader again, to the least an assistant leader. I don’t know if they’ll give the “traditional tribute” for single guys if ever I will get marry. I admit, it will be a sad thing if they’ll not give that, despite 5 years of service as a main leader. Still, I followed the protocol. The Old Church Pastor can attest that I tried following protocols since day 1 of my ban until the arrangement of my comeback. If ever I will never have a position within 2 to 3 years, I understand that it’s there prerogative. However, when that happens, my ex girlfriend’s unforgiving attitude have cost me a chance to be a leader again.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not dying for any leadership position. Through the years, especially in the church (be it Old or New), I never volunteer as a leader (with exemption to the New Church appointing me as their Youth President, because the youngsters there wanted me to lead them). However, being appointed in a leadership position inside the church shows that you have gained their trust again. It’s like being paired up to a very pretty single lady. It’s not mainly because you are paired with Ms. Pretty, but the trust that those who paired you both. After all, you’ll not pair Ms. Pretty friend to someone you don’t trust, right?

Bluntly, I tried to earn the trust of the youngsters, but my ex girlfriend blew it up by squealing. Besides, even in our relationship, I’m trying to fix it up by teaching her what to do, what are the norms, etc. What did she do? She disregarded it flat. She hates it when I say that I am very much ahead of her in the faith, that’s why she should listen (I may sound bossy, but hey, in companies, you’ll listen to veterans if you want to learn right?). The same single ladies that don’t like me because of the fornication that I did are the same single ladies that she despised. If they use their heads, they’ll not side with anyone, not even me. Why? My ex doesn’t like most of the single ladies there. It’s a no brainer. Back then, she doesn’t have regard to words like testimony, reputation, and being conscious on personal behavior in the church. I told her that I must work from 7am-6pm (I’m not telling her that the reason is for this is for Mom to see that she’s not a control freak that she is), but what did she do? She hates me for saying that. She said that I’m the son of the owner, so I’m not required to do that. She even told me not to take up Master’s (c’mon, don’t deny it) because I have no time. I have my hobbies, but I can’t do it because I am with her from 5pm-10pm or 11pm EVERYDAY (Please Old Church people! Open your mind. Don’t think that I’m that BAD). Yes, it’s okay for me to exercise at the gym, but it should be before 5pm. What the heck! (if my times with her are recorded, they’ll understand why I left her. She’s just using fornication as a tool, not because for the Biblical purpose of it.) That’s the reason my classmates saw me as an easy go lucky guy in graduate study; I don’t study BECAUSE I have no time to study (she even steals my Friday study time by conniving with her mother to come to Manila, so that I can’t resist to be with her). She was a selfish freak. I hope that she changed now. A week before I broke up with her, I told her that the reason why I’m urging her for Mom to be in good terms with her. At that day, she never demanded anything. She never demanded that I come at 5pm IMMEDIATELY, which she usually does. I still hope I am wrong for thinking that it is self vested interest. Yes, it’s BOTH our fault (I hope the word “BOTH” should be enough statement that the discipline was solely given to me and me alone). Yes, she will surely tell you that she didn’t force me. Yes, it’s true…PARTIALLY. For example, she’ll agree if you told her that you can’t come because you need to study. Then, at that day, she’ll say things like, “Hon, mother’s here. You need to be here.” Clever. A perfect is example was the incident December 2005. There will be a Youth Rally in that one Friday. As early as Monday, I told her that on Friday, I’ll not be at her office to fetch her because I’m one of the organizers. She said YES. Tuesday. I told the same thing. She said YES. Wednesday. I told her again (why I’m repeating this? Because she has this attitude that she’ll get what she wants…EVEN AT HER BOYFRIEND’S EXPENSE). She said that she knows, and that I’m telling that to her for the past two days. Then comes Friday. She asked me to fetch her! I told her that I can’t. She was so inconsiderate at that time. After all, I have said that many times. Youth rally came. You know what? I see her angry look as if I did something wrong. I want to make it up to her by joining her after the event. She just walked away…as if we didn’t talk about this. That’s the reason I lost my temper. She’s so good at provoking me to anger so that she’s the OFFENDED PARTY (why she always do that? To gain sympathy? I don’t know. She doesn’t have to do that in order to gain the respect and sympathy. All she needs is to change her superior personality).

They highlighted on fornication so much that her control, manipulation, lies, and exaggerations are all covered up. Yes, she’s successful! She’s so successful that the reason why my return to the Old Church was delayed because she and her mother told our respective Pastors that I am not forgiven and they don’t want me to return yet. I am at her freaking mercy!!! You know what? I wished that she will be at other’s mercy so that she may realize how wrong she is for doing that. Besides, the deed is consensual. In fact, there are times that I don’t like it, but she insisted. I never mentioned that publicly because I still have respect on her. It’s hatred personified. Even when the ban is lifted, her pastor manifested a sense of pride. How dare she manifested that! My family has been kind to her. Her family? How many sarcasms I received from them…and they justify that because they are poor and rich people have no right to be sensitive? Her mother often mentions the words, “YOU RICH PEOPLE…” just to justify her negative attitude. My family? Yes, they don’t like her, but they tried to be nice to her. My Mom even offer her a place to stay, no rent no bill, and I took care of her food and personal need (which she’s still unsatisfied). My, if she say that it’s so little, it shows how ingrate she and her mother is!

Occasionally, it crossed my mind that my ex girlfriend should also be given a severe church discipline. She didn’t even made a public apology in her own church. After all, fornication is done by TWO parties. Technically though, I understand that it is not possible. My ex is not an Old Church member. Thus, Old Church can’t give her the discipline. In her church, her Pastor decided not to give her public apology and confession. She doesn’t have the guts to admit her share of mistake. Besides, her pride and her mother’s pride drove them out of their church. They chose NOT to attend in their church. Those stuff are waaaaaaaaaay beyond my control. Besides, it is wrong to harbor hatred and unforgiving attitude to another person. Besides, if I did just that, I am not different from them.

Especially with ladies, I know that these repeated details annoy you. It is unbecoming of a man to write long posts such as this.

I’m excited to go back. Who has the balls to admit PUBLICLY what he really did wrong?

PS: I like to thank Pastor James Montenegro for the “2nd mile” encouragement…
Pastor Reynaldo C. Ido of the New Church for giving me the chance to lead again at the time…
Pastor Abel Bernardo, Pastor Lakan Datu, and Pastor Ricky Cuaterno for receiving my invitation to preach in the New church. Not to mention their encouragement and warmth.
Dr. Gil Aranda of Berean Fundamental Baptist Church for encouraging me and even going to the New Church to preach. You don’t know how much an encouragement it is.
Bro. Ambel Gallardo, one of the leaders in the Old Church, for being a patient listener.
Bro. Jhemlein Domingo, for telling me that “my case” is a perfect time to exercise “grace”. Yes, they didn’t tolerate my sin; they just did the right thing after the discipline was implemented.
Sis. Lorna Bitangcol of Word of Life Philippines, my constant chat mate who encouraged me even if she have personal discouragements. She’s also a patient listener.
Bro. Denmor Villanueva, Bro. Emmnauel and Sis. Ellen Joy Refugio, Bro. Jeremy James Samson, Bro. Miguel Rodriguez, Bro. Ezra Villarico for being still the same, despite my blunders.
Other Old church people and most of the full time workers who never focused their eyes on my return (because I can’t at that time even if I wanted to), but instead became happy when they saw me serving Him in the New Church for the mean time since November 2006.

I also thanked the critics and the fault finders. If not for you, I will not be a better person. Besides, now I have seen who you really are, I will have a mental note not to put my full confidence on you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finally, my "kid sistah" and I have finally met after two years

After two years, Kid Sistah Theta (aka Chubby Cheeks, blackheart, Cheeklet...) and I have finally met.

She is a good poet, and yes, she's an Emo. As I promised to her, I gave her a copy of GradS Tayo 2: The Kolokoy's Magic Van. She never expected that I'll drop by in her Makati apartment. Good thing I am very familiar with that particular place in Makati.

She was so surprised and so happy she hugged me. I gave her an autographed copy of GT2. What makes her special to me is that she's my very first fan. However, don't get me wrong. I never treated her like a fan; I treated her like an online friend. I even call her kid sistah. She's also the reason why I tried poetry.

Yes, she's my very first fan. She's a constant follower of GradS Tayo strips that I put in deviantart. No. She's the ONLY one following the strip. After all, I don't see myself as a celebrity. What makes her special? I was motivated even more to continue drawing strips (how much more if there are many followers). When I saw her smile and i felt her hug like a fan hugging a...well...celebrity...I felt honored. It's quite rare for me to receive compliments in this field. Most of the time, I receive an indifferent response, even to the one whom I consider my influence. Still though, it's okay. At least it taught me to appreciate people more because I experienced the negative. You don't see me snubbing people intentionally or automatically (due to constant snubbing; it became a way of life...hehehe) because of that particular reason

I don't want to treat Kid Sistah as a fan. After all, I'm not famous. I'm not a celebrity. I'm even ordinary looking. My face is forgettable. My good efforts are unremembered (remember the Old Church thing?). That's why I call her Kid Sistah.

Honestly, I feel like I'm a celebrity of sort or a cult icon during that time. However, I know I am still a NOBODY, and maybe I will remain a NOBODY. After all, I am a frequent recipient of indifferent responses in the comic strip world. If not for my like for comic strips, I could have given up.

To all readers, please read kid's sistah's site, she's a very nice poet. Just ask for her deviant account. You'll like her, and her journal entries. Even if I'm not a cartoonist, I'll still have that kind of recommendation. Even if she's not a fan, I'll still do the same. Why? "God loveth a cheerful giver"...this also includes introducing good, sensible people that you know to your other friends.

Thank you very much again, Kid Sistah. I promise to make GradS Tayo and my other upcoming projects better. People like you are giving me an added boost for me to continue doing simple, yet (trying to be) sensible comic strips.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Old Church update

I can’t help but share this update with you. Remember the “Old Church and the New Church” thing that’s been “plaguing” this blog ever since this blog was started? Yes, the posts that made me look not to readily move on. Now, here are some updates:

The Old Church, headed by the Old Church Pastor, will host a Bible Conference this coming week in that church. Few days ago, the Old Church’s Pastor’s mentor, the one who pioneered the Old Church, arrived from America. He invited me. I hesitated. I hesitated because the “ban” status on me is still in effect, despite my efforts to admit my mistake. After all, the very same prerequisite to lift the ban on me – public apology and confession – was deprived from me because I am not yet forgiven by the other party and, according to the Old Church Pastor, more prayers.

