Meeting Together in Prayer–at School

Image000I said to myself, the ministry is my first priority in college, and not my studies. Studies as serious and demanding as it can be, could never take away the place of my service to God in my heart.

But of course that needs a little elaboration. The ministry surely involves everything, and it permeates all areas of life. In college, every area must be consumed by the ministry. So, with this in mind, college life and studies becomes important too.

I was really glad as Lester, the president of the non-Catholic organization, the MCC Brethren’s Organization, assigned me to lead the prayer meetings and its devotions. Wow! How I love to share the Word of God, and lead others to pray united – I have always believed the insurmountable force of united prayer. There is a strong dynamic in prayer gatherings that could never be found in individual prayers alone.

So this is my chance. That assignment is a sure opportunity for me to exercise the ‘ministry-first priority’ here in college. The ministry is the sole thing that gives life, meaning, and color to my college life.

Room 11, the place where the prayer gatherings should take place. At first I was hesitant – my third year classmates would see me there sharing the Word. But the first prayer meeting was moved on to Room 8, thanks for the urgent meeting of an another organization that took the place of Room 11.

I am amazed by the Lord by what happened next. My spirit of timidity was gone as we started the gathering, and I felt that my old courage in sharing the Word came back. We really saw how the Spirit moved and inspired seriousness in our hearts as we sought the Lord for His message and personal revelations in our life. The students too became just so open to share their lives. It was very encouraging! One was almost to drop a tear. As we stood up singing hymns of praises to God, I am amazed that any trace of cowardice and shyness on my heart was all gone. The first prayer meeting was attended by eight students.

It was a good start. But it did not end there. The second week was more challenging, if not for the Lord’s intervention, it could not have happened. It was done very late, late in the afternoon, with only four attendees. Nonetheless, the Lord is always full of surprises – the next day another prayer meeting was held at the bleacher due to popular demand, this time with seven students, and the two of them were another first-timers and Catholics. We could also easily see that the students are becoming more happy and content to get more involved. Truly, the gathering was becoming bolder.

The non-Catholic Organization has many plans, and the regular prayer meetings is just one of them. We are continuously hoping to see the God’s mighty intervention and favor for the organization, praying that He may use it for His Kingdom purposes on earth – and on