Why You Should Not Be Offended Even When You Already Are

One of the best blogs I’ve read in a while!

ARABY

 

 

            The wrong choice is always the easiest to make.

 

            It’s always so easy to see the bad in people – to judge others, to scrutinize what they do, to hurt them into making them do what we want them to. What is rather not easy? Well, taking in the fact that people other than ourselves are fighting their own battles as well; grabbing a different set of lens before we allow words to escape our mouths; fully comprehending that our tiniest actions creates ripples in the ocean of the universe; and being cautious in the fact that the most casually spoken words may stir waves of unwanted emotions in another person’s heart.

 

            It is not a mystery at all why humans offend each other. In the science of speech production, it is known that a handful of processes already happen in the brain before a single response lets go…

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Take Charge

Curl up your five fingers, aim, then punch with all your might. Use the force of your whole body! Come, try it on me. Hit my stomach.”

That’s how I learned how to do the “five-fold ministry”, and my teacher was none other than my dad.

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Throughout my life, my dad has taught me so many things, from riding a bike around our small compound to manoeuvring through the busy streets of Manila in a car. But what I learned most from him was about being a leader.

Here are just some other things he taught me:

You are a leader.

All my life my dad would always remind me of this. It has been ingrained in my brain throughout all these years.

That’s why, even when I was younger, I would always volunteer to be the leader of the group. It wasn’t because I was arrogant, or proud. I just had the initiative to step up, because I knew that God called me to be a leader. And cause my dad always reminded me of it.

Do not allow any guy to touch you or treat you inappropriately.

Hence the “five-fold ministry”.

He taught me to value my body, and to not let anyone mistreat me because I am God’s child. I’m also his only daughter, so go figures…

Studies first. 

Studies should always go first before my other activities, including ministry.

We would always fight about this because I’m more inclined to prioritize ministry work because it’s something I’m very passionate about. But then he would remind me of my season as a student, and my responsibility to be excellent. I’ll have more time for ministry when I graduate anyway, he said (wink wink).

Do not borrow money. 

And if it’s completely unavoidable, pay it back right away.

Instead, he taught me to be the one to lend money, and to not even expect them to pay me back at all. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Take charge.

He would always say this to me in the morning just before dropping me off at school, instead of “take care!”

This would never fail to boost my self esteem. Especially when I was younger, I would feel as if I was just asked to be responsible for something very important. It felt good to be trusted with something.

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That is why I am the person I am today.

Thank you, dad for everything you’ve taught me. Thank you for inspiring me to take charge and step up as a leader. When I grow up, I want to be just like you 🙂

– – –

This blog post is part of Victory Philippines’ media movement to encourage its church members to revisit its core values. This week’s topic is LEADERSHIP#MyVictoryStory #radicalsince1984 #leadership
 
Read these posts for a more flavorful, different perspective on LEADERSHIP:

1. Stuff My Dad Told Me by Joe Bonifacio
2. To Lead is to Lean, Learn, Live, and Love by Carla Bonifacio
3. Lead To Leave by Paolo Punzalan
4. Raising Leaders Right In Your Home by Jen Punzalan
5. I Don’t Think So by Jekoy Valle
6. Deny Yourself by Dennis Sy
7. Failures and Beginnings by Sofia Paderes
8. WATERLINE: The marks of Leadership by Perci Paras
9. Influence by Charls de los Reyes
10. He Must Become Greater by Rinnah Ramirez

All because of Love

Many people have invested their life in me, and I am grateful for all. Eight of them I remember well:

_MG_0364My mom, the one who has always been there for me no matter what. The love and insight that she gives me is always so different (in a really amazing way) from what I get from other people. She has always inspired me to love others by serving them, and putting them first.

Varsha, the level-headed one who gave me guidance at the time when I was just starting out on my Christian walk.

Lhorris, the one who lived a life of generosity, not just with her finances but with her time.

Ate Eva, the most persistent one who helped me get connected to LifeBox QC. (Read more about her here!)

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My very first Victory Group in LifeBox QC with Sarah

Sarah, the one who never judged me despite my many faults and quirks. She was my friend more than anything.

Ate Tere, the most down-to-earth one who welcomed me with open arms and included me in her coaching group when I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere.

Ate Lory, the one who gave the most tough love and words of wisdom during a really crazy season of my life.

Ate Acee, who was both a listening ear and a voice of reason for me. She would always point me back to God and encourage me to surrender everything to Him.

All eight of them, despite their many differences in personality, spiritual giftings, and strengths, have one thing in common: they all demonstrated God’s LOVE.

They all invested so much of their life and time in me. And for what? It’s not like I’m the most amiable person ever. In fact, I think I’m a hard person to get a long with, much less love. Yet, they all made a decision to love me in their own way.

