Saturday, May 23, 2009

Focusing to the One

In order for God to give something to someone, one must not put too much focus on his request. Instead, one should put his focus to Whom he made known his request: God. Matthew 6:33 said that we must seek God’s kingdom first (meaning, put God first). One should not focus his eyes on what he wants, but what is needed to be done first. This is also applicable on interactions with other people, especially towards the opposite sex.
I opened my post in this manner because of the pattern of my experiences, and also of others that I know. It was January 2009 when I went to the University just to ask how’s my graduation paper. That time, my obsession to graduate has wavered. I just focused my eyes on other things. Guess what? It was at the time that my Chairman said that I should apply for graduation. Another experience: I applied to become a member of MENSA. Back then, I am so excited to be a member. However, when I received the letter saying that I didn’t make it, I cried (yes, I cried). From 2007 to 2009, I just put away my focus from that. Then recently, I saw a society similar to Mensa, Mysterium Society. I took their exam. Guess what? I made it! I passed to become a member of that kind of society at the time that I am not that excited. Recently, I said to myself that I’ll semi-retire on being an independent cartoonist. Then comes Summer Komikon.
In dealing with the opposite sex, I notice this pattern: girls tend to like guys that talk less to them. No, I don’t mean snobbish guys are more desirable to girls than friendly guys. I mean guys who talk less to girls. It’s like giving them a slice of cake, but not the whole cake. That’s why there are guys that don’t talk much; it’s their style, not really who they are.
I have read the Bible a number of times. However, I still can’t help, but ask questions. Is this some kind of a joke? I mean that means that in order to have something that you wanted, you must ignore it? This maybe funny or any negative stuff, but I have asked this stuff: does God give the request more to the “pakipot” than those who vocally says he wanted it?
However, as days go by, it’s making perfect sense to me. The Bible itself answered my question. God is a Jealous God as Exodus 20 said. If He sees that your request puts your attention away from Him, He’ll not give it to you. After all, God can give you more than your request. Besides, putting your focus on your request rather to the One Who has the power to grant your request is idolatry.
Another thing to consider is that Satan is so insecure (after all, he’s condemned already) that he will make a way on people that ignore him and his devices to put their attention to him. Satan is the ultimate “KSP”. Summer Komikon is my personal example. When I made a decision that I will semi-retire (I even said this to Amie), I made a significant sale on my comics. I received a fan art (I appreciate it by the way. Thanks, Hazel Manzano). I’m attending Komikon since 2007. It was in this year (when I declare semi-retirement) that the Komikon is a good year for me. Why is that so? I believe because when I semi-retire, I will now have more time on spiritual matters like Bible study and soul winning, which Satan hates.
These two truths: God being a Jealous God (because He has something more in store to the believers) and Satan’s insecurity is the reason why I must not put my focus too much on my request. All I must do is made known my request to God, and let God provide it in His own time, not mine. Put my focus more to God than my request. Leave the results to God. As believers, let’s just do what is needed to be done as Christians.

Missing Youth Leadership

Just recently, I attended a Youth Camp. Actually, it was from May 19-22. However, because of some last minute changes on who will join me accompany on my travel, I went to the camp site at May 20.
In my 3 days and 2 nights stay there, one truth struck me: this camp is no longer my generation. Putting it bluntly, I’m not as young as I used to be. Yes, I hear it everywhere. “28 years old is still young”. Yes, it’s young, but quite not that young (an understatement maybe) to be in the Youth ministry as a youth leader.
I miss the times that I used to be a youth leader. Too bad I am no longer a youth leader when our very own Baptist Youth Camp was finally held outside our church (and in one of the best Baptist Camp sites). I was supposed to be there, helping these guys and gals out. I was supposed to be there delegating, shouting the cheering, sharing my ideas straight from my heart. Oh well, what can we do? We’re suspended, and I don’t even know if I’ll be youth leader next year (suspension is until December 31, 2009, but being reappointed as youth leader is an entirely new process). No, it’s not about bossing around. No, it’s not about the position. It’s because I like serving God in the youth ministry. Not only that, being a youth leader gives you a voice what you really want to say (if you take this one negatively, it shows immaturity). I strongly believe that youth members, who will eventually become youth leaders, will be dictated by what they have seen from their youth leader, be it good or bad. For example, you have a youth leader whose style you don’t like. Eventually, once you become a youth leader, you’ll see to it (intentional or unintentional/”subliminal”) that your members will not do the practice similar to your former leader (i.e., shouting a loud AMEN, telling dry jokes). This is only a theoretical example: a shy [or “shy effect” or false humility], new batch of youngsters is a by product of current youth leaders who don’t like their former leaders who “act like Robin Williams in his comedic roles”. I believe that this is a constant, even if you say loudly that you’re an open minded leader.
Before I go farther from this post’s intended theme, let me just tell you what this post is all about: I was blessed and I enjoyed the Baptist Youth Camp. The leaders did a good job. Still, my happiness is not complete. I miss being a youth leader. I want to lead [not boss around]. Serving God in the youth ministry is fulfilling. After all, being in the center of the will of God will give a believer peace of mind even if in the midst of trials. However, because I’m still serving my sentence, it’s not possible. I even don’t know if the chance to lead even for one last year next year is possible. After all, it is Pastor’s prerogative [through the Youth Director’s suggestion, which is made by consensus of youth officers and leaders].
I pray that I will be given a chance to be a youth leader again next year. Yes, my one last shot of one or two years of youth leadership. If I made it again next year, it means I’m ready. If not, I’ll just resign myself that I already lost the chance to ever lead youngsters again. For the mean time, I’ll just put my focus and energy on what matters for now: keeping myself back in tune spiritually, involving myself in soul winning and Bible study.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Bida Man" dug deeper

