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

Three things I learned from my 21k NatGeo run

natgeo 2015 start 21k marc sorongonIt’s been more than a week since I finished my first 21k marathon run. Unlike other runners, my only goal was to finish the race within two to three hours and not get injured.  Even though I only trained for 6 weeks, I was able to accomplish my goal.

The experience was worth it.  I remember as I was running during the marathon, so many realizations were coming into my head.  I was able to relate my physical marathon to my spiritual marathon. In the Bible, we would see a lot of verses talking about a Christian’s marathon.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 - 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self- control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

 

2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

 

Acts 20:24 - But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 - 1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

The Christian’s life is a marathon. It is a race. Paul mentioned twice about finishing the course or finishing the race. Here are 3 things that I have learned from my 21k marathon run.

(1) It’s not how you start the race but how you end it well.

I started my race very slow. I know I can’t exert too much effort in the beginning. I can exhort my full effort and energy in the first 5 kilometers but that wouldn’t do me any good since I have 16 kilometers more to go. I know I just needed to pace myself. I praise God that for the first 11-12 kilometers I was able to jog without stopping, and just maintaining my pace.

finish-the-raceIf you would read what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 and Acts 20:24, never did he mention or focus on how he started. What you would clearly see there is finishing the race well.

I have seen Christians who have started well but suddenly lost their way. They were on fire for the first couple of years. Serving the Lord here and there, and so in love with Him. But as the years go by and as they start to experience the troubles of life, they begin to slowly drift away. It’s really not how you start your walk with Christ. The real test is enduring the race and finishing well. If you didn’t start it out right, there is nothing wrong with picking yourself up, continue running and aim to finish strong.

Don’t give up. Finish the race. The battle is not with other people. It has always been with yourself, which is the second thing that I have learned.

 (2) It’s not about competing with other people but competing with yourself

natgeo 2015 after run marc sorongonOne thing nice about running a marathon is you get to push yourself to run, and not quit when you see other people running with you. I can still imagine my view while running my 21k marathon. There were just so many people in front of me.  I was thinking to myself, I couldn’t stop. People who were ahead of me kept going, I should do the same.

The people you are running with are not your competitors, they are your motivators. Just like in the Christian marathon, you are not competing with your brothers and sisters in Christ. They should be your source of encouragement and strength. The real battle is just the battle inside of you.

Look at what Hebrews 12:1-2 said “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.” It was directing the problem with you. We should be focusing on our own run and not the run of others. We should stop and think if there is any thing that is hindering you from running my race well? Do I have a relationship that you are unwilling to give up, which is suppressing your relationship with God?  Or do you have sin that you are cherishing and unwilling to stop?

Lay aside those things that are weighing you down. The Lord wants you to run free from these hindrances. He doesn’t want you to just finish the race. He wants you to finish well. Aside from sin that would weigh us down, one thing that we need to battle inside of us is our endurance. Look at how Hebrews 12 mentioned it as well – run the race with endurance. It is a marathon. I only ran 21 kilometers, which is half a marathon. I cannot imagine what running 42 kilometers will be like. You have to have the proper endurance to finish the race. This is the same with us. We need to have endurance while running the race. Meaning, no matter what trials and problems come our way we need to endure them. No matter if your legs are already hurting, you need to endure. No matter if you are already losing your breath, you need to endure. No matter if are already behind the race, you need to endure. Fight the battle and run the race with endurance. Battle your flesh. Finish well.

(3) It’s not really about the perishable wealth but the imperishable

The one thing that kept me going during the last couple of kilometers was the thought of reaching the finish line. I have to be honest that the final kilometer was the hardest for me. Most of it was done walking rather than jogging. My legs were hurting and my hamstrings are getting stiff already. Nonetheless, I know the finish line is already there, so I just pushed myself to finish the race and try to jog as much as I can.

finishing the raceIdea of reaching the finish line is what kept me going. This should be the same for us running the Christian marathon. But our finish line is not a banner, which has those words in it. Instead we should aim to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Our focus should be set on our faith that someday we will be with Jesus. But the question is, what will Jesus say when you reach the finish line. Did you endure the race? Did you finish well? Did you remove everything that is hindering you from running the race? Did you focus too much on other people?

