Wednesday, April 23, 2008

be of the same mind...

You might accuse me of “not protecting my own”, but in local New Testament churches, it is unavoidable that there are two people (even more) who are not in good speaking terms.

In Ephesians 4:2, Paul is beseeching (pleading) Euodias and Syntyche to be “of the same mind with the Lord”.

Okay, let’s not dig deeper on that. Let’s go back to the topic. It is unavoidable that there are two people or even more who are not in good terms one with another inside the church. Still though, it should not be tolerated. If you are church leader, a pastor and/or leaders given authority by their pastor, should talk this over. What’s the hard part? The leader should not force them to be in good terms. Apostle Paul’s old nature is sarcasm. Despite of that, he said the word “beseech” (to plead; to request).

Frankly, I find it sad when two brethren or more are not in good speaking terms one with another, even if they have their “valid” reasons why they did so. The church is the body of Christ. If brothers and sisters are not in good terms, it’s like the hand is punching his other parts of the body. It’s like a kingdom divided in itself. For short, it’s not a good scene.

You know what? I just don’t like it when believers don’t speak one to another because they hate each other.

MY BRETHREN, I HAVE EXPERIENCED ONE OF THE TOUGHEST CHURCH DISCIPLINES A CONGREGANT WILL EVER EXPERIENCE: DISMISSAL. DESPITE MY REPENTANCE, I’M STILL NOT YET ALLOWED TO GO BACK BECAUSE MY EX-GIRLFRIEND, ACCORDING TO HER MOTHER, IS NOT READY TO FORGIVE ME YET. BECAUSE OF THIS, I HAVE NO CHOICE, BUT DON’T STEP TO THE PREMISES OF THE CHURCH. ANOTHER PART OF THE CONSEQUENCE IS THE ALIENATION FROM SOME BRETHREN BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT THAT MATURE ENOUGH. I THOUGHT I WILL NOT HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE OF ATTENDING A BAPTIST CHURCH, MEET FELLOW BELIEVERS, HAVE MINISTRIES. ALMOST TWO MONTHS OF MY LIFE, I HAVE NO BRETHREN TO TALK TO. IT IS HARD. IT’S DEPRESSING.

THEN, GOD’S GRACE MOVES IN MY LIFE. A BAPTIST CHURCH ADOPTED ME. THE PASTOR KNOWS WHAT DID I DO BACK IN THE OLD CHURCH, YET HE ADOPTED ME. IN FACT, HE TOLD ME TO GET INVOLVE IN THE MINISTRIES, SPECIFICALLY THE RESURRECTION OF THE YOUTH MINISTRY (BACK THEN).

IT’S SO HARD TO LOSE YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN THE CHURCH (EVEN IF THEY SAY IT IS TEMPORARY; EVEN PARTIALLY IT IS YOUR FAULT). WHEN I WAS GIVEN ANOTHER CHANCE BY GOD TO MINISTER AGAIN, I PURPOSED IN MYSELF TO ACCEPT THE BRETHREN EVEN IN THEIR WEAKNESSES.

BRETHREN, I’M PLEADING AS YOUR BROTHER IN CHRIST TO STOP THE “FIGHTING” INSIDE THE CHURCH. IF THEY HAVE THEIR LAPSES, FORGIVE THEM. IF POSSIBLE, HELP THEM RECOVER. LOVE THE CHURCH BY LOVING YOUR BRETHREN THERE. I HAVE EXPERIENCED FIRST HAND HOW IT FEELS NOT TO HAVE ANY CHURCH, ANY BRETHREN AT ALL TO TALK TO.

BRETHREN, IF YOU’RE NOT IN SPEAKING TERMS WITH SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU THINK IT’S HIS OR HER FAULT, THINK AGAIN. NOT TALKING TO A BROTHER/SISTER IN CHRIST BECAUSE OF HATE IS NO GOOD. INDIRECTLY, YOU ARE SAYING TO YOURSELF, “HE OR SHE IS NOT THE ONLY PERSON IN THE CHURCH.” YES, THAT ONE IS APPLICABLE IN SOME CASES, BUT NOT IN THIS. INDIRECTLY, YOU THINK YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE FRIENDS, EVEN IF YOU’LL NOT SETTLE YOUR DIFFERENCES. MAN, ARE YOU SURE THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE TO TALK TO YOU, TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOU?

