Monday, August 24, 2009

Spiritual Piercings

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than ant twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrows, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I am a Sunday school kid. I graduated in a Baptist high school. However, looking at myself right now, I have made so many compromises in my life. So many blunders. So many mistakes, one have cost me a suspension, one resulted in my excommunication. Looking my life in a microscope, I’m not your ideal Christian guy or Christian bachelor to be exact. Granting the fact that that excommunication backwards be erased “ala-Men in Black”, my Christian is still anything but ideal.
Partially because of what I have done in my past, there are things that I’m still struggling to get rid, but at some extent is not successful (I can’t tell you why).

Sometimes, I even describe myself as an antihero or an antithesis of a Christian guy. This magnified further with the excommunication stigma. This at times lead to occassional self disappointment, thus the striving to push myself. Because of the shattered testimony in my immediate circle, there are times that “NO” is so hard to say plainly because they know what I’ve done before and I was there. Good thing there are some people who understood that I want to clean my act this time, for my sake, my family’s sake, and my future wife’s sake. Thus, some of these people understood that I can no longer join them.

Not to act like a Pontius Pilate and wash my hands, I’m not a hypocrite. After all, the only time Jesus Himself mentioned the word “hypocrites” is that he’s referring to the Pharisees and Sadducees. Why? Because they’re facade is holy, but deep inside (literally) is not righteous simply because they didn’t experience the real salvation experience. (Therefore, hypocrisy is rarely, if any, applicable to be used to a Christian. After all, there are BASICALLY two types of Christian, spiritual and carnal). Carnal? I admit that I can be considered as one.

Every time I enter the church building with my Bible on my left hand, I know the Word of God speaks louder than it was before. That’s the reason why I typed that Bible verse from the book of Hebrews. Word of God piercing my heart, urging me to make positive decisions.

Why am I still continuing to attend church despite being antiheroic most of the times? Because I need the spiritual piercing. I need to be reminded by God’s Word. To make this long essay short, I NEED HIM. Despite numerous piercings to my soul by God’s Word, at the end of the day, God’s Word and the church and some of the brethren give me peace of mind.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Any good news out there?

Even if it’s tempting to say things on socio-political issues, I’m trying not to comment. If ever I’ll comment, I’ll try to make it short. Man, they’re even larger than life. Besides, we are full of people commenting on this and that, without recommending any solution. I salute Atty. Alex Lacson for publishing a book entitled “12 Little Things a Filipino can do”. He didn’t stop on purely commenting on issues, he wrote a book. Yes, people may still ignore because of their pessimistic nature, but at least Atty. Lacson tried.

Where are the optimists? There are too many critics with no actions nowadays. I can still recall how a email group junked my proposed topic “Good news”. The moderators euphemistically cited it as “Good news are good, BUT the by-laws are saying that the discussions here are purely social issues.” I rest my case after that.

My point? More often than not, no one will dare speak one good news a day, like God is doing them a favor. Yes, they may laugh and joke during that day, but ask them any good news, they can’t make one. I was glad when my thread entitled “Pour in the Good News” was allowed by a cartoonist’s forum site. Until now, the thread is still being visited by forum members, after one year that I created the thread (my longest active thread). In that thread, I told them to share good news, be it simple or complicated or popular. People started to pour in good news, like passing an exam, having a new job, having an increase, having passed a certain audition or screeing, etc. Every time I visit the thread I created, I’m happy to see ONE NEW GOOD NEWS
I don’t say that we ignore what the papers, the TV news are saying. I don’t say let’s be UTOPIC. I don’t say that we ignore the real world and go to fantasy land. What I’m trying to say is that despite a bad day, there’s still hope, and please, don’t mention your problem as if your problem is bigger than the people around you. After all, the rapture didn’t happen yet.
Try doing the good news sharing. It creates wonders.

Before I close this post, allow me to share this Good News to you:

Jesus Christ died for your sins, and if you admit to Him that you’re a sinner and accept Him as Lord and Savior, you’ll go to Heaven. Relationship with Jesus Christ, not religion, saves.

That’s the greatest Good news ever. Still, the decision is yours if you like this good news or not.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Simple, yet DIGNIFIED LIFE?!?

I heard that GMA is planning to purchase a jet. When I say GMA, it means her administration. Oh well, I don’t want to say lengthy statements on this matter. Let the editorial columnists, cartoonists, writers, email groups, other bloggers, etc do that. What’s wrong for a President of a State to have a jet just like US has its Air Force One, and UK has its Royal Airforce? The answer lies between the lines of the question. US and UK are rich countries. They’re considered 1st world countries. In fact, they are members of G-8.

Besides, for a poor country to have a very rich president is so wrong. Whatever happened to the “simple, yet dignified living” slogan of GMA’s administration when she’s still new in the Presidency? Chung Hee Park, the President of South Korea after the Korean War, died a simple man, despite the fact that South Korea’s economy is booming in 1981, the day of his death.

Okay, maybe the intention is good. Security reasons. Good impression. Blah blah blah. Before you do that, I think let’s clean our mess first. Besides, lets go back to the basic unit of our society – our family. Your family’s poverty is also your poverty. Your prosperity should also be their prosperity. Their pain should also be your pain. Their problem should also be your problem. Anyone not doing this is not a good family member. Also, anyone rebutting this truth is foolish, devilish, and nonsense.

I hope I made my message clear regarding that issue.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Questions are wrong?

Is it wrong to ask questions? Recently, asking questions have not been my cup of tea. Being a teacher and a learner, asking questions are part of my life. I may not ask questions vocally, but I ask it online or in my head. As learning experience goes by, I now ask questions because I really don’t know it or I am interested.

