An Open Letter to those who volunteered for Saturday Slow Down

Sometimes it takes years to see what you envisioned before to actually happen.  This is exactly what I realized last Saturday.

B1G South Saturday Slow Down

Last Saturday we launched our Saturday Slow Down sessions. Yearly we plan for an event that would use music to share Jesus to singles. Our first attempt was 2012; the event was entitled “Unplugged.” This was the moment when I was leading the worship team. Most of the band members and singers were new. I remember having so many concerns and issues during that time. It took months to practice songs and the team we’re still learning how to gel and play with one another. We were able to pull it off, but there were so many things to improve. The following year (2013), we did another unplugged session, but it felt like we did so much better last year. When 2014 came, we tried to do something different. We decided to use songs to remind, inspire and challenge believers to make disciples. It was better compared to the past two years, but deep inside of me I know we can do more.

Last Saturday though, was “it” for me. How the event happen is how I really wanted it to happen. It was how I initially envision it when began to plan an event like this back in 2012. The band was great. The program was smooth. The transitions were well practiced, and the message was tied up properly with the song. Overall, I praise God for his grace in allowing his event to happen smoothly. I just like to thank those who have volunteered to help and made this event successful. I know a lot of people sacrificed their time and effort – I thank God for all the volunteers.

Saturday Slow Down B1G South Worship TeamWorship Team, I know it’s not easy to play more than 10 songs. The “Arreglo” of the songs wasn’t that simple also, but all your hard work paid off! Everyone was playing his or her role and no one stood above another. I heard a team. I heard harmony. I saw unity. I’m thankful that everyone took the time to practice and improve his or her musicality. I hope your passion for your craft will not die down, but you will constantly seek to grow and improve more. May you never lose sight that you are given this talent to worship Jesus and to always play for the audience of one.

Production Team, wonderful job on the set design! You were able to create the ambiance that we wanted. The bulbs and lights looked awesome and very relaxing. I know preparing for this event was not easy as well. I know some of you were even working during the holiday. I really want to thank you for your commitment and service. Don’t lose the love for what you do. Don’t lose the focus of doing all this for the Lord. The Lord has blessed you with creative minds and it should all be given back to him.

Saturday Slow Down B1G South Marketing TeamMarketing Team, thank you for conceptualizing the theme of the event. The video was great – as usual. Thank you very much for using marketing skills to promote this event. Right now, we have around 20,000 views for our video. I know it was not easy to shoot a video like that, but as you’ve seen last Saturday, the hard work was and will always be worth it.

Admin and Food Team, your team is always in the background, but you hold an important role in the ministry. Thank you for your team’s effort to handle the registration and provide food for our aching tummies. The chill con carne tasted so good! Thank you for feeding more than a hundred people despite a limited budget. Thank you very much for your help.

B1G South Saturday Slow Down Ushering TeamUshering Team, I can see your team slowly growing. I’m blessed with your heart to welcome and engage our guest. It’s not an easy job. Sometimes you don’t even get appreciated, but I want you to know that I do appreciate what you guys are doing. I see everyone’s effort and contribution. Your team is really valuable and I’m blessed to see you everyone active and growing. Continue to build your team. Continue to be the front liners of love in this ministry.

Prayer Team, your prayers are very valuable and I thank you for always covering us with your prayer. I believe that this event was smooth because of prayers. Prayer is really a very powerful thing and I thank you for being our soldiers on bended knees.

There are other individuals that I want to personally thank, but I know I can’t mention everyone. Just note that I do appreciate and know all the efforts you have given to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Great is all your reward in heaven. Thank you for everyone who helped. Words are not enough to express how thankful I am to God for everyone’s help and participation.

Philippians 1:3 – I thank my God in all my remembrance of you

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Bless the Lord, O my soul

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

Bless-the-Lord

As I ponder upon Psalm 103, indeed, this is the response that David wants us to do – “Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

Why?

He can forgive all your sins. He can heal all your disease. He can redeem your life from a bottomless pit. He showers you with love and compassion. He satisfies.

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger. If we really understand that we are all sinners, we know the gravity of our situation. But the truth is this; he doesn’t repay us according to our sins. His love is great. It is compared to how far the east is from the west, which means there is no limit in his love for us.