I believe that they were able to do this because they understood the love that Jesus showed them on the cross. They all experienced that unconditional, furious, unending love of Jesus, that they could not help but overflow with that same love to others. They endured (and some are still enduring) discipling a troublesome person like me all because of LOVE.

These women inspire me to show that kind of love to others. They inspire me to continuously seek God so that I won’t strive to love, but instead overflow.

1 John 4:19
We love because He first loved us.

To these eight amazing women, thank you for loving me and reflecting the Love of Jesus to everyone around you!

Disciplesip collage

To my amazing Lord, thank You for sending Your son on the cross – the ultimate demonstration of Your love for us!

– – –

This blog post is part of Victory Philippines’ media movement to encourage its church members to revisit its core values. This week’s topic is DISCIPLESHIP#MyVictoryStory #radicalsince1984 #discipleship
 
Read these posts for a more flavorful, different perspective on DISCIPLESHIP:
  1. Discipleship Works by Perci Paras
  2. #DFF by Jekoy Valle
  3. unfading by Sofia Paderes
  4. My Discipleship Notes by Emmanuel Gomez
  5. Spiritual Heroes, Part 1 by Joseph Bonifacio
  6. I strip for Discipleship by Ganns Deen
  7. More Caught than Taught by Paolo Punzalan
  8. You Are Never Meant To Do It Alone by Fiona Alvero
  9. On Discipleship by Carla Bonifacio
  10. The Defining Minute of my Manhood by Dennis Sy

The perfect Christian

“I grew up in a Christian family, and I’ve been Christian all my life.”

Isn’t that what most of us pastors kids say when asked about our testimony? 

I was told that I became a “Christian” when I was 6 years old. I had attended the “big service” (the service for the adults), and during the alter call, I asked my dad what it was for. He later explained it to me, and he asked if I wanted to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I said yes, and from that day on I was a “Christian”.

I was discipled when I was 13 years old by Varsha. I went to Victory Weekend and was baptised around that same time with my best friends Bea and Erika.

Varsha

Victory Weekend back in 2005 with my first Victory Group under Varsha

If “Christian” meant someone that was relatively good compared to others, someone that went to church and  gave their tithes regularly, someone that didn’t curse, smoke or drink alcohol, then I was the perfect Christian.

But then my Christianity ended there. I didn’t really have any desire to pursue a relationship with God or even share the gospel to others. I was okay with who I was. 

It was in college when I finally figured out what the gospel was all about and how important it was to share the good news to others.

“When was the last time you cried out to God for your college?” my dad asked the eleven thousand students that attended the 2011 Ignite Conference. 

I was there too, and it really got me thinking. When was the last time I cried out to God for the University of the Philippines? When was the last time I prayed for people to be saved?

I couldn’t remain apathetic anymore. There was a great mission, to share the good news of Jesus’ love to everyone, and I wanted to be a part of it.

Romans 10:1 (MSG)
Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what’s best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time.

I wanted to have Paul’s heart for the Romans. He wanted them to have salvation WITH ALL HIS HEART. And he didn’t stop there, he prayed for their salvation ALL THE TIME. He never gave up on them.

I am grateful for all the people that never gave up on me. I’d like to take this time to honor Ate Eva.

Ate Eva, Ignite 2011

Ate Eva praying for the youth in Ignite 2011

She never stopped running after me during my first two years in college (2010-2012). Even if I would hide from her and not reply to her texts, she still persisted. It wasn’t until school year 2011-2012 that I actually responded and joined LifeBox UPD and LifeBox QC.

During our Xtraordinary Youth Camp in 2012. I had just joined the music team.

With Kuya Glenn, my dad, and Ate Eva (L-R) during our Xtraordinary Youth Camp in 2012. I had just joined the music team.

Thank you for discipling me Ate Eva! Thank you for never giving up on me! Thank you for investing your life and your time in me! I know that God is using you in amazing ways in your season now. You have made such an impact in my life.

To everyone else out there reaching out to others, do not give up on the people that you are praying for and discipling. Keep at it! You do not know how much you are actually impacting their lives! 

I realized that if I truly call myself a Christian, then I must stop just looking to myself and my own needs. I must have the heart of Christ, a heart for the lost, a heart overflowing with passionate love for the harassed and helpless, no matter how frustrating it may be.

Romans 5:8 (NLT)
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

JESUS Himself never gave up on us. And He loved us even when we didn’t love Him back. Imagine how much He loves the people around us as well! How can we stand by and stay silent?

– – –

This blog post is part of Victory Philippines’ media movement to encourage its church members to revisit its core values. This week’s topic is EVANGELISM#MyVictoryStory #radicalsince1984 #evangelism
 
Read these posts for a more flavorful, different perspective on EVANGELISM.