Mom asked Old Church Pastor if I could attend the Bible conference. His answer? “Huwag muna” (“Not now”). Mom asked another question: “what needs to be done in order for him to go back?” He answers, “Pag pray natin.” (“We need to pray more”). Right from the horse’s mouth. I never made this all up. I never mentioned names. No one from the old and even new church knows this blog site. So you can’t accuse me of dividing the brethren. The Old Church Pastor unknowingly has given the verdict that will give me enough reason not to go back anymore. Because of this, Mom’s heart was broken. I can’t blame her. I’m her son. After all, right from the start, I plead to the Old Church Pastor not to publicize these things, not to let me choose between marriage or excommunication. Indeed, he opened the Pandora’s Box.

I can liken this situation to a criminal who admits his crimes, ready to be handcuffed, be sentenced and served his prison terms, but the authorities decided not to arrest him. No, not because he’s a freed man. He’s still a fugitive. Armed and dangerous. Don’t talk to him; he’s dangerous. Don’t even give your resources, most especially human resources. If that will be the case, the police under the authorities have adequate justification to shot him. I know most of you are intelligent enough what I’m talking about and who are those I am referring (if you happen to be in the Old Church). Again, I don’t want to defy. I don’t want to rebel. I don’t want to be on a wrong side of the fence, Baptist and Christian and God wise. After all, I am not their enemy. They are not my enemies. We are brothers in Christ.

But who am I? Besides, I don’t want to rebel and speak against the Pastor that I respected so much. I want my life to be blessed; rebellion and rudeness to the pastor, even if justifiable, will just hold that blessing. Worst, it can cost me my life because man should not “touch God’s anointed”.

What’s causing the delay? By the looks of it, he didn’t answer anything. Instead, he gave the task to my ex’s Pastor, to fix the matter. What’s that? Playing safe? By the way, my ex’s Pastor is the one who talk to my ex’s father. My ex’s father finally forgave me, but my ex and her mother didn’t. It’s too much. Why can’t they see that she and her mother are just doing that to piss me off? Old Church Pastor is the one who had the final say for my excommunication. The Old Church is not that congressionalist to the point that the deacons will have the final say. Is it another of those “unique discernment that only Pastors can feel”? Who is maneuvering the delay? The deacons, be it the new ones and veterans? The “feminist” sector? Or Old Church Pastor himself? Forgive me if asking is now the new rebellion. I don’t want to question that decision, but the delay hurt me and my Mom. Mom is contemplating for a transfer after she finished her commitments there. Even a veteran Pastor of a mega church talked to him; suggesting to him, “find a way to make him go back.” He’s being overly conscious and conscientious. Is that because a by-product of Old Church unwritten practices? Unwritten do’s and don’ts that it’s not really in The Bible, but because of culture and norms of that society called Old Church? (Fornication? Marry the girl. Not marry the girl? Boot out! ) Is that because the deacons, maybe the new ones who happen to be my contemporaries, are really nailing me for one underlying reason or another? Is it because of my ex-girlfriend herself? No, I hope I am all wrong in those questions! God forbid that even one of them is right.

Forgive my paranoia: maybe he knows this blog through another person, and that another person/s reading this blog gives the blog or his own version of the summary to Old Church Pastor(lurker/s). If my blog posts are the reason for the delay, I will still not stop doing this. After all, blog is a journal. My blogs are not locked or exclusive. My blog is open. The reason why I used another name and why I’m keeping my mouth shut in some extent is because despite my being talkative, at the end, I’m still a gentleman. In fact, anyone from the old church asking for my blog will surely be answered honestly. They NEVER gave me the chance to state my side. Yes, Old Church pastor knows my side, but he never disclosed it, just like he disclosed what I did wrong (though not in details) and what they will do to me. He never even disclosed the reasons why there’s a delay. He never even mentioned that one of the reasons for the delay is because my ex-gf confronted her and her own Pastor (her mother confronted him) vocally said that they don’t want back and I’m not forgiven YET. I hope that the first sentence of this paragraph is wrong.

A friend outside church once told me that my Friendster and my Blogs are easy to find. It means one thing: the Old Church people don’t give a thing on what I will say because they don’t care. One Old Church person I know demonstrated to me that he only showed concern when he found I have a new girlfriend! I’ve been using Friendster long before I was kicked out. I don’t have aliases. My email ad is not my real name because I made the email address 3 years ago. However, when you look at my friendster account, I put my real name. Then, he’ll just notice my account when he heard I have a new girlfriend? Wowowee! When they want to know my side, ask me, I don’t care if you believe me or not. It’s your right. But never ask other people for my side when I am accessible. Oh well, it’s their choice and I respect that.

I didn’t give up, it’s them who made the delay. And I respect their decision. This is not all me. This time, it’s all them. No justifications whatsoever. Yes, the Old Church made the right decision, but the delay is the wrong decision they have made.

Still, they have my respect. The Old Church is God’s church. The Old Church Pastor is God’s anointed. I prayed to God to bless him more…to give him wisdom…to make him a better person. His ministry is expanding and any expanding ministry needs a wiser and better leader. Thus, I prayed to God that Old Church Pastor will be strengthen more by God.

My respect to the Old Church and Old Church Pastor will remain as they are. But spending time pleading, following “my case”, will just give me flashbacks. This is not pride. Pride will never admit mistakes. Pride will never text Old Church Pastor, updating himself. Pride will not follow protocol if requesting for Old Church preachers to preach in the New Church, even if the reality of rejection is VERY HIGH because there is this PENDING THING GOING ON.

Because of this latest update, my mind became clearer. I know now better than ever what I must do: focus on the New Church. Help New Church Pastor. While doing that, ask God to strengthen me. Ask God to make me more mature spiritually. I must learn from these mistakes. They decided to delay this one. Thus, I decided to bury it to avoid flashbacks. Besides, souls are dying. Churches will argue because of technicalities such as this?! Man, souls are dying. Time is wasting. I need to make a positive choice: to stop follow ups. There are so many things to do. If they finally allowed me back, then so be it.

To my followers, thank you for liking my posts. To my critics, thank you. To those indifferent to me, it’s okay. It’s your choice. I can’t please everybody. This chapter of my life will never be closed if I stop “updating” myself regarding my case. No pride in stopping the “update”; it’s for me to avoid further baggage. Again, forgive the nature of my posts.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Being a seminar speaker about my hobby


Just recently (Monday, September 24), I was invited by a Cavite based group of student journalists and advisers in their event. The host school is St. Dominic College of Arts and Sciences (SDCAS), located in Bacoor, Cavite. When I entered into their campus, man, i felt overwhelmed. "Is this the lecture place? Wow!"

It was hosted by Jonathan Sta. Maria, SDCAS student affairs coordinator, who is so accommodating and funny as a host that he'll give stand up comedians a run for their money. Hehehehehehehe. Seriously, he's so accomodating. (Keep up the good work!)

On my first lecture, I discussed editorial cartooning, which is for me, is so difficult to discuss. After that, a one hour competition on editorial cartoon. Lunch time came and after that, i immediately started the lecture on comic strip drawing. After that, a one hour competition on comic strips drawing. The host-school gave me full authority on what criteria I based my judgments (an artist's haven).

Again, the host-school is so accomodating, friendly...not to mention the beautiful delegates (look at the pictures). These students came from four schools, Cavite State U - Silang campus, Cavite State U - Naic Campus, St. Joseph, and of course, the host school SDCAS. What touches me is their trust to the artist. These students absorbed the lectures. In addition, after my lectures, students wanted to get a soft copy of my power point presentation. Maybe they will make an echo seminar of sort (organization people are familiar with that term).

My gratitude to Prof. Noel Manarpiis of Cavite State University - Silang for inviting me to be their speaker, Prof/Mr. (I don't know, forgive me sir. I don't know how will i address you) Jonathan Sta. Ana for the accomodation and being a humorous person. Because of your humor, I became comfortable in your school. I also thank the SDCAS students who assisted me in my lectures.

You know what? If all schools/organizations are the same with the host school/organization, no artists will be discouraged and...starved. After this lecture, i was motivated to improve my craft even more.

No, i'll still have my day job, i finally got the hobby that I will stick into my hyperactive personality.

Again, thank you very much for the trust, confidence, and warm accomodation. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

positive perspective in an unexpected place and event

One time in the University library, it crossed in my mind to visit my former classmate who happens to be working also as one of the Library staff. He told me that he’ll go to Sagada, the place that I am very much interested to go ever since I heard the name and saw it on TV. I told him that time for me is not as flexible as it was few years back. I added that I wasted those privileges. I added that the privilege (of going out of town with Mom saying it’s okay) is gone. Then, I began to share. I told him my experiences. Yes, I shared the “classic 2006 event” that changed my life, and my church membership (on a temporary basis for reasons that I have shared to you many times).
As I share, he can’t help but share his optimism. However, one statement of his struck me. He said, “She (my ex) made your life colorful, and you should thank her for that”. Yeah, for all of those OBJECTIVITY JUNKIES and MATURE EFFECT MOJOS, you surely know what that means. (Note: Samuel heard God’s still small voice when he’s a kid, and Moses saw the Burning Bush when he’s 80. Does that mean Moses is more stupid than Samuel? Does that mean Samuel is MORE MATURE than Moses? Individual differences, remember?) Still, let me share this one MY STYLE.
It’s a new, yet so old perspective. That former classmate is right: my ex-girlfriend made my life colorful. I know that I realized it too late than some mature mojos and objectivity junkies. Hehehehe. She made my life colorful. I discovered my weaknesses further. I also discovered my strength that I didn’t see before. I discovered, through the New Church, that I am capable of organizing things up. I discovered that I can organize Inter-Church activities with only at least 15 young people. This couldn’t have happened if I was not excommunicated. Well, maybe some people will say that it happens because of “Romans 8:28” (see the Bible verse for details) (funny, they forgot to mention Isaiah 55:8). They can say what they wanted to say and it’s their right. However, I can also say what I wanted to say sensibly. Foolish for some, hypocrisy for others, and tough for few, but this is true: I should thank my ex-girlfriend for giving me a life full of colorful learning experiences. Because of that, I thank her. My love and patience was push to the limits because of her. I thank her for that. Even if she hardens her heart to the next level to the point of blocking of supposed come back to the Old Church, it will just give me room to be a better person. When the room for vengeance, hatred, and pride was exhausted, at the end, I’ll still bring with me the medal of God-given wisdom from experiences. Whatever she will do to me, it will just give me more room to improve myself as a person.