Well, for people who wanted to be a friend of all, the answer is IT DEPENDS. Well, I think the play safe people are right this time. It depends on the questions. After all, “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”. It also depends on how it was asked. PLUS, we have to face this truth and not deny this: it also depends WHO is asking the question. Maybe it’s wrong to ask questions if it is I who will ask the questions. I’ll just sound sarcastic and BOASTFUL.
It is said that in Bible seminaries, professors lament that freshman students ask so many questions, sometimes just because to impress them. In other words, asking questions are a proof of boastfulness.

Again, IT DEPENDS. That’s where human behavior pattern comes in. Asking questions per se, especially if you just want to know the truth (and not to impress your classmates by asking tough questions to your professors [or testing them]), is not wrong. However, there are people around you who will not understand and will never understand the way you ask questions. Why? Those people may rationalize it, but the bottomline? They just don’t like you.

Now, when you’re in that situation, what will you do? Pragmatists will stop attending at that joint. After all, they will not “waste” their time on people that don’t like them. You may also STILL join THAT JOINT and be tough enough to face the green eyed crowd of hating your inquisitive gut. After all, you’re brothers, right?
Or you can pray God FIRST to change your perspective before you enter that JOINT next week in the morning. At that point, maybe the right questions will start coming out of your mouth. Never mind the green dagger eyes. Let them self contradict.

However, because you’re faced with that crowd, just ask the JOINT leader PRIVATELY after his lecture with the JOINT.

Only paid professors can be asked INSIDE the classroom DURING CLASS HOURS, and students who call you boastful when you do that are wasters of their paid tuition.

29

Recently, I turned 29. I celebrated my 29th birthday last Tuesday, August 4. I celebrated it with few people. Actually, I’m not that festive on my birthdays. Just with family, some relatives, and some friends who accepted the invitation.
In the Old Church, only 3 of my batchmates greeted me. If not for my current youth leader and 2 backup leaders, no one in the group will know. While other August celebrants have the pleasure of being greeted publicly, my birthday was simply celebrated. By the way, I may have said my birthday in this post, but usually, I’m not very vocal about my birthday. I admit, the other side of me wanted to shout “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” However, the another side of me is contented enough to simply accept the greetings of people who knew my birthday. Still, the best thing is that God gave me another year, it’s all by God’s grace.
(Allow me to say this: no matter how good you desired to be, no matter how morally good to the point you don’t even receive a single rebuke from some authority figures, we’ll still go back to God’s grace.)
Again, I thank God for giving me another year.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's the being, not being the best

I know the following statements or similar to this are familiar:
“Do your best”
“Aim higher”
“Go for goal”
“Bring home the bacon”
“Strive for excellence”
These statements are trying to say one thing: to give our best. To give our best is not wrong. In fact, the Bible even said that Christians should be “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). Another Bible verse even said “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”. It means giving your best. After all, the reason why we have these conveniences nowadays like cellphone, internet, and other gadgets were made by people who poured their brain, time, and energy to do those stuff.

However, there is a downside on this. Here’s an example: few weeks ago or maybe a month ago (I forgot), I watched a famous reality competition The Amazing Race. In that competition, there’s a place in which you’ll see a Yield sign. You’ll see all the pictures of the people competing. You can choose which pictures to put on the yield sign. When you put that team’s picture on the yield sign, that team, when they reach the yield sign must stop for 30 minutes. They will not be allowed to race for 30 minutes, thus, wasting their precious time. The team who was yielded was slightly angry to them, one of the team members call them “scums” on international TV. When interviewed, the team who yielded the yield sign just said, “it’s a competition.”. You know what? It’s true. It’s just a competition. That’s the point: just a competition.

People will bite tooth and nail just to aim high. There are people that, because of their competitive spirit, they will literally use people and not dare converse sincerely and warmly the people whom she sees as either a threat or someone not sensible enough to be a benefit to him/her.

Sometimes, you’ll see this even in church youth groups. In order to boost the youth program, groups will have games and contests. If you are a leader, and your team wins the games and contests most of the time or even once, chances are, youth members will surely be more than eager to be a youth member under you. On the other hand, if you are a youth leader and you’re a typical cellar dweller, youth members will not like to be a part of your team. After all, John Maxwell said (if I’m not mistaken), “everybody loves a winner.”

Am I saying that giving your best is wrong? NO. What I am trying to say is giving your best, especially as a Christian, is not enough. Especially if you’re saying that you’re serving God, aside from giving your best, giving your best must be accompanied by “being”. What being? Being good. For example, Bobby Jones, of Philadelphia 76ers, was one of the great defensive players in the NBA. He gives his best, even considering it un-Christian not to give your best. Now, here’s the best part: he plays clean and honest defense. He doesn’t resort on dirty tactics to defend. He uses hard work. In other words, HONEST defense. He gave his best, making him one of the great defensive players, without playing dirty.

After a game or competition, for example, after exhorting your effort, after giving your best, have you used people as means to your end? Have you stepped on other people just to be on top? Even if you did it unintentionally (this is what I keep on mentioning, no matter how hard you try to be good and acceptable, at the end of the day, you’ll still be under God’s grace because there are times you commit sin unintentionally). This is the reason why lower, middle, and higher managers need to go to Bible conferences and/or family outings and to a venue that you’ll appreciate the beauty of nature. This is for them to be reminded that being competitive is not enough. Giving your best is not enough, it should be accompanied by being Christian. After all, before Jesus commanded you to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, you used to be an unbeliever. Before you were called to serve, God saved you first, He changed your being; He changed you (from sinner to saint, from death to life, from darkness into light).

My point? Being the best is not enough, it should be accompanied with character and good values.