Recently, there’s one term or lingo or slang (what can you call this? Please help) that I learned: BIDA MAN. Bida man are two words: one English (Man), one Tagalog , BIDA. Bida means “main protagonist”. Defining it literally, it means “male protagonist”. However, since this is slang, let me share what this literally means: a man who is so full of himself (as the male protagonist, or the bida, is the MAIN MAN). Normally, whenever a guy exudes confidence, people, one way or another, will label you “bida man. You may put “bida man” as egoistic, self centered, proud, boastful, anything that is synonymous with the word pride. As a Christian Baptist, pride is a sin. The Bible says it goes before destruction. If you know your Bible, pride is the downfall of formerly Lucifer, now Satan. Thus, if you’re a Christian, there are no objections to the danger of real pride and boastfulness. Yes, a real Bida Man is a picture of OUTWARD pride…BUT THAT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORD PRIDE.
I know the Old Church may call me names, or worst, give me an indifferent look, when I say this: there’s the danger of labeling someone BIDA MAN, EVEN IF THERE ARE SEEMINGLY OBVIOUS INDICATIONS. Here are those:
1) It teaches false humility. – You know, the “silence means humility”. This is common in Filipinos. Bluntly, it’s not automatically that. It’s so easy to keep your mouth, and hide the pride.
2) It teaches people to SHUT UP, not humble down – this one is quite right. We have to admit, that it’s right to shut up…but, just like talking, there’s time for silence.
3) It subliminally teaches us to have bad posture – do you remember someone taught you the proper posture? A posture that has confidence? Nowadays, especially in youth groups, be it church or non-government orgs, whether they admit it or not, implies that this is plainly proud or, well, bida man. Yes, humility is reflected on the posture (the “proud look” part of a specific Bible verse…), but bad posture, my brethren and friends, can also mean PRIDE HELD BACK AND PUT WITHIN. Besides, calling person proud SIMPLY because of posture is, SIMPLY PUT, judgmental and quite spiritually childish.
4) It teaches you not to volunteer – this one is another weakness of Filipinos. Volunteer, and be tagged a Bida Man. That is just soooooo wrong! Especially in the ministry, volunteerism is an asset. It cuts the time in half (how many times have we heard this: “who will volunteer? Anyone…Anyone…Come on…anyone?”). It minimizes the pastor’s/leader’s headache. Okay, the one who volunteered may have a different motive (to be a show-off for example), BUT THAT IS ANOTHER STORY. However, volunteerism per se is not wrong. Where and why he or she is volunteering is another story.
Those are just the few that I can think. No, I don’t say that we should be proud or anything. All I’m saying is, as a brother in Christ, we put it in a right perspective, the way we correct our fellow brother or sister in Christ. After all, Satan is the first Bida Being, but his was not manifested outwardly. That inward pride marks his downfall even from the beginning.
By the way, if you don’t like to speak the truth, be it soul winning or defending Biblical truths, because you’ll be ridiculed, that’s real pride. If you don’t want to forgive, it’s pride in form of unforgiving spirit. If you don’t want to ask forgiveness, it’s pride in form of un-repentance. If you don’t want to clean the church toilet, yet wanted to be with the girls or boys after the service (nothing wrong with that, but if you’re delegated to clean them, that’s another story), there’s a glimpse of pride in that. Even hating bida men inappropriately is pride in form of insecurity. You see all of us are guilty of being BIDA MAN/BOY or BIDA WOMAN/GIRL. ALL OF US. The only difference is who hides it well, who doesn’t.
The only cure for being a real BIDA MAN? I John 1:9. Confess the sin (pride is a sin). God will surely forgive us. Once we confessed it, surrendering that sin will be easier.
Whenever you see a SEEMINGLY BIDA MAN, don’t judge right away. Instead, be reminded of our own pride. Be introspective in this matter. After all, all of us are bida men, one way or another.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why Stay with the People of Yesteryears?

Time and time again, I tried to be friends with the people of yesteryears. Nope, i'm not talking old people. I'm talking about people that i lost in touch with for more than 2 years.

Like I said, i tried to be friends with the people of yesteryears. After all, it is I who committed the wrongs. The wrongs that were in secrets. The wrongs that were not to them. The wrongs that were supposed to be secrets. The wrongs that were supposed to be shared with those others, yet those others don't want to . The wrongs and its price that I alone bear.

As those 125 sunrises and sunsets come, the efforts are there. The greetings of "Hi" and "Hello" are heard because of that baritone voice. The chase to shake someone's hands, the stay until almost the last person is gone, the smile, the roaming around, the efforts are there. There are some successes, but mostly, it's like wind talking.

At times tempted to move away, to go back to the place called NEW. The NEW that adopted you. The NEW that knows your every weakness. Yet, the NEW who entrusted you. The NEW who truly knows who you are and what you can become. The NEW who listens to your sensibleness. The NEW is a very modest and simple place. Still though, one cannot return to the place called NEW.

Thus, I stay at the people of yesteryears. Why stay? The NEW promises you trust. The NEW promises you a new post. The NEW is just near you.

Why stay with the people of yesteryears? Most don't even know you. Most don't even truly understand you, even if you try to make them understand. Why stay with the people of yesteryears?

Hope. Faith. Love.