To my ex-girlfriend, thank you very much. You improved me in ways that you didn’t know. I hope you’ve also your learned the way I learned mine.
Besides, I’m 28 years old. If God wants me to live until 70 or more, I still have many things to learn on this life’s journey. So many things God has in store for me. Yes, the desire to be back in the Old Church is there, but this time, I’ll leave it to God more than ever. I’ll no longer do those follow-ups. I have demonstrated my intensions and desires to them; I think those pleadings are more than enough for Old Church Pastor to see.
Again, thank you very much to my ex-girlfriend. It was a nice lecture etched in gold. You made me a better person!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Finally...after almost a year

After almost a year when I passed my proposal to my Department Chairman, my Special Project was now in University Printing Press. According to them, it will take ten (10) working days to finish those 8 copies. Well, it still depends on the Press’s priorities. If there’s no other pending papers, theses, dissertations, etc., it will be more or less 10 working days. I hope and pray that there will be no hassles in those times so that my graduation will be turned over to the Department, then to the University Registrar.

I thanked God that I’ll finally graduate March 2009 (there is no graduation march in May 2008 and October 2008. Thus, I will march in March 2009. If that happens, I stayed in PNU for 6 years! No wonder I’m more at home with PNU than Adamson U! I only stayed in Adamson for 4½ years.

Still though, I have two more stuff to prepare: the Young People Fellowship Day 2 (YPF Day2) on November 9, and KOMIKON 2008 on November 22. Now, these two made my head spinning. Good thing sweet girl Amie is a supportive girl. Another thing to consider is that since my Master’s Near Finish, I must now focus on the family business, just as Mom is insisting. Actually, I do believe that things will turn out fine by God’s grace. However, I admit that this is no walk in the park. Priorities should be made. Time should be maximized. For others, they may suggest that I have a last minute back-out from KOMIKON 2008. After all, it’s just a hobby. However, the issue here is being responsible enough to fulfill your commitments in the best way possible. All other things in mind, like learning other musical instruments, etc. was put into stand still for the mean time. In fact, if you’ll visit my bedroom, you’ll notice there are unnecessary papers (all from graduate school). I told myself that I’ll dispose them after my special project was turned over to the University registrar.

To those who know me, please do continually pray for me to be as organized as possible. After all, real maturity is measured by how responsible and accountable a person is, EVEN IN WORDS UTTERED (Thus mature people don’t spread words, then will twist it when the going gets tough or just to “smell good”….er, wait, why am I mentioning those baggage filled statements? Hehehehe).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Memorization

The Sunday before the last one (September 21), the new church pastor assigned me to recite 200 Bible verses right before the congregation. It all started when he asked the congregation if anyone of us memorize 200 Bible verses (because according to him, he can memorize at least 500 Bible verses, especially during his youth ministry days). I raised my hand. He then challenged me to do it right in front of the congregation. Honestly, I don’t have the exact count of Bible verses that I can quote right from my head. It was just a rough estimate. After all, there are 66 books in the King James Bible. If you can memorize at least two verses per Bible book, then it’s already 132 Bible verses. In addition, one of the activities during Prayer Meeting and Sunday Evening service is Scripture recitation (at least one Bible verses. I admit though that I tend to repeat particular Bible verses because I didn’t make time to memorize Bible verses that I still didn’t memorize).

I admit, it is easier to memorize, BUT my problem is which book did a quote Bible verses came from. Thus, I had a written guide. After all, this is God’s Word. I must not take God’s Word lightly. I must state the exact location of a specific Bible verse. In addition, it will be my first time to recite Bible verses in front of the congregation.

Then, last Sunday (September 28) came, and it was during evening service. The pastor called me up to recite the Bible verses. Because of time constraint, he told me to memorize 50 Bible verses. I recited around 61 verses, all in the book of Psalms only! Of course, I have with me a written guide – a list of Bible chapters with their verses. After I recited it (I tell you: your heart will also pound big time if you’re in my shoes), a youngster also recited around 60 Bible verses (even more I guess). Another youngster said that maybe that youngster was challenged. After all, she recited them without any written guides. I really don’t know that youngster’s motive in doing a memorization. I have my suspicions, but I have discouraged myself from being suspicious. God will reward that youngster. Praise God for giving me a chance to memorize Bible verses.
Memorizing Bible verses is the 2nd to the lowest when it comes in levels of thinking skills (the lowest being Knowledge, and next to comprehension/memorization is application). If that is the case, I can bluntly say that memorizing the Bible is a good thing, but one should not be boastful that he can memorize Bible verses. In an academic viewpoint (not in a Christian), Bible memorization is the 2nd to the lowest when it comes to thinking skills (if you’ll apply one psychologist’s theory). Thus, a Christian should not boast that he can memorize Bible verses. After all, how can a Christian apply something that he doesn’t know? As a Christian, you can only consciously apply a Biblical principle if you know where in the Bible did that principle came from. If you’re applying a Biblical principle without knowing the Bible verse, you’re just being TOO dependent (note: it’s not wrong to follow your Pastor and your Youth Leader. My point is WRITE DOWN what Bible verse your Pastor and Youth Leader is using so that you yourself can defend your Christian faith) on your Pastor and Youth Leader. Being a Youth Leader, it is not a good sign if youngsters rely too much on me and not read on their own. After all, I’m not a Youth Leader forever and New Church Pastor will not have the physical strength to preach and utter Bible verses forever.
Why am I saying this (you know me: I write long post, that’s why I can’t be a writer on broadsheets. He he he he he)? Normally, when someone said that he memorize many Bible verses or even memorize the Philippine Constitution (for law students), people will accuse that person of being boastful. Yes, the tendency to boast will always be there (I myself tend to feel that way also), but isn’t it better to just let God reward that person (who memorized many Bible verses) according to that person’s heart? By doing just that, you’ll unload yourself of some unnecessary baggage which has items called “suspiciousness”, “pessimism”, and “judgmental attitude”. Besides, a fellow Christian should instead give glory to God that a fellow believer can memorize many Bible verses. In addition, that person should be encouraged to keep on memorizing Bible verses.
By the way, after the Bible memorization, I felt New Church Pastor was encouraged a bit. Not only that, his mood changed positively. In addition, he encouraged and challenged all the congregants to memorize Bible verses. I say “Amen” to that! Indeed, God was glorified, and it should be that way. I was happy that Sunday night because my intention why I accepted the challenge is to be a blessing and at the same a positive role model for youngsters to do the same.
To all Christians who can memorize many Bible verses: keep it up. Only one reminder: now you can memorize those verses, you must meditate and apply them in our everyday life. Again, keep it up!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pastor's Discernment

I know a Pastor by the name of Pastor Ben Asis. He’s a well known Pastor in Mindanao. He’s known for being strict and being firm on his stand as a Baptist. One younger pastor even commented that the more Pastor Ben grows old, the more he becomes strict. The Old Church pastor even said that he never saw Pastor Ben smiled. His firm stance was attacked by cults (he has a radio ministry). He’s so strict that one even said that the church would be much bigger if not for his being strict. One even said that he’s stricter than the Pastor of Christian Bible Baptist Church, Dr. Ed Laurena.

He’s now in Heaven. He died last year. His firm stance causes the ire of cults in Mindanao. One time, in his radio broadcast, he attacked one cult group. He received threats from them.
At first glance, people from the Baptist circles will admire him, until I say that his firm stance made him at odds also with another Baptist churches.
I know a group of church people (if I’m not mistaken, the church itself) whom he decided to cut his fellowship. At first glance, you’ll consider it unfair. Honestly, I don’t know why Pastor Ben did that and the ground for his disciplinary action. Pastor Ben was vindicated for his strict judgment after his death. How? These church people later moved to another church with a friendlier Pastor. These church people are now headaches of that Pastor. Why? These church people (they’re even church kids. How sad because I myself am a church kid myself) caused discord quite a number of times. Their Pastor right now is kind enough and patient enough not to give them “severe” discipline as “severe” (I used quotation marks; you’ll see later why. Just read carefully these posts). One member suggested to give them a discipline they’ll never forget (firm, but compassionate. Church discipline should not be punitive, remember?). After all, Biblically speaking, Paul said to mark them which cause divisions (it’s just sad that Baptist churches nowadays focus so much on disciplining a fornicator, sometimes even drastic, and ignoring to discipline a talebearer for causing discord and divisions when usually, these types of people are the main reasons why there are members who stopped attending the church. In fornication, you destroy the church’s testimony. In causing discords and division, you are dividing the brethren themselves). Their current Pastor is so kind he didn’t do that. After all, he said that he doesn’t have any proof to execute disciplinary actions to them.
Recently, one of those church people cause another stir among the brethren: that member caused two single ladies to fight each other to the point that it rattled the church itself, especially that church’s Youth Ministry. There is also another thing that that person allegedly did, but I don’t want to mention it (and that thing is the main reason why the Pastor is having a problem). Now, the Pastor and also the youth ministry head are having a hard time. Yes, as a Baptist Christian, we should love and forgive. However, as a church, there should be order. There should be discipline. Still, I understand why there is no action yet given: there’s no proof pointing against that person. That person outsmarted the Pastor and the youth ministry leader. It doesn’t matter anymore. God will take care of that person. A true believer in Christ will not stay in his/her deeds or else, according to I John, there’s a sin unto death. Why is the consequence not so swift? It’s because God is kind and gracious. [Note: I’m no fault finder. I’m just being candid. After all, I never mentioned anyone except Pastor Ben Asis, whom I praised.]