1. Joseph Bonifacio, How Will They Hear
2. Emmanuelle Gomez, When Bad Things Happen to Good People
3. Paolo Punzalan, Radical Love That Demands a Radical Response
4. Jenn Punzalan, Bad News, Good News
5. Dennis Sy, Jesus is More Than a Ticket to Heaven
6. Sofia Paderes, Open Door, Closed Heart
7. Ganns Deen, The Miracle at Kenny Rogers Roasters
8. Ernie Aragon, The Great Passion
9. Karess Rubrico, Walk This Way
10. Jek Valle, The British Singer
11. Carla Peralejo-Bonifacio, Dare to Share
12. Charles delos Reyes, Let It Glow (and no, this is not about Frozen)
13. Erikson Isaga, Hair Salon, Battle of the Bands, and Jesus
14. Yam Domingo, Just One Phrase
15. Dana Abad, I Shared the Gospel to My Parents; This is How They Responded

Win or lose

“Feb 2, 2013. Saturday, 1:43am

I never thought I’d say this… but … I’m running for Journalism representative in the Student Council of the College of Mass Communication.”

My campaign poster

My campaign poster

Running for student council was never part of my plan. In fact, I always did my best to avoid being asked to run. I was never into politics as a kid. I hated the fact that people would start hating you just because you wanted to serve them and you chose a particular party to run with. I hated the fake smiles and the unnecessary hand shakes. It was such a hassle to go from room to room trying to prove yourself to people.

The truth was, I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I was serving in church as a member of the music team. In fact, I was one of the worship leaders. I was consistent in my Victory Group and Youth Service attendance. I was a good Christian! What more could God want from me?

I was such a good Christian that I decided to pray (what I thought was) a noble prayer, just to show God how much I loved Him:

Lord, I want to be a light for you. Bring me to a place where I have nothing else to hold on to but You.

Be careful what you pray for. Less than a month after I prayed that prayer, I found myself at a cross road.

“Elle, we want you on our team,” the candidate for Chairperson told me. In the college, she was the person that I looked up to the most. And here she was asking me to run with her.

I had already made up my mind to say “no” even before the conversation began. But after a while I started feeling something heavy in my heart. What was it? Why was I feeling it? I told her to give me an hour to make my decision.

“God ano ‘to?” I said the moment I found an empty bench in the area. “You know I dislike politics! Why are they asking me to run? I am the least qualified!”

“I called you to be a light in Maskom remember?” was His immediate response.

“But I don’t want to be a light there. Hassle!!! I’m doing well naman in my classes, and being nice to my classmates. Isn’t that enough?”

Getting tired of arguing with God, I called my dad. I told him about the situation I was in and asked him for his opinion. For some reason I already knew what he was going to say.

“You know, Elle, you have a short window of time to make an impact in your college,” he said over the phone. “You’re not going to be there forever. Like Esther, who knows but that you have been asked to run for such a time as this?”

My dad always says that when Pastor Steve asked him to go into full time ministry he heard God, but He sounded like Pastor Steve. Well this time, I heard God but He sounded like my dad.

I knew that the decision was already made. I had no choice but to surrender.

“Lord means master, the one who calls the shots, the one who makes the decisions.” – ch. 2 Lordship, One2One

I found myself saying ‘yes’ to the most difficult commitment I have ever made in my life.

“I’m saying yes, out of obedience to God” I told them an hour later. “I just want you to know that. And since I’m on board, I’m gonna give my all. I want to win.”

With my slate mates

With my slate mates

Early the next morning, I wrote on my journal:

“I really have nothing to hold on to but you. I am so scared right now. But I know that you have gone before me. I surrender to Your will, God.”

That month was the most exhausting, most difficult, and most nerve-racking month ever. I cried out to God (literally) every night to sustain me. Even if I had submitted to His Lordship, I still faced enormous amounts of stress and frustrations. Yet I was at peace. I knew that I was right in the center of His will.

 2 Timothy 4:17
“But the LORD stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”

I was in faith that at the end of the elections, that was what I would be proclaiming. Whether I won or lost, I had the victory through Jesus.

My partner, Hannah Palima, and I during our Miting de Avance

My partner, Hannah Palima, and I during our Miting de Avance

Throughout the campaign season, I got to share my faith to my slate mates. Whenever we went room to room, we would pray first and I was usually asked to lead the prayer. I knew that I was being watched, not just by the other party, or by my college mates, but also my slate mates. I knew that every moment was an opportunity to show God’s love to them and to many others.

On the evening February 28, 2013, the results of the elections came out.

I lost by 20 votes. 