STOP THE HATE. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHURCH TO BE LOYAL TO. LOVE YOUR CHURCH. YOU LOVE THE CHURCH BY LOVING THE BRETHREN THAT IS PART OF YOUR CHURCH. LOVING THEM MEANS ACCEPTING THEM FOR WHO THEY ARE.

Christian youngsters, be friendly and/or nice

I don’t if it’s just me or what. I notice a significant change of attitude of young people inside a church, interpersonal-wise. I attended a Youth Convention last year in a big church. Since I was in college, I attend that Big Church Convention. Why not? It is a growing Baptist church. Last year, I attended the Youth Convention after one year of missing it due to…well, you know.

As usual, I tried to make friends. Yes, I made friends with some working singles there. However, in the teens/college level, there’s this feeling of distance every time I tried to made friends with them. I said to myself at that time, “maybe I had a bad grooming. Maybe I have a body odor. Maybe I need to improve the approach.” Still, despite slight improvement, those late teens/college people are having this invisible barrier. Hmmm, maybe it’s my age gap between me and them. Then, I got a chance to talk with two of the working singles of that Big Church. Two nice ladies. I expressed my opinion regarding the situation in a blunt manner. Suddenly, they came to defend them. One of the nice ladies said that the reason is because the people there are quite malicious when it comes in those things. She meant that when opposite genders talk, even when they are in the crowd (which is my usual choice), people start whispering. I told both of them bluntly that it is still wrong. As far I can remember, I raised my voice a bit out of disgust. Yes, the raising of the voice is wrong, and I acknowledged that. However, this doesn’t happen also in that Big Church; it happens in the Old Church. The youngsters are not as friendly as before. Actually, I’m starting to feel this will happen when I was still a youth leader in the Old Church. Based on the gathered words-of-mouth, youngsters are not as friendly as before due to the following:

1) These youngsters avoid being a subject of worthless issues. Even if they want to be friendly, but because there are squealers of worthless issues, they opted not to do so.
2) Lady youngsters are quite traumatic with their experiences in this stuff.
3) The Biblical standard of interpersonal relationship was interpreted by these squealers in an extreme, dogmatic manner.

I don’t know the other reasons. Don’t get me wrong. Churches should have standards of conduct, especially youngsters. This will serve as a good testimony of the churches to the people outside those churches. A Christian should have that sense of spiritual discernment, especially if he or she is an elder youngster. However, he or she should not be a snub inside the Church, especially in Youth Conventions, just because “people are watching”. Snubbing is different from being “a Biblical standard following” lady/gentleman. Youngsters inside the church should be friendly, especially visitors/fellow visiting Christians from other churches. If you can’t be friendly, be nice enough. There are people who find it difficult to be friendly. I understand that, but if you can be friendly, be nice enough to accommodate friendly people. Ephesians 4:32 said that we should be “…kind one to another…”

Yes, being too close to opposite genders is dangerous because you’re giving room to Satan to make these youngsters commit fornication, but hey, let’s face it: fornication can happen even to the most snobbish people. In fact, I know a snobbish youngster (who rarely talks to visitors) who committed fornication. If youngsters inside a local church will continue to be a snob, there will come a time that youngsters, especially new comers, will feel inferior because these snobs, usually pioneers or children of pioneering members, well, snubbed them.

Well, maybe I’m alone on my view in this matter. In fact, maybe those who knows who I am will just say, “Well, it’s JUST HIM…DON’T MIND HIM”. It’s fine with me. I am firm to say that Christian youngsters should be either friendly or accommodating to friendly approaches or both. You might say that’s risky, man, but hey, when we got saved, Satan had been our enemy since Day 1. Any malicious issues (being accused of playboy, flirt, chick boy, etc) will not be solved by snubbing friendly guys. In fact, you’re just giving Satan another room to those guys by making friends with unbelieving gals, which will eventually, be their partner (and you know that it is un-Biblical). Whether we act like a snob or a friendly person, Satan will always find a hole. I know being friendly and being nice has its risk, but a Biblical believer is more a friendly than a snob. As long as you’re following the Bible’s guidelines toward friendship with opposite genders, you will not go wrong. What about those who committed fornication because of these “friendly things”? Well, first, being friendly and being “lusty” are two different things. Those who committed fornication committed it out of their lusts and/or carried away emotions (if you’re offended with that other term), not because they are friendly to each other.