NOW MY POINT IS REALLY THIS: YOUR PASTOR, NO MATTER HOW STRICT HE IS, IS YOUR PASTOR. YOU SHOULD RESPECT HIS DECISIONS, NO MATTER HOW STRICT, ODD, OR “BIZARRE” THEY ARE. AFTER ALL, GOD GAVE PASTORS A DISCERNING SPIRIT ON THINGS. MOST OF THE TIME, THESE DISCERNMENTS LEAD TO THEIR DECISION THAT THEY THEMSELVES CAN NOT EXPLAIN. I EXPERIENCED A SEVERE DISCIPLINE DECIDED BY THE OLD CHURCH PASTOR. HOWEVER, NEVER DID I HATE HIM. THE DISCIPLINE THAT WAS GIVEN TO ME MAY LOOK DRASTIC, BUT I TRUSTED HIS DISCERNMENT ON THE MATTER. HE MAY HAVE DISCERNED THAT IF HE WILL NOT DO THAT DRASTIC ACTION, THE CHURCH ITSELF WILL SUFFER (maybe because he discerned “those people’s” attitude and background. They caused discord to their own church, remember?).
PASTOR BEN ASIS’ DECISION MAY LOOK DRASTIC AND SO STRICT DURING THOSE TIMES, BUT MAYBE HE DISCERNED SOMETHING, AND HE HIMSELF MAY NOT HAVE EXPLAINED THAT CLEARLY. NOW, HIS DISCERNMENT IS RIGHT.
BRETHREN IN CHRIST, SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR’S DECISIONS. PLEASE DON’T VOTE YOUR PASTOR OUT. I’VE SEEN MANY TIMES THAT THOSE CHURCHES WHO VOTED THEIR PASTORS OUT OFTEN ENDED UP NOT BEING BLESSED BY GOD. AFTER ALL, IF THEY ARE WRONG (IF THEY ARE WRONG), GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF HIM. OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO SUPPORT HIS DECSIONS. THE MERE FACT THAT HE SURRENDERED HIS LIFE TO GOD AND GAVE UP HIS CAREER IS ENOUGH REASON TO RESPECT HIM AND HIS DECISIONS. INSTEAD, MAKE SUGGESTIONS. IF NOT, PRAY FOR HIM TO GIVE HIM MORE WISDOM AND STRENGTH TO LEAD AND DECIDE ON THINGS.
SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR AND HIS DECISIONS. HE’S ALL YOU’VE GOT AS YOUR RESPECTIVE CHURCH’S LEADER.
HE’S THE PASTOR THAT GOD HAS GIVEN TO YOU.

Friday, September 5, 2008

An Admirable Character of a Pastor that I know

It is such a wonderful atmosphere that a church executed its disciplinary actions with love. In addition, it is a wonderful site to behold when a church, through the leadership of the pastor, gave remedial, not punitive, discipline.

I know of a pastor who demonstrated such. I saw with my two eyes how he decided on the matter regarding one case. (If you’re a follower of my posts here, you’ll know what I am talking about. I’ll not explain it further in order to save space) Time and time again, he mentioned that his desire is reconciliation of the three parties. After all, all of them have their own shares of mistakes.

The young preacher was never given a severe discipline. Instead, his financial support will be suspended for 6 months (depending on the church approval). Still, his authority to preach in the province will stay. Personally, this is a second to the young preacher. No, I don’t find the discipline liberal. After all, he committed the sin in the new church, not in that place. Besides, the memory of fornication will haunt him (that alone is a consequence is in itself), even if pastor gave him a “light discipline”. No, the discipline in my own opinion is not light; it is just appropriate. You can’t give the exact discipline to everyone. Yes, the forms of discipline have similarities, but still, you can’t give the very exact discipline to everyone. This is not booth camp; this is a local Baptist church you are talking about.

Still, I can’t help but think how God have been gracious to that man. If his case happened in another church, he’ll receive not only freezing financial support, but also giving up the pastoral post (OR taking away the authority to preach from him), a public apology, and worst, excommunication. However, I salute the Pastor’s character for deciding like that to him. He demonstrated forgiveness to the congregation, and at the same time justice.

About the other party, he said that he is fully aware of the girl’s character, that she’s capable of making up stories. Still, the pastor’s character and compassion for his members are admirable: he told me that despite of that, we need to help her. He added that if we will not help her, her life will become more miserable. The only way to help her is give her the justice she deserves. Well, let’s face it. It’s fornication. Let’s face the harsh reality: when woman flirts and the man resisted (and he never mentioned it to anyone), nothing really happened. When woman flirts and man gives in, the end culprit will always be the man. Besides, he’s a leader, a preacher. He’ll surely receive more disciplinary action. To whom much is given, much is required.

Still, even at the last minute, the girl said that the preacher is lying and vice versa. I admit, I don’t want to conclude who really is telling the truth. After all, it will be revealed one of these days. However, I can’t help but observe something: young preacher is repentant. I can’t discern any repentance from the girl. Still, maybe that assumption of mine is wrong. Besides, a person may prove to the whole world that he or she is right and the other party is wrong. Still, the true test of a person’s character lies if he or she will continue serving God. Yes, you may say to the whole world that you’re the victim, but if you quit serving God through the church ministry, it’s nothing. Putting it bluntly, I will prefer a repentant person (as long as it is genuine, only God knows that) who continues serving God (after proper discipline) than a victim who quits serving God, and blames it on the so called hypocrisy of the brethren. After all, a saved person is just a sinner saved by grace. At the end of the day, it is a Christian’s mandate to come to God and confess his sins and shortcomings.

By the way, the parties also involved will be given appropriate disciplines for their bad conduct. I will not mention what are those, but let me tell you this: again, the discipline is appropriate, not liberal.

For me, this is a very good example, if not an excellent one, of unbiased decision that is still love-driven. The pastor also added that he doesn’t like to do it, but he needs to do those actions. For me, it is the appropriate attitude when a brethren needs to be disciplined. There are times (I myself am guilty of this sometimes) that we are driven with hate to a person (despite his repentance) that when a discipline was executed, man, we seemed to like it to the point of having a figurative teeth grinding.

(I still can’t forget a statement that if I’ll finally be allowed to make my public confession and apology and the execution of discipline, the MOTHER OF MY EX WANTED TO WITNESS IT. The Old Church pastor assured me that it is not possible because they’re not Old Church members, but hey, with her rebellious attitude, she can break “church loyalty and protocol” and go straight to the Old Church. I understand the consequence of my actions, but her attitude is inappropriate and hate driven.)

Yes, it is normal to feel that way, but not all normal tendencies are right!

For me, the decision of that pastor regarding these brothers and sisters in Christ is appropriate in this case. Other Baptist church will see this as liberal. In other Baptist churches, that preacher might even be excommunicated. Some will put this into technicalities. However, this is the beauty of the independence of local Baptist churches, self governance. Besides, your approach in church A may not be applicable to church B. This is where “judge not” principle is also applicable. You can’t compare one Baptist church with another Baptist church. Each Baptist church is different from each other. Yes, basically the doctrine MUST BE the same (salvation, baptism, deity of Christ, etc), but because of different geographical, cultural, and even economical, things like church discipline should be solely given at the discretion of that local Baptist church’s pastor. Yes, he can seek counsel from other pastors, but at the end, it’s up to him. For me, his decision regarding the people involved is admirable. If I’ll mention the details, you’ll understand what I am talking about. I do really pray that God will reward him for his kindness and forgiving spirit and for putting reconciliation and restoration as topmost priority in church discipline.

(Side notes before I end this one: By the way, when you read I and II Corinthians, you’ll notice that Paul restored the man because he’s repentant. Excommunication is applicable only to the unrepentant and arrogant. However, it’s easier said than done. By the way, marriage is not the ONLY by product of repentance. Many marriages fall apart because of this practice. I’m not bitter when I said these things; I just can’t help but say it.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

self-righteousness...daw

It’s been quite a while that I had a discussion with someone, especially regarding Christian living.

I said this because recently, someone reacted to my post in a messenger group (name withheld as a respect to the group). The group topic is about pre-marital sex and if it’s forbidden (or “bawal” in Tagalog). Being a Baptist Christian, I responded to the topic by citing a Biblical chapter that talks about this very same topic. It is found in I Corinthians 5. In that chapter, Apostle Paul got a reliable report that pre-marital sex (“fornication” is the Biblical term) is “commonly reported”. I don’t want to lecture regarding Greek lifestyle and their being polytheists, but sex is somehow part of pagan worship (if I’m not mistaken).

In other words, I cited how New Testament Church responds to a brother/sister who committed fornication. I just didn’t mention the details of the discipline. In addition, I also mentioned that I don’t play self-righteous in all this. I just stated what the Bible is saying. Guess what? Someone reacted.

He reacted to the point that he used terms like “self-righteous”, “Zealots”. By the looks of it, he’s a well-read fellow. What caught my ire is that he said that he’s amazed that there are people who talk as if they know what God likes and dislikes. He also said that there are people who seem to have a literal conversation with God.

I gave a reply. I said that a person is self-righteous if he condemns after he had heard what a brother in Christ did. I also said the “hate the sin, not the sinner”. I also added that there’s nothing wrong with the Biblical principles. What is wrong, I said, is the attitude of some believers AFTER the damage has been done. (Besides, you’ll only excommunicate a brother in Christ if he’s not repentant of his sins AND he’s boasting of that sin).

What I don’t like in his post is not his view, but his post is hate-driven, geared against Christians, the so-called “self-righteous”. I also added that I never have a literal conversation with God. However, I mentioned Luke 16:31, just to hit that wrong attitude of his towards Christianity. Besides, when you say someone is a Zealot, that means that person holds a strong loyalty towards Jewish tradition, and traditions of men are not encouraged by Jesus Christ Himself.

Okay, I admit, there are sometimes attitude problems with church members regarding a brother who sinned before God and men. Christian churches are putting so much emphasis on fornication as if it is the only sin worthy of publicly declaring. What about lying to the point of causing discord? An OPEN drunkard ridiculing a brother or sister? Thus, it is okay to just kick someone’s ass because he was excommunicated or say cursing words because he’s excommunicated (which is VERY FAR OUT OF THE BIBLE). Putting it strictly, all sins are worth disciplining. Unfortunately, only fornication was given the limelight. Still, when you read the Bible, it is not so.