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

The Lord knows we are nothing. We are but a breath. We are mere mortals. But the Lord looks upon us with love. From everlasting to everlasting the Lord is with those who Fear him, with those who understand that they are but dust.

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the Lord for this goodness! Praise the Lord for his love. Let us respond and bless the Lord!

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Ponder upon this, how much do you know the Lord to be able to respond, “Bless the Lord, O my soul?” Do you have 10,000 reasons or even more to praise His name?

 

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There’s a storm, after the rainbow

Storm and Rainbow

I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around, “There’s a rainbow, after the storm?” Allow me to explain where I am coming from.

Life is filled with ups and downs. The Christian walk is always a battle.  There are cases where we are defeated. There are cases where we are victorious. And when we are victorious, the more that we should be on guard, else we fall. I’ve realized in my Christian walk that temptations and problems normally come after a moment of victory.

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt I was victorious. I preached for 4 services yesterday. Speaking for 4 times is not an easy task. That’s why we really need to value and appreciate our pastors who have been doing that for years already. It was a moment of joy for me to know that I was able to speak for 4 services, without losing my voice and strength. It was a time of joy for me, most especially because I know deep within my heart I was able to depend on God all throughout the day. Lots of people approached me after each service to let me know they were blessed with the message. Hearing their feedback was not a moment for me to boost my ego, but to merely be encouraged that indeed the Lord is working through me and I am just his vessel. Every preacher should desire that their message would always point to Jesus and not to themselves. So I was in a position to go through the day with joy in my heart and sleep soundly after a very tiring day.

I know yesterday was the moment of victory. So today I should be vigilant, and careful not to put my guard down, else I fall into temptation. Indeed, just as expected you cannot be complacent – the battle continues.

My girlfriend and I intended to watch a movie today so I can relax. She said that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. I was willing to watch either “The Intern” or the “The Martian,” whatever has a good schedule and location. If you know me, the only thing that I really want when a watch a movie (aside from the actual movie) is good popcorn. So we were driving around Makati, and Power Plant was the only mall we saw that was still showing “The Intern.” My girlfriend really wanted to watch this movie and I was good either way as long as there’s popcorn. Nonetheless, she told me that the popcorn there wasn’t that good so I decided that we watch “The Martian” in Greenbelt instead. Plus, my favorite popcorn can be bought there. After I mentioned this, she expressed her sadness towards my decision. This made me a little bit (just a little bit, hehe) frustrated; I thought she wanted to watch what I wanted, but here she is, expressing her discontent towards my decision. To make the long story short, as small as the issue seems for some of you, it led to an argument.

There was a moment where we were both quiet. While I was thinking, I know God was already talking to my heart asking me to ask for forgiveness for how I reacted. However my pride was still there. I wanted her to realize her mistake so I was really planning to cancel our plan to watch a movie and just go home. But God was still there, speaking in my heart not to let this petty argument grow bigger. I know I need to ask for forgiveness. I know I need to humble myself. I still drove to Greenbelt and parked the car so we can talk.

In the parking area, I told her why I got so frustrated. I told her that I was frustrated because she mentioned that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. Then she told me that her moment of sadness was just to express what she felt but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t want to go to Greenbelt and watch another movie instead. I guess this is really the part where we say, “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.” I asked for forgiveness and she did the same. Later on, we prayed and everything was fine again.

What’s my point? You have to always be on your guard. Whenever there are moments of victory you should praise God, but never put your guard down. Never be complacent. Keep watch and pray.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

 

Whenever there is a moment of victory or joy, the more that you should pray and the more that you should be on your guard, else you fall. It’s not easy. Sometimes we would like to think when would the battle end. It will not. As long as we are in our flesh, there will always be temptations and we need to keep fighting. The battle goes on, but remember the war is already over.

Keep walking in the spirit and keep abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s why I praise God that he was speaking in my heart and he did not allow me to make our argument blow into proportions.

Keep fighting the good fight my friend. Let’s run the race well and finish strong. It’s going to be a long marathon, but the Lord has promised us that will He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

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P.S. By the way, we still watched “The Martian” and it was a good movie. We enjoyed our time together even though we had an argument. This is just one of those moments where we need learn from our mistake and move on. Indeed we have, which led to us enjoy our time together, and thanking God for his goodness and grace.

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