Our party had won a majority of the positions in council, though. And so even if I didn’t win, my party’s win was my win as well.

During our speeches that night, one of my slate mates said, “You know Elle, I really believe that God put you here for a purpose even if you didn’t win.”

I agreed with her with all my heart.

With a couple of my org mates after the Miting de Avance

With a couple of my org mates after the Miting de Avance

This blog post is part of Victory Philippines’ media movement to encourage its church members to revisit its core values. This week’s topic is lordship. #MyVictoryStory
 
Read these posts for a more flavorful, different perspective on lordship.
 
1. Jesus is Lord Over My Love Life by Joe Bonifacio
2. Lord and Lordship by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio
3. One Tough Decision by Dennis Sy
4. His Ways Are Higher by Karess Rubrico
5. Passion for Passion by Ganns Deen
6. Lordship? Big Word! by Jek Valle
7. The Only B Student by Nate Punzalan
8. When Obeying Meant Simply Letting Go by Val Baguios III

Undignified Worshipper

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Christian. I was born into a Christian family. I grew up going to church. What usually happens to people who grow up in church is that they get used to everything and take things for granted. This is exactly what happened to me.

The church became my comfort zone. At the same time, it became my stage. Since I was (am) a pastor’s kid I knew that people were watching me. I felt obliged to act a certain way. All of my actions were calculated. If I raised my hands during praise and worship, I made sure that I did so in such a way that I’d still look nice. I would also make sure that there would be people watching.

Leading praise and worship is not a new thing for me. Back in grade school and high school, I would regularly be part of the “worship team”, and sometimes I would even be the one to have solos and to lead the songs. But I don’t really remember a time when I felt the Holy Spirit during praise and worship. Maybe just once or twice, but very seldom.

The Undignified Worshipper chapter of Matt Redman’s book ‘The Unquenchable Worshipper‘ really struck me because it spoke of a type of worship that just forgets itself.

We get so caught up in love and wonder that we forget what others might think and throw ourselves into God’s pleasure.

What it was saying was that it doesn’t really matter what other people say about you when you worship. It shouldn’t matter.

I struggled with this for such a long time. And it was only recently when I learned to not care anymore. I just let go. I realized that at the end of it all, nothing they said would really matter. Besides, I am worshipping the One true God that loved me so much that He sent his Son to die for my sins. How could I not give my all to him through this simple act of adoration?

“Sometimes we may need reminding how passionate God is for us.”

God loved us first. Why then, is it so hard for us to reciprocate that love through praise and worship?

I remember one time when I attended the morning service in Victory Ortigas. I hadn’t gone in a while because I was always in Victory QC. I missed the music team of Ortigas and I wanted to check out how they were doing. Anyway, point was, I was so anointed to just be part of the congregation. I was standing in the back of the auditorium and I began crying. All of the sudden, the words of the song meant so much to me. I understood the gravity of what they were singing and it touched me so much that I couldn’t help but raise my hands and be in awe of this most amazing God that chose to love me despite all my weaknesses.

I’ll never know how much it cost

To see my sins upon that cross

Worshipping God should never be a show, whether you are part of the congregation or up on the stage leading. There should be no room for pride.

Pride is also something I constantly struggle with. Sometimes singing becomes all about me and not anymore about using my talents to glorify God. Being part of the music team in Victory QC helped me realize the importance of worship. As I worked side by side with people that understood the true purpose of worship, I began to grow as a Christian and as a worshipper. God revealed to me my faults so that I would learn not rely on my own strength and talents but on Him.

When I reread this chapter, I was reminded of one worship song. Its lyrics were very apt with what this chapter made me realize about myself. I knew that this was exactly the state I should be in whenever I worship God. This is what true worship looks like:

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all.

So I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

Revelations on Boldness

I’ve never written a blog like this in my life. But I just felt so burdened to share it in a public forum. I can’t keep this to myself anymore. Especially since this revelation is about sharing the gospel to others. I’m actually preaching to myself as I type all of this down.

Isaiah 40:9 (NLT)

O Zion, messenger of good news,shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah,“Your God is coming!”

The Message translation goes:

“Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid!”

God is really calling us to be bold and share the gospel to others around us. I know that He has already shown us who we need to reach out to, and now all we need to do is obey! Let us not be afraid for God has chosen us! AND WHO ARE WE?

v. 7-8 (NLT)

“The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”

v. 17 (NIV)

“Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.”

We are nothing! YET GOD STILL CHOOSES TO USE US. Oh my goodness! He is so amazing and so loving. He CHOSE us! Therefore let us GO!

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

LEGGO MEN AND WOMEN OF GOD! BE BOLD! SHARE GOD’S WORD! LOVE OTHERS! BE COMPASSIONATE!

Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”