Hours later, I found that he’s gay and has a boyfriend. Now, that makes a perfect sense. Now I understood him. Still, I will abide by what I have said in those posts. After all, I was not self-righteous when I mentioned those posts. In fact, I admitted my past sins. I also said that I’m also a sinner.

Yes, self-righteousness does exist inside Baptist church, but that doesn’t automatically mean that the Bible is wrong about fornication. In fact, a so-called Christian’s self-righteous attitude proves the Bible’s authenticity more. It just shows that the Bible comes from God, and God used men to write His Word (because humans will read it). This only shows that the standards in the Bible came from God as a guide line and protection for Christians. If the Bible really comes from men, you’ll notice biases in favor of the writer, like a Congressman who makes laws that will benefit ONLY him. It is in the Bible that you’ll see King Solomon’s wisdom. It is the same Bible that you’ll see King Solomon who married 700 wives and have 300 concubines. It is in the Bible that you’ll see Samson being the strongest man. It is in the same Bible that you’ll read Samson falling in Delilah’s charms, resulting to his lost of God-given strength, hair, and even his eyes. Rarely will you find a book (if there’s one, maybe they imitated the format of the Bible) that will show a king’s weaknesses. Where did we see that Peter denied Christ thrice? In the Bible.

When a Christians mention Bible verses, that doesn’t automatically mean self-righteousness. It just shows that that Christian want God Himself to speak to the listeners/readers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fornication and Youth Leaders and Young Preachers part 3

The last time I heard about him, he defended his side. He said that she’s not his girlfriend. Yes, according to him, the fornication took place. However, he was seduced. Partially, I believed him. Why? Remember what my best friend told me? However, that is fornication. Besides, if he’ll not be disciplined, where is the order in the church? God is the God of order.

Now, why I shared this LOOOOOOOOOOOONG post? I share this to warn Male Youth Leaders and Young Preachers out there against fornication. Especially in our society (especially in Baptist churches), even if you are seduced, still, you’ll still get the BIG BULK of DISCIPLINE. The sad part? The lady will go scot-free, even if she really seduces you guys. Honestly, in the Old Testament times, when two people committed adultery, BOTH of them will be stoned (yes, BOTH). However, we can’t deny the reality that sometimes, even in churches, culture still matters (for example, “marry the girl, you committed fornication with her, so marry her; babae ang amin”).

Don’t get me wrong. There should be order and sets of Biblical standards in the church. Especially in moral issues such as adultery and fornication, a church should have a Biblical standard. However, church people should investigate very well. Still though, especially in the Philippines, youth leaders and young preachers usually end up losers. Usually, it is us who are given the severe discipline. In fact, the girls who made the seduction (if youth leader is REALLY seduced; God knows the truth) just go scot-free. She is considered a victim in this (personally, I consider women who experienced rape and qualified seduction as victims, but if the fornication is consensual, BOTH should serve the church discipline).

Still though, youth leaders and young preachers, let’s be careful. There are really so called Christian women who have pleasures in seducing us. It’s sort of a “women use sex to have power” thing. Don’t get me wrong, ladies. I’m no women hater. I’m just telling that women like these really exist inside the church. Sometimes, they may look and sound harmless, but you’ll be surprised…REALLY!

Take it from what I shared. Take it from me – the one who experienced that kind of predicament. Yes, fornication is a sin, and sin has its price that a man must pay. Thus, be careful guys. When someone committed fornication, you’re not guiltless, guys, EVEN if you’re seduced, especially in a maternal country like the Philippines.

Again, this 3 part posts are not to degrade women, but to remind youth leaders and young preachers about fornication and its consequences (as I have shared it).

May God bless you and strengthen you, youth leaders, the unsung heroes inside Baptist churches and young preachers, the men who helped your Pastors. Keep up the good work!!!

Fornication and Youth Leaders and Young Preachers part 2

Now fast forward. These two youngsters committed fornication. Who shared that to me? The lady. Normally, a youth leader of a Bible Baptist congregation will tell it to the Pastor. I didn’t tell it. She requested me not to say it. No, she IMPERETOUSLY requested for not to reveal it. Being the youth leader, I did. One job of a youth leader is counseling, and as a counselor, I must not reveal secrets of youngsters who shared them (except if he/she murdered someone, or if the offense will divide the church). She approached me like she’s pitying herself. She shared these in text, not in person. However, in the church, she has that sort of a wall when I approach her. I can feel that by her “timid looking handshake” (a timid handshake is not a sign of humility; it’s a sign of pride hidden in timidity). I wanted to confront her about that, but I don’t want trouble. She’s a very different person in text and in person. It’s like jeckle and hyde. She’s soft speaking when talking to Pastor, male leaders. However, an observer can’t deny that she’s a stubborn person, and her being soft spoken is just a front (MAYBE to her parents). In fact, a new youngster in the New Church gave me a text message of her observation – that lady is stubborn according to her.

Now let’s move forward. I didn’t mention anything about the fornication. No, I’m not covering. After all, I didn’t have the time to ask the guy if that is true. Then, the lady told me that she hates another lady who is closed to young preacher. By the way, I almost forgot: she told me that she is the young preacher’s girlfriend. However, I noticed that it’s not obvious. They rarely speak in the church. I consider her words as truth…for the mean time. However, there are loopholes: first, if my memory is right, she doesn’t want me asking the guy regarding them. Second, I have mentioned this before: they rarely speak in the church.

I noticed that young preacher is beginning to be distant to me. Every time I invite him for dinner to talk, he turned it down, saying he’s busy. I also noticed (and many people) that that lady and the other lady are not in talking terms. Pastor started to notice that; he told me to fix this up. That is easier said than done for reasons more than: one, all the lady is giving me is text messages, but I can’t talk to her in person (she has “that wall”. I don’t know. I hope I’m wrong. She often puts herself in the crowd to avoid private conversation EXCEPT with Pastor’s eldest daughter [who is very much younger than she is, almost 6-7 years], but that is only my assumption). Two, young preacher is always telling me that he’s busy that’s why I can’t give him a treat. Only “other lady” is open enough.

Then, weeks have passed. These two ladies have sort of a word war – via internet. I will not mention the details. However, one thing is sure: “other lady” had her comments against lady. During these times, I started to confront young preacher. I asked him if he have a girlfriend right now. He answered “no”. Now that struck me. One of them is lying.

Fast forward. Preacher was sent to be a missionary in his hometown. Now, at this time, two people opened the Pandora’s Box: both of these ladies. Other lady started to comment via the net. I told Lady not to argue with her. I also told her to stay calm. I told her that if the other lady is wrong, it will show in days to come. Still, she wants a piece of other lady. What also caught my ire at that time is for the first time since the time I met her: she chats with a new comer lady (via text). New comer lady shared it to me. Now comer said that lady told her that she and other lady are not speaking terms. That caught my ire. I calmly told newcomer lady not to mediate with both of them. Newcomer lady followed what I said.

Fast forward. The catfight between them went to another level: both of their respective mothers now began to argue with each other. This time, Pastor came into picture.

Fast forward. Both families are not speaking to each other.

Just recently, Pastor made a decision: Young Preacher should come back to Manila within 45 days to explain his side to the affected party (I appreciated that move. He wants things private. Amen! After all, it’s not right to broadcast your sins). If Young Preacher will not do it, his authority to preach will be revoked and his financial support cut off from him. Personally, it’s a nice offer. Not only discipline will be served, but also no excommunication will be involved, and at the same time, his side will be heard (a feast…hehehe). It’s a win-win situation. Still, he didn’t appear. It’s the 6th day when Pastor announced his decision.

Fornication and Youth Leaders and Young Preachers

There’s a preacher I know.

He’s the same age as I am (only a few months older than yours truly). I’ll not mention his background, but one thing is very sure: he had a rough childhood. Still though, the Lord found him. He got saved, began winning souls, spreading the Word during his high school days. He became a seminary student in one of the biggest, most aggressive Bible Baptist churches in the Philippines (nowadays, Bible Baptist Churches are now distinguished from Southern, Conversative, even Fundamental Baptist Churches. Still though, in basic doctrine, these Baptist churches are the same). I met him when I was in the Old Church, and he’s in that Big Baptist Church.

I never thought that I’ll have a chance to work WITH him. I saw him conducting the choir. I saw him as one fourth of the quartet of that big Baptist church. When I was adopted by the New Church, I didn’t see him. Then, around 4-5 months after, the Pastor announced that Mr. Young Preacher will be back to help the New Church. During that time, I was appointed by Pastor as the Youth President of the New Church. He’s a good preacher. No, he is a very fiery preacher. He’s quite teachable also. Despite of me not being a seminary graduate, he followed my directives as a Youth President (honestly, if he didn’t follow me, it’s very much fine with me, but he still did). One time, I heard him say that his greatest desire is to be a missionary in his hometown. Now, that’s something. One trait I noticed though is that he’s quite a man of few words, even with fellow guys. Because of his status as a seminary graduate, he commands respect, though he’s humble looking.

Then, here is this single lady. A college student. I can say that she’s one of the most beautiful people in the New Church (Mom said that also). She’s also the tallest lady in that church, be it single or married. She has the charisma. She doesn’t want to lead, but my, she draws the crowd, be it boys or girls. I remember one time when we conducted an inter-church fellowship. Before the message, I conducted a game. Guess what? She led her group. She doesn’t have that nice girl image though. She tends to be insubordinate. She’s also stubborn. I can tolerate those. After all, I am also stubborn. However, she has traits that bother me (I’m not sharing these to the New Church people). One time, I and that lady text each other, but because it’s late, I slept. The next day is prayer meeting night. I approached her, her dad sitting beside her. I apologized for not telling that I slept. I told her that’s the reason why I didn’t reply to her text. You know what did she say? “What text?” Yes it is. She said that right in front of her Dad. I just said never mind. After the prayer meeting, I arrived home, that lady texted me, “I’m sorry about that. My Dad’s strict.” I understood her Dad being strict and all, but what I noticed is that kind of denial INSIDE the church and to her leader. Even until now, my Pastor doesn’t know that incident. Here’s another one: I invited my high school best friend. After the evening service, my best friend said that he found out that I have a girlfriend. I said no. After all, I don’t deny if ever I have relationship. He said, “but ‘that lady’ said this: ‘so, you’re my boyfriend’s best friend’?” I told him it’s not true. He believed me. However, those words were etched in my head. It’s like my “spider sense is tingling” when I heard that. It’s like a warning sign. However, I don’t like to conclude. After all, as a Christian, I must not judge people. As my Pastor puts it, only God can change a person’s life. He adds that we ourselves can’t change ourselves, how much more others? Thus, I prayed for her when I remember her regarding that weakness of hers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Me @ 28 last August 4

Exactly 8 days before today, August 12, it was my birthday. Actually, like most bloggers out there, I like to type something about my birthday. However, I have told many people that I’m not the type who broadcast my birthday. No, don’t get me wrong. I am happy when people gave me a birthday greeting. It’s just that despite of my talkative personality, I still have that sense of privacy in me. Now, when someone asks me about my birthday, I will answer them truthfully. When no one is asking, I will not say it.

