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

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?

 

Trust God. He is in Control.

This is a story of a man named Joseph. At a young age, his brother’s sold him (Genesis 37:28) to be a slave in Egypt. But the Lord was with Joseph and everything that he did was successful, so his master Potiphar made him an overseer (Genesis 39:4) of his entire household. Now Joseph was handsome which lead Potiphar’s wife to desire him. She tempted him to come to bed with her numerous times, but Joseph was a man of God and did not want to sin against Him. One day, Potiphar’s wife was out again to tempt him. Joseph refused but she was able to catch him by his garment and left his garment in her hand. Then she reported to her husband that Joseph tried to rape her – this lead to Joseph’s imprisonment despite his innocence.

This was the story that happened before Genesis 40. That’s why in Genesis 40 you would read that Joseph was already in prison. But even in prison the Lord was with Joseph, he was put in charge of all the prisoners.

Joseph with Cupbearer and BakerThis chapter starts with a story about a cupbearer and baker who was put to prison, and Joseph was put in charge of them. Now, was this coincidence? I don’t believe so. God has a plan. He was always in control of Joseph’s life. He was always there, allowing everything to come into place.

When the cupbearer and baker had dream, Joseph notice that they were sad because no one was able to interpret what they saw. And I like what Joseph said in Genesis 40:8, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

What can we possibly learn from what Joseph said?

First, Joseph acknowledged God. It’s amazing to see Joseph’s response to his situation. He was sold to slavery. He was accused of rape. He was put to prison. But despite all that has happened to him, he still acknowledged God. He didn’t hold a grudge against God. He responded well, knowing God is, and has always been in control. How about us? When problems come our way, or when things do not go as we expended it to happen, do we grumble? Do we hold a grudge against God? Do we see the trials in our life as God’s blessing? Do we see just like what James 1:2-3 says?

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Secondly, look at what Joseph said next, “Tell it to me, please.” Why would Joseph ask them to tell them their dream? If he believes that God can only give the meaning of these dreams, then why would he ask them to tell it him? Was he going against his belief that he can interpret it, and not God?

Do want to know what I’ve realized? Joseph said this not because he believes that he can interpret it, but because he knows God is with him. He believes that despite everything that has happened in his life, God is still with him and God will give him the proper interpretations for their dream. Joseph has a faith that we should learn to imitate!

Joseph saw that God hasn’t left him despite the situation of his life. Joseph saw all of these things happening for a certain reason. What could be that reason? Did Joseph foresee everything that the Lord will be doing in his life? That is something that I don’t see clearly in the bible, but one thing is for sure – He knows everything that is happening in his life is God’s hand upon, and he knows that God is good! He said to his brothers (who sold him to slavery) when they encountered them again:

 Genesis 45:5-8

5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Indeed, God was and has always been in control. When the cupbearer and baker shared their dream to Joseph, he was able to interpret them. The cupbearer was reinstated to his position, in pharaoh’s court, just as Joseph said. And when pharaoh had a dream, it was Joseph who also interpreted. It was the cupbearer who told pharaoh that Joseph can interpret. Was it coincidence that all of these things happened? I don’t believe so. Joseph interpreted pharaoh dream and through this pharaoh saw the Lord was with Joseph. So he made him second in command to him. The Lord was indeed good!

You may be going through a tough time in life. You might not understand why things are happening this may. Take heart. If you know God and he is your Lord, take heart that your life is in his hand and he is in control. If you don’t know God and he is not your Lord, I suggest you make him your Lord first and allow him to take control of your life.

The Lord loves us. May we learn to trust him – he is in control. No matter the situation. No matter the circumstance. Let us find joy in our trials and let us always give glory to God despite whatever is happening in our life. If you would read Joseph’s response, he has always acknowledged God in his life. Despite the success that has happened in his life, he has always acknowledged that it is God’s work and not his.

May this message bring you hope. May this message turn you to trust God and hope in Him. There are so many things to learn from Joseph’s life. May we follow his response in his life and trust God that he is under control.

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