Finishing the race is not about rewards or what tangible (perishable) thing we will get. It is about pleasing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is about finishing well and having the confidence to meet Him face-to-face someday because we know we have fought a good fight – we have finished the race well.

O, may we desire to run the race well. Let’s focus our efforts in ensuring that we finish well. Let’s fight the good fight. Let’s focus on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

Its been three years

Its been three years. I’ve been involved in different ministries before but I have never been as immersed as I am right now in a church ministry.

Its been three years…

Its been three years since I started serving in the singles ministry of CCF Alabang.

I remember the first year we re-launched the singles ministry and gave it the name B1G South. Why B1G South? Well, we just wanted to align with the name of the singles ministry in CCF Center, which was B1G, and we just want to be distinguished as the B1G ministry in the South, therefore the name B1G South.

The first year was exciting! There were too many things to expect and everyone looked hopeful about what the Lord can do. It was a time where everyone was on fire to serve. But as I have realized through the past three years, it’s not how you start – it’s how to you end and remain faithful.

True enough as the months and years passed by, slowly you’ll observe who are really those who are passionate about serving the Lord and continuing to run despite so many oppositions.

There were leaders who have said their goodbyes and I will forever be grateful for their heart of service. But there are those who have never said their goodbyes and just left. It’s sad. I hope everyone can give the same passion in serving God just like how it was when the ministry was starting.

crossroadBut the effect of time, failures, frustrations, disappointments, and a lot of other things can really leave a leader tired and worn out. At that time where he or she is at the crossroads of life, a decision should be made. Do you stay or do you go? Do you quit or do you continue to hope and run the marathon? By God’s grace, for the past three years I have chosen to continue to run, and have been trying to run well.

Was there a time where I wanted to throw the towel and quit? I would be lying if I said no. But what made me continue? What made me not quit? Honestly, I could not think of one reason alone, because there’s too many.

I love God too much to quit and exit saying “I quit because I don’t trust You, Lord.” I love the people that God has called me to serve that I cannot abandon my post until such time that I am assigned to another. I don’t want to look back and think what could have been. I want to look back and say I gave it my all – I tried to run the race as faithfully as I can. I want to continue putting my hope in God that I know he will always be faithful and true. I know my God is greater when I am not.

Its been three years…

I haven’t been perfect and there were times I haven’t been faithful to what the Lord wants me to do. But one thing will always remain the same. Throughout those years, the Lord has always been faithful.

My discipler asked us to write our faith monuments. Those times where you saw the Lord’s faithfulness in your life. As flawed individuals, we are very prone to forget. We can easily forget who the Lord is, and what he has done. And these faith monuments should be a reminder to you. When things get rough and you feel like quitting – don’t. Remember who the Lord is, He is faithful. Remember what the Lord has done, He has always been faithful.

This is one of my faith monuments. Throughout those three years, the Lord has been faithful. When he called me to start leading the ministry, I felt so inadequate. I had so many questions in my mind. I had so many fears inside.

I felt like Moses, saying to God “Me, Lord? Are you serious?” “I’m not even capable of preaching yet.” “I don’t know if I am eloquent enough.”

Exodus 4:10 – Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

 

I felt like Jeremiah, saying to the Lord “I’m so young Lord, do you really want me to lead people who might be older than me”

Jeremiah 1:6-7 – 6 Then I said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.

 

But I felt like Isaiah, saying to God “Here I am. Send me!

There was a conflict inside me, I was scared and felt so inadequate but I felt that this is really what he wants for me. The moment that I reject it and run away from it, I know dissatisfaction will just hunt me. So I said yes to the call and even went full-time after a couple of months.

Its been a year, since I started leading the B1GSouth ministry. Its been three years, since I served in this ministry. It has only been a year since I took over the role as the over all leader and being a leader is not an easy role. But to see lives get changed, all for the glory of God is priceless.

Its been three years…

I will forever be grateful to the one who has called me despite my unworthiness. I will forever serve the One who gave it all. I will forever sing praises to His name; giving Him always the glory He deserves.

Happy third anniversary B1G South. All glory to God alone!

B1G South 3rd Anniv

 

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