Mom gave me a treat last Monday in one of those places in Makati City. I was with AC, his wife Sarah, his daughter Ocean, and sweet close friend Amie. Mom was happy when I was with that sweet girl. Actually, a week ago, I bought a guitar for myself (through Mom’s credit card). I also bought for myself a pair of sneakers and something that I wanted to buy since few months ago – a pen tablet by Wacom. I bought the guitar in order for me to sing with it inside the church. After all, I have promised to myself to practice playing guitar at the later half of this year (and other talents, like flute and drawing comic strips). I bought a pen tablet for drawing comic strips.

A day before my birthday, I gave the youngsters and the married people in the New Church a birthday treat. What I like with the members in the new church? They enjoyed the treat and the fellowship. My assistant leader gave me a shirt for a gift. (By the way, sweet girl Amie gave me a Christian shirt). I enjoyed small things like that.

By the way, I’m 28 years old. My birthday wishes? Of course, to go back to the Old Church and finally settle things AND state my side of the story there before the Old Church Pastor declares the case CLOSED (many usually say that past is past, but that is wrong if only ONE SIDE is heard). It has always been one of my wishes since 2006. Another wish is of course, long full life filled with fulfillment and happiness. Many say that God blessed me and my family, and I’m thankful to God for that. However, deep within me still has the need for fulfillment. Ever since I resigned from teaching, I was not as fulfilled now as before. Praise God for He used the youth and music ministry for me to have that sense of fulfillment. My ministry in the church as a youth president is one of the main reasons why I try to overcome my inner struggles. However, deep within me, I believe there is something more. I just don’t want to be emotional and take a plunge. To tell you honestly, I still want to teach, and I’m happy doing it. Many people are saying otherwise. Another birthday wish is to graduate finally from graduate school.

My birthday, unlike most of my birthday celebrations, were not celebrated with so many youngsters greeting you with cards and giving “touchy-feeling” messages (hehehehe). My birthday is not as high profile as it used to be back in the Old Church. In fact, even in the new church, my birthday is celebrated by food, no special programs whatsoever. Back in the old church, there came a point that I’ll celebrate my birthday many times in one week! Though this is a far cry in how I celebrate my birthday back in the Old Church, the humbling celebration of my current birthday is my happier birthday celebrations.

A 19-year-old friend and co-member in bobongpinoy once said to me, “don’t just grow old; grow up!” It is true. I’ll take her word for that. Still though, I’ll not “force mature” myself. I’ll learn maturity one step at a time, even if others will call me “immature” because of that. I’ll still aspire to learn. I’ll still aspire to improve what I wanted to improve.

I’m thankful for my birthday. God gave me blessings other people are still aspiring to get. God has been so gracious to me. There are other people that were not given the chance to reach their 28th birthday. Thank you very much, Lord God, for another year added to my life.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

There are really people who can’t be trusted. I know. I know. Most of you, especially those people who know me, will say, “we know that”. It is a fact. Even Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

That’s why it’s difficult to be a Christian (and acting genuine Christianity) to unbelievers. You must not be judgmental, but at the same time be cautious. How many times was I reminded not to trust anyone? Plenty. That’s why I was called “naïve”. Even if the character looks doubtful, I tried to be a kind soul still. Thus, when someone spreads rumors that I’m not a good person, it tears me apart, no matter how many times I experienced it.

Now, let me explain what this ranting is all about. My grandparents told my Mom that my former driver told them my stupid mistakes back when he’s still working for me. I’ll not mention what those stupidities are. I might get sidetracked. Because of this, in that lazy Monday morning, Mom gave me a mouthful of reminders. It’s okay. She’s my Mom. What I don’t like is that those stupidities occurred 2006, and those who followed my blog and my other blogs know what happen in 2006. Besides, I maybe talkative, but I’m not gossiper. That former driver, despite the kindness I’ve shown to him, still gossips my stupid mistakes back when he’s still in my then-apartment. Good thing Mom talked about it only briefly. Still though, it’s enough for my Monday to be ruined…not entirely though.

I was surprised (but not totally) that a guy like him is a gossiper. After all, if you look at him, you’ll say that he’s your couch potato looking guy…not those metrosexual looking guy. He’s not effeminate. Thus, it is surprising. Actually, I’m just humoring you readers. Still though, jokes are half meant. Oh well, I don’t want to dignify that person’s deed further. To sum it up, he’s wrong big time. Period. It just shows the person’s true character and attitude. What I don’t like is that I was trying to regain my composure, proving my Mom and Big Bro that I’m no longer that stupid and undiscerning with people (naïve). Besides, it was part of the past. Oh well, those stuff should not be dignified. After all, that former driver is no saint, but that’s another story.

Another experience is more recent. A few hours ago, Big Bro texted me that he received a news that I was flirting around with a neighbor’s baby sitter. I told him that I haven’t “talked” to that girl (when I say “talk” with quotation marks, it means flirting around). Besides, this one I didn’t mention: it’s been a few weeks since the last time I saw her. Big Bro found out that through his daughter’s babysitter. According to Big Bro, the rumors are spread in my niece’s school! Poor girl, if she just knows the mess that babysitter did.

Yes, I have been typically kind, like I usually do to other girls (unfortunately, that gave me the “trademark playboy”). I do admit that I humor her (for she’s my neighbor). I never explained my side to Big Bro. I just said that I haven’t talked to her for quite sometime. Big Bro told me not to talk to that woman again. That’s easy. Yes, that’s easy. Besides, she’s outside the “church system”. Keep on talking, and it will just come back to her. I am used to that issue, even back in the Old Church. In that aspect, the words, “I don’t have to please everyone” is very much applicable. That’s another reason why I don’t defend myself that much: my defense is not needed by those who love me and is not believed by those who hate me. Why bother? Back in the Old Church, there are issues against me, especially in how I deal with the opposite gender. I may have stated many things in my blog (for this is my journal), but it’s quite rare that I defend myself. When a man is being accused of being playboy or promiscuous, the best defense is silence. Besides, people who love you won’t need your explanation; people who hate you won’t believe it. I just hope those who know those will not make a big deal out of this. What if they made a big deal out of this? I’ll just explain to them, but not in details.

Oh well, despite my doubts to specific people, why I still befriend them despite of “the tingling spider sense”? The Bible says, “…love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 19:19). Yes, the Bible said, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of:” (Romans 14:16), but it is Jesus Christ Himself who said that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. God have given me an adequate (not heightened) discernment, with people, but that doesn’t mean I will prejudge them. The Bible is against that (Matthew 7:1).


Again, I just hope and pray that this will not be a big deal tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Encouragement from unlikely people

(Note: I mention names here because I complimented them)

I miss the co-leaders back in the old church. I miss the Old Church who gives me the tap at the back. I miss Pastor James O. Montenegro, my former high school teacher/adviser now a Pastor in Bulacan, who gives me encouragement. He’s one of those few Old Church people who didn’t change his treatment to me despite of what had happened (although other Old Church people say they didn’t change, but Pastor James proved it in his actions toward me, even going to the New Church to preach, and eventually, making friends with the New Church Pastor). I miss Pastor Joel A. Solomon, Pastor in Sapang Palay, SJDM, Bulacan. He may be quite a snub <<<(please don’t mistook that statement ok?), but hey, he has that pragmatic state of mind (“it happened before, just aspire not to do it again”). I appreciate Bro. Rolly Javier’s tap at the back. Pastor Jeremias A. Solomon, my former mentor and Youth Director, for being humble in “situations where humility is necessary”. I miss some of the Old Church youngsters, like Ambel Gallardo, Azre Villarico, Jeremy James Samson, Emmanuel Refugio, Ezra Villarico. I also appreciate Miguel Rodriguez (not the late actor), for still believing in me. I also appreciate May Moreno, Kristine Victoria for the smiles at me, for still calling me “kuya”, for still considering me their “former leader”.

I also appreciate those people who gave me the cold shoulders (which I assume that they’ve justified it, to the point of burying it with their assumptions) after that “dark thing of the past”. It is because of them that I made a realization to strive for a better testimony, a better Christian life, and a tougher person not too dependent on other brethren (by not forsaking God’s assembly).

There are others, but I mentioned the foremost people who gave me the encouragement and the “just like before” treatment. Yes, those who know them will maybe discredit them based on their past mistakes, and their past negative actions. Maybe other people who know them know their lapses (if they have one, or two), but with their encouragement and “still positive” treatment to me, they have helped a brother in Christ.

Nowadays, I appreciate the simplest of encouragements that I receive. Nowadays, I receive encouragement from unlikely people. I used the word “unlikely” because they look tough. Around two years ago, a father of my 4 youth members, while inside their car, told me, “You’re still young. You still have many things to do for the Lord.” You know why I appreciate that man’s encouragement? If you just know his life before he got saved, you’ll understand what I’m trying to talk about.

Just yesterday (Sunday, July 27), the New Church Pastor’s mother approached me. She’s known for her strictness and her toughness. She’s a person who rarely smiles (and she acknowledges that). She approached me, and you know what? She encouraged me. She said to keep up with the good attitude and some other positive stuff. I almost forgot to mention, a few months back, she said that God will bless me. This may sound a cliché for a veteran believer, but I gave back to God the glory. I am hypocrite not to admit that I enjoyed those compliments and encouragements. That encouragement was etched in my head. Two unlikely people became the source of those encouraging words. I can’t help but compare these two unlikely people with those likely people I’m expecting encouragement, but never received it.