Baptist youngsters, let’s be friendly and/or nice to fellow Baptist youngsters. Pull down that malicious thinking (as long as you’re following the Biblical standards of friendship with opposite genders). By the way, where is the simple advice that was given by the Bible when it comes in dealing with opposite gender? I Timothy 5:2 says, “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

To all youngsters who claim that they’re believers in Christ, the youngsters in your own local Baptist church and in other local Baptist churches, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Avoid malicious thinking. Malice is different from discernment. Discernment is followed by Biblical actions, malice is followed rumors.

The words maybe hard, maybe mean, but my heart’s desire is for Christian youngsters to make their respective local church a haven of friendship. After all, we are Christians.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

sad sad day for me... but i need to do it

Amie, that sweet girl I always mention to my few friends, and I have finally decided not to see each other. It is a mutual agreement. Still, it hurts. I cried that Saturday night. When I woke up Sunday morning, I cried before I went downstairs for breakfast.

Amie’s a sweet girl. She’s thoughtful and considerate of my busy schedules. She’s not a control freak. You know the best part? She trusts me. We have so many things in common, like both of us like cartoons, both of us like steak, burger, pasta, and things like that. It’s like the song, “the two of us…we’re quite a pair”. Mom likes her. She even told me, “She’s nice. You two get along well together.” In fact, during Mom’s birthday, she gave Amie a gift. She’s thoughtful and sensitive. I will not forget how she gave Ocean a Christmas gift, without me telling her to do that. She gave me gifts during Christmas, my birthday, and Valentine’s Day, all of which I never expected from her. How thoughtful. Every time we are in a restaurant, mall, and places like that, every time I ask, “where shall we go? Where shall we eat?”, she will reply, “IT’S UP TO YOU.” I never felt this way before: being in-charge. Unlike in my previous relationship, she will make me feel and REALLY BE in charge. She makes me the man that I WANTED TO BE, not the man I SHOULD BE (if you make me the man that I wanted to be, I will surely strive to be the man that I should be, so please, no control freaks).

God knows how much I love her, but I love the Lord God more. Because of that, I’ll obey Him. Amie and I decided not to talk and see each other. She said she wants time to think it over (if she wants to be converted). I told her not to do it anymore.

Most of the people around me misunderstood the move that I made. You know what? Aside from Amie, the person that was hurt the most with this decision is ME. I love the person. It is just now that I met a lady who makes me feel in charge. She’s considerate, cheerful like a child, sensitive, optimistic, supportive, and sweet. Yes, she may have her flaws, but it is tolerable.

Why did I make that move? I love the Lord God more. I believe God will take care of her. I understand that I’ll be misunderstood for this, but I have to do it. Remember the last time I talked about “principles”? It is still true, there are principles needed to be done, even if it hurts.

a simple compliment to mocha girl

Judy, a former school mate that I mentioned last time, found out this blog site by accident. According to her, she browsed a google.com to see if her name will come out with results. One of the results is my blog site.

I don’t know if I have said this before: when I mention real names here, it is usually followed by positive things. Except if the person is a popular one (i.e. politicians, movie stars, etc), I don’t mention real names here if I’ll say anything negative. After all, blog sites can make or break someone. In the case of Judy, she’s worth mentioning here for the positive things that she is doing to me lately. I hope and pray that she will finally have her true love. After all, she’s worth it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Being a Church Youth Leader

I have been in the Youth Ministry as a leader for 6 years. If my years as an assistant leader be included, I have been a youth leader for 8 years. Yes, 8 years of God’s grace. No, the Youth Ministry is not easy to handle. Just think of a church as a whole, make their looks and minds many, many years, and…presto…the members of the Youth Ministry. When someone volunteered/accepted the leadership in

Some say that if you have any background as a school teacher, specifically secondary school teacher, you’ll have the edge, well, think again. I know high school teachers who are really a snub. In the youth ministry, you must do your best not to be a snub, especially if you’re the MAIN youth leader. Besides, you can’t treat the youngsters in the youth ministry like public school students. You can’t assert your authority just like Filipino public school teacher does (hehehehe…I’ve been a public school teacher for less than 2 years. I just wish youth leaders have that kind of authority just like public school teacher). Honestly, with a recent youth related problem that I’m encountering right now, I wanted to assert like a public school teacher does to his/her students. Yes, being a school teacher will help, but you can’t do the “classroom management” style most of the time in the Youth Ministry.

I envy public school teachers in that aspect. Their authority to the students is really a pot of gold for people who wanted that kind of authority. Although I hate teachers physically abusing erring students, I don’t like students asserting their rights while they’re not that good in their responsibilities as a student.