Indeed, sometimes, you can never tell whom will God use in order for a brethren in Christ to be encouraged. I believed that God spoke in their hearts, maybe they just don’t know it. Those encouragements will be etched in my head. Those encouragements will be considered my fuel to persevere, despite of my shortcomings before.

Like I said, I appreciate the simplest of encouragements.

Never withhold the encouragement to a fellow brother or sister in Christ. Never withhold compliments to a fellow worker both inside and outside the church. Never fail to appreciate people for their simplest positive traits. Never withhold the compliments due to a person, even if you feel that he or she will be boastful after the compliments. Besides, your assumption that that person will be boastful MAY BE WRONG. (Sometimes, people withhold encouragements and compliments to a person because they feel that that person is “so full of himself/herself”. Granting the fact, they are right, if their assumption IS INDEED RIGHT, GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT PERSON.) Always give a tapping at the back to those people who had a well done job. Especially in government office bosses, learn to be thankful with your staff.

The world is so cold; encouragement and compliment will warm their day even for a while. Christians should tear the wall of fear (of being accused of this and that) and pride and start to encourage fellow Christians. Like I said, it’s a cold world out there, sincere encouragements and compliments will surely warm a person’s day. Try it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

House Bill 634 part 1

Last week, as I’m switching channels, I saw Korina Sanchez and Ted Failon. I forgot the title of the show, but definitely it was shown in ANC, and definitely they are the host. Now, what caught my attention is one of the guests of the show – Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr., which is also the Pastor of Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church in Sta. Ana, Manila.

With him is a Catholic Archbishop Oscar Cruz (I’m not a Catholic. Though I have lapses in my own faith, please do understand why I don’t call him “Father”). They have two other guests on “the other corner”, a lesbian and a gay (I forgot). The topic is about House Bill No. 634, if this bill is passed, this will be called “Anti-Discrimination Law” or “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Therefor”.

I will leave the technicalities of the Bill to legal arguments of our legal minds. What caught my attention why I stopped switching channels is when Korina Sanchez humorously asked Cong. Abante. She asked him if he had bad experiences with gay people. He answered that back in his high school days, there are old gays who are doing this and that (he didn’t elaborate). Sanchez pinned him down in that part. If you’re watching the show, you’ll see that all of them are laughing in that part (even Cong. Abante), but you can feel Sanchez’ gut in that humor. Ted Failon is just more of a listener by the way. Moments later, Sanchez said that her staff has many gay members, and she said that they are creative. Now, I understand a bit. Moments later again, the lesbian/guest told Sanchez and Failon that she wants to marry the one she’s now with. The hosts admire her (the lesbian/guest) for doing such because, according to Sanchez, there are guys who don’t have the balls to accept responsibility (which I agree).

Now, like I said, I will leave the legal arguments of this Bill to the House of Representatives, Lawyers, and Law Students. Let me just tell you what I think on the following statements:

1) LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transvestites) performs well in their respective fields, sometimes even better with the heterosexual counterparts – that is true. There are successful LGBTs, and that’s because they are hard working AND motivated. The mere fact that there is, well, discrimination, the tendency is to back-out or rise to the challenge, prove them wrong. Usually, it’s the latter. It’s not their being LGBT that makes them successful. It is the inner motivation to prove the critics (mostly homophobes as other people say it) wrong. It’s no different to a Filipino who went to US or different parts of the world. Because of some sort of discrimination, especially to Southeast Asian like Filipinos, that Filipino will either bow down, prove the critics right, or rise to the challenge and excel in the field he chooses. Usually, it’s the latter. I know first hand two Filipinas who resides in Beverly Hills. Hard work and inner motivation, not sexual orientation, makes them successful.
2) There are other guys who don’t want to take responsibility to a girl – guys and gals, you know what that means. Again, it is true, a sad truth. Real man is responsible to his actions. Too bad there are those who do otherwise. However, a man being irresponsible is different from lesbian wanting to marry a girl. Both are wrong. Besides, those are two different entities. Yes, there are irresponsible guys, but that doesn’t mean same sex marriage is justifiable. It’s like giving a wrong medicine to a wrong patient!
3) The reason why a congressman will block House Bill No. 634 is maybe he has a bad experience on LGBTs – okay, if I’ll follow that statement, thus, all laws are written because of a bad experience of that congressman/congresswoman, or worst, for their respective self-interest (but that’s another story). Personally, I think that humorous statement is nearly below the belt (nearly, because Sanchez knows her limits).

Okay, let me get this straight: as a Baptist, I’m against homosexuality and lesbianism. The Bible is against that. Let me also tell you that I have gay, bisexual, and lesbian friends. Is what I am doing contrary to what I really believe? Not really. Being a non-Baptist, I have no control in their choice of orientation. The Bible discourages homosexual practice. Still though, go to any Filipino Baptist church. If you’re a visitor who is belongs to LGBT, you’ll be accepted as a visitor. Like the new church pastor usually says, “everybody is welcome, but not their sins”. In fact, there are 2 cases I know that a visitor came to a church drunk. Of course, we are on guard, but he’s not thrown out. Why? All souls are welcome, my friend. However, once you become a member (by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and being baptized by a Baptist preacher authorized by a Baptist church), you must follow the rules of the church governed by God’s Word – the Bible. After all, you’re inside a private organization called church. If you didn’t follow, the church has the right to discipline that member, and it’s not only for homosexual practice, there are other cases like fornication, adultery, theft, drunkenness. Still, despite that discipline, Baptists are the ones who have the guts to approach a LGBT to win that person to Christ. Besides, no one loves LGBTs better than believers (whether Baptist or other Christians who believes in the assurance of salvation through accepting Christ as Lord and Savior) who share the Gospel to them. Passing Anti-Discrimination Bill as a law is just superficial. Yes, there may come a time that this will become a law, thus liberating LGBTs more than before, BUT…are they really free?

Jesus Christ is the real answer, not same sex marriage, not that Bill.

To the Representatives who made this Bill, I respect you and what you’re fighting for. But please, respect also the view I share with many Baptist people who agree with yours truly. I know you will. J

To Korina Sanchez and Ted Failon, I like your way of hosting, but what you did to Cong. Abante is nearly below the belt. You’re discussing a Bill here, the joke is quite personal (good thing Cong. Abante laughed at it). Cong. Abante is just standing on what he believes in. Besides, he has a Biblical basis on that.

To the lesbian and gay guests at that show, if our paths crossed, I’ll be the most polite and kind person you’ll come across. If we are friends, there’s a chance that you’ll be invited in my house for some snacks or dinner or lunch, but my principle is still the same. Why? Because Baptist guys are generally nice, not typical homophobes.

To all LGBTs, I don’t hate you…in fact, I never hated you…

More similar entries next time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

objectivity effect, like a boomerang...and generalizing

A youngster told me that I’m bitter every time I answer surveys being given by friends at Friendster (via bulletin). According to her, it shows when I answer questions on specific topics. I took it as a reminder. Then, when I answer another survey, she gave me a message, saying that it’s still a bit bitter. Again, I took it as a reminder and not as an insult. This same youngster, when I shared to her my past, she say things as if she’s preaching to me. I still can’t forget how she reminded me about fornication. Her approach is more of an objective type, ala Gregory House. By the looks of it, she’s doing an objective approach. Again, I accepted. Why? As a Christian youth leader, I must still be teachable enough and listen to suggestions and reminders, regardless of their age and how they deliver it. Besides, the youngster had a point. Although I don’t talk like that to my leaders back then.

Then, something happened. She found out that her guy best friend committed the same mistake I did in the past. She defended her best friend. At the end, she ended up being blamed by the other party. I don’t want to brush into details, but I can feel her anger and bitterness because of what had happened. Now, her best friend was at that same predicament, will she be as preachy and as objective as she usually is? Yes, it still can be, but maybe with some softness in tones.

No, I don’t have any thing against that youngster. In fact, I like that youngster. However, this is the fact of life: when you rebuke, expect that the same rebuke will come back to haunt you. “…and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew 7:2) The youngster humorously rebuked my being bitter and what I did in the past, now that very same predicament happened to her, and her best friend. I just hope that she’s getting the message of that experience. However, if not for her best friend’s short coming, she may have not realize in a more personal manner that fornication can happen even to the nicest, not your usual suspects around, like me (a usual suspect?heheheh). Hehehehe. In counseling, always think that any pain, any human weakness can happen to any human being, even Christians.

However, I do hope and pray that she can overcome her bitterness. I
I have to say this: in general terms, I am not a woman hater. The idea just crossed my mind when someone told me that I have woman issues. I’m not. In fact, the closest friend right now is a sweet girl. The one who is giving her help in my comics (editorial aspect) is a lady school mate. And in case I do, I’m praying and doing my best to let go of hatred. Big bro and I grew up basically with our mom. My aunts, paternal grandma good take care of me. I have lady cousins I like hanging out with. I have more girl friends than guy friends (because I have more lady classmates).

One thing that I hate though is woman blaming the men as if we are the most-wicked species ever. Okay, maybe you will react or will not care. Hehehehehe. I admit that one of the reasons why I share that part of my life is not to practice bitterness and self pity. I’m telling that part of my life so that if there are women who are vocally bitter with men, they still have a choice to overcome their bitterness. Weird? Senseless? Immature? Childish? Let me explain in this manner: yeah, you have your reasons to hate men because of your own experience, so do I with women. Yet, I chose to befriend women to the point of being sweet to them. Why? I chose not to rule with “woman hating”. Why? I still believe that there’s still good gals around. So, pleeeeeeease girls, don’t generalize men. Your kind has bad breeds too (and good ones too, that’s the point). Your kind is not perfect the way men are not also perfect. You don’t believe me, do you? Maybe you don’t even care. That’s the last straw to hit someone’s opinion – you’ll say that you don’t care. Oh well, I don’t expect you to believe today’s post and even care with my opinion. (My circle of friends is composed more of female populace than dudes, partially because of my course and faith, I hope that alone will explain that I’m not a woman hater).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

“Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”

Yes, that’s part of one of the songs of Alanis Morissette. If my memory is right, it was during my either my junior or senior high school year when it was first aired. Anyway, this is not the post on Alanis’ song. The word is irony. Yes, irony or the “incongruity between the actual and expected result”. Oops, I think the theoretical definition did more than good. Anyway, like I said, it’s about irony.

I am no sage, nor seer. I’m not even a member of Mensa (I’m not qualified, thanks). However, I have seen ironies in my life of 27 years (when I posted this)…and they are usually called “plantsa” in Tagalog. Seriously and without the dry humor, some of the ironies I know I learned from the Bible, which I eventually experience or encounter. Some of the ironies I learned from first hand encounter (especially dealing with opposite gender). Well, you may have your other opinion, but let me tell you this: all of these are experiential, not only theoretical.

1) It is more blessed to give than to receive – a similar term is “the more you give, the more you receive”. I have learned this first hand. Usually, in order to gain, you must take, take, and take, right? But life says “wrong”. Look around you. Plants give oxygen. Humans and animals give (by excreting well, you know). How many times have I seen people not blessed by God because of selfishness? On the other hand, I have seen generous people, giving to the point of sacrificing. Yet, even if they have no more to give, they still have ways in order to give. Why? Because God is a generous God. This is not only irony, but also the nature of God.
2) The way “up” is “down” – Aside from God-given talent, one will surely go up by going down. It means a humble person will be promoted. I have seen people in the Old Church, they’re the usual behind the scenes, but now they are pastors. I have seen organization members who is humble and low key, a year or two later, he or she is the President of that Org. Thus, other people use this style in order to be promoted. You know, the “humble effect”. They’ll behave as if they’re low profile, yet proud in their hearts. Still though, only God can judge who aspires humility and who feigns it; it’s not for me to judge.
3) Destroy your enemies by making them your friends – Abraham Lincoln, as far as I can remember, stated this. Normally, especially in war, you destroy enemies by, well, destroying them. This is more of brotherly kindness. Strange and difficult, but it works. I have tried that before, it worked, but not in all people.
4) If you ignore them, they’ll approach you. Yeah, yeah, I know some of you will disagree, but like I said, it’s experiential. How many times have I seen friendly guys being snubbed by girls only to approach a low profile man at the corner of the bar? If you think there are men who felt challenged by snobbish women (to the point they’ll court those types), think again. There are women who will approach men who are ignoring them. I know of a guy who ignores one of the prettiest ladies in the church, and yet that lady tried to catch that guy’s attention. Why is this so? Maybe it will be a trophy or achievement or self-gratification, but still, I consider this ironic. That’s why there are guys who play shy type or “low profile effect”: to win the girl’s heart.
5) The more you hate, the more you love – well, this doesn’t apply to all, but this sure still exists. Have you encounter a person that you are disgusted, and eventually you began to like each other’s company?

Those are some of the ironies that I have learned. Maybe other ironies will come if my memory will allow…or if life itself will allow me to experience such.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Time not wasted


“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” ---Ephesians 5:16
As a person gets older, the more responsibility that person accumulates. I’m living at a young age of 27. I have more responsibilities now than 7 years ago. Back then, I’m a graduating college student. I don’t have a car then. Now, I have a job and a decent salary. Because I’m now a professional, I’m expected to be responsible. One of the things that a responsible person must NOT do is WASTE TIME.

When we hear the words, “wasting time”, often times, we think of unemployed people just sitting down, drinking, and not making any effort to find a job (even if the job is low paying, at least one finds a way to work). Yes, it is true, when one is not working when he’s of the age to do so, he’s wasting his time. I’m not perfect, but one thing I don’t like is gossiping. In the Bible, they’re called “busybodies”. Busybodies are often associated with gossiping alone. However, a busybody is a person who is a gossiper AND a lazy person. Besides, if you’re working really hard, you don’t have for gossips. Gossiping is a waste of time. If you’re gossiping during working hours, especially if you’re working in a government office/company/agency, you’re wasting your time. No, I don’t want to follow the “hit the government” bandwagon of most blogs. It’s because government people are paid by taxpayers’ money. Thus, if a government employee is wasting time (through gossiping, fault finding, making things personal, criticism, etc), he is not only wasting his time, but also the taxpayer’s money. After all, one will not be enriched spiritually, physically and INTELLECTUALLY, by gossips (okay, I know what you’re thinking; no “philosophical response” there…hehehe). Indeed, one should find a work (if he’s unemployed) and work in the workplace (if he’s employed). By doing so, his time is not wasted.
Time is not wasted if you’re doing your best in the time God has given to you. Most of the times, if you’re a church guy/gal, you tend to ritualize the church services. Here we are. Fix ourselves up. We’ll go in the church. Sit down. Stand up. Sang some hymns. Join the public prayer. Sit down again. Listen to the singers/choir/instruments. Shake the fellow congregants’ hands. Sit down again. Listen to the Pastor’s/Preacher’s/Guest speaker’s sermon. Give our tithes and offerings. Stand up to pray for dismissal. Just like a mouse going out of his hole, you go out of the church building. Now, haven’t we asked if we did our best at that worship day? If you’re assigned as the pianist, did you do your best playing the piano? Or, because you memorize the hymnals from cover to cover, you didn’t practice for at least a few minutes, thus, not doing your best? If you’re singing as a soloist or any special number, is it really special? No, I’m not playing perfectionist. Yes, I want a special number that was sung well. However, it’s not the issue of talent if you’re doing your best or not. It’s all about the effort. Yes, the congregants will be mesmerized by your awesome baritone or your lyric soprano or your powerful, music-educated tenor. Even I will clap my hands and shout a loud “AMEN” if I hear you singing a Gospel song. Still, at the end of the day, God knows if you really did your best (by practicing before the service) or not (if you didn’t take time to practice). If you didn’t do your best, you’re just wasting your time. If you’re a choir member and you’re not doing your best and, because of status symbol (“I HAVE a ministry; I’M VISIBLE in the church through choir”) you just want to have a shorter practice, you’re just wasting your time. (Now, maybe some of you will think, “since I’m not doing best and wasting my time, I’ll no longer join the choir.” That’s not only arrogant, it’s also DOWNRIGHT FOOLISH!). If you’re a song leader, lead the congregational singing as if it’s your last. I don’t like it when someone assigned to sing in the congregation, but because he doesn’t want to open his mouth wide (as singers usually do) because he feels it will make him look ugly. I know a young gal who was assigned to be a wedding singer, but because her poise will be affected, she doesn’t want to hit the note even if she can. She opted for a lower version. (That’s “pa-cute”. A singer who smiles is not automatically “pa-cute”. A singer who can reach the note, and yet opted not to reach it because his/her poise will be affected, is the real “pa-cute”). If you’re assigned, do your best to sing. You’re a singer for the Lord, not a celebrity. If the pastor assigned you to preach in the congregation, study hard, pray hard, and deliver it as if it’s your last day on earth. Now, I know there are pastors who assigned preachers on-the-spot. What about if your pastor is like that? How can you prepare, give your best, if your pastor assign preachers on-the-spot (I experience to be assigned as a speaker during Prayer Meeting. The time between Prayer Meeting and when Pastor assigned me? About 2 hours. Where am I at that time? At school. The distance between school and church is 12 kilometers and it’s Espana, a traffic riddled place. I can’t forget that one)? It’s still not an excuse to be mediocre. Pray to God to always give you spiritual strength daily. Read your Bible. Read any materials that are of help (books, magazines, newspaper) for you as a speaker. If your pastor assigned again 1 hour before the service, God will surely work and, since you always read your Bible and have read other materials, you’re ready to give your best. When you give your best in the time AND opportunity God has given you, then your time is not wasted.
Your time is not wasted if you fear God. Now, how can we connect fearing God with godly fear and time management? I’ll try to explain the connection: I have heard many times that a person is a good time manager if he orders things according to priorities. If a task is a Top 1 priority, a good time manager will focus on that priority, and set aside the ones that can wait (there are other boss who give one person multiple tasks with only one deadline, but that’s another story). Now, applying it spiritually, the MAIN DUTY of a believer is to fear God and keep His commandments. If you fear God, you’ll do what He wants, and you’ll not do what He doesn’t want. God hates sin, so, you’ll not waste your time doing sins. Because you fear God, you’ll avoid things sins because sin eats your precious time (that precious time can be used in other more meaningful things). Sin is a waste of time. If you go to places believers are not expected to go (like drinking pubs), is your time wasted or not? For example, in a drinking session, there are times that you’ll start from SUNDOWN to SUNRISE, depending on how much money and alcohol tolerance. Let’s just say you began drinking at around 8PM. It’s unusual if group drinking session is only 2 hours. It usually lasts until midnight, sometimes sunrise. If that happens, you wasted the time that you can use in other things, like being with your wife and kids (for married people), sleeping to gather strength for next day’s work/school. Not only time, you also wasted your money. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco-based products have one of the highest tax rates (sin tax), and yet they’re still earning big. It is because consumers spend a lot for this. Yes, as believers we have our lapses, but as long as we live in this world, God will allow you to bounce back again. Indeed, time is not wasted if you fear God.
Yes, when I read that verse and thoughts that came to me after reading that verse, it also hit me. I’m guilty of time wasting. Yes, one way or another, all of us are guilty today. You may have done your best as an employee, and yet you sacrificed church services. You maybe an active congregant that doesn’t miss a church service, but you’re a busybody talking about other believer’s life as if you’re acting like an opinionated person. You may be an active church goer and participant and yet, because of self pity and deep seated hatred that you’re consumed, you’re not taking time to do your best to improve yourself as a Christian and as a person. C’mon, ALL believers are guilty, maybe not directly, but in similar manners.

Let’s not waste our time. If you’re an employee, do your job well. If you’re unemployed, make an effort to find a job, even a short term job if there’s nothing available for now (I know a believer who did just that. He’s not only blessed with a good job, but God gave him a partner, the prettiest in that local church). If you’re inside the church, stop the gossip. Instead, take time to smile, and make other believers happy. Share some wholesome jokes. Use your time to encourage another believer or pray for them.
I have many things to say, but I’ll stop there. After all, I have driven one principle today: let’s not waste our time.