Just recently, I have this problem with two youngsters. They’re not in good terms with each other. They’re not talking to each other inside the church. Yes, they’re college ladies (the older the youngster, the bigger the problems to face). What made matter worst is that one of them is telling things to other people, including myself. Yes, I appreciate how she shares things with me, but she is also sharing this to other youth. Because of that, she just made things worse than what it really should be. Now, I’m awaiting a parent who said that she wants to talk to me on SOMETHING.

That’s only one example that Youth Ministry is no joke. Adding to that is the different personalities of these youngsters. I have a moderate tolerance on youngster’s noise. I have a huge tolerance on child-like behavior (in fact, seeing this type of behavior make me smile). However, I still have to figure out how to tolerate disrespectful youngsters. Recently, a youngster (one of the college ladies I just mentioned in the above paragraph), just showed disrespect when she asked me this question: “among us three, who do you think is telling the truth?” More recently, that same college gal gave me a text message which is quite similar to this: “I’m not hypocrite. YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT.” She’s only 20 years old. (I wonder what she will feel if an undergraduate person 7 years younger than her will talk like that to her). I have a high tolerance of youngsters of doing stupid mistakes (they’re learning, you know). However, I still have to learn how to deal with arrogant youngster without making yourself “stained”. I still have to learn how to deal with “girls doing cat fight”.

Still though, my heart is still in the youth ministry. Being a Youth Leader is no joke, but it’s rewarding. Every time a youngster’s parent encourages me, I gave it back to the Lord God. There are youngsters who are sweet to you, even giving you simple things. Despite their weaknesses, I find these youngsters encouraging. It’s not because they’re the best youngsters in the Baptist circle. They’re not.

To all the Youth Leaders out there: keep up the good work. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Yes, youth ministry is hard, but the reward? I can’t explain in words why I keep on doing this.

Despite that bad setback I had two years ago, and a criticism from a newly installed youth leader from the old church (who is also a classmate back in high school) and more, my heart is still in the Youth Ministry. If the Old Church will no longer allow me to handle Youngsters just like before, it will break my heart. However, as long as God will still allow me to handle youngsters, no one will break my spirit, by God’s grace. Yes, the recent thing that happened to me affected me, but it will not ruin me. It will just encourage me more.

More of this next time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Church 8th Year Anniversary...and thanks


Last Sunday (April 6), the new church had its 8th year anniversary as a church. I do admit that it is a far cry compare to the old church when it comes to the event’s organization and music. However, this is the church that adopted me. The youngsters of the new church are the youngsters who respected and accepted my leadership style. The new church pastor is the pastor that accepted me for who I am. He really applied the principle, “hate the sin, not the sinner” slogan of churches. God mightily used the new church in my life.

I’ve been part of the new church anniversary two years in a row. Yes, two years of God’s grace. I’ll be forever grateful to God and the New Church. I don’t know what will happen with me in the future. When will I finally go back to the old church to fix things up? When will my ex-girlfriend finally open her mind and be forgiving (after all, BOTH of us made this happen)? How long will I stay in the new church? Will I stay in the new church for good? When I went back to the old church, will I stay there for good? Oh well, those are the questions clouding my mind. However, let’s face it: future things belong to God, especially those things beyond our control.

Therefore, those people (specifically in the old church) who keep on whining on what I should do regarding my case or my stay in the new church is unethical should do one of these or more:

1) They should pray for me.
2) Just give encouraging thoughts (text, e-mail) as the Holy Spirit leads them. It will help my growth. After all, my Friendster account is open.
3) Help me literally go back in the old church as soon as possible by praying AND telling the old church pastor
4) Talk to my ex-girlfriend that she finally gave the “clearance”…after all, she now has a boyfriend (the old church pastor and another pastor saw both of them. My former co-teacher said that my ex told him that).

If these old church people (I still believe not all of them are like that) can’t do one of these four things, then they should just shut up. They’re not a help to me. They’re not helping me grow spiritually. They’re not helping me bounce back. They’re not a blessing to me if you’re just whining without helping. They’re not also a blessing if they’re just being indifferent. To those old church people who just gave me a text when they need something to my Mom, or JUST because they will ask some stuff like location, etc.: you are not a help to me.

To the New Church, thank you very much. I’m praying dearly to God that He rewards you dearly because of your attitude towards me. I’m praying that He blesses you all because of your right attitude toward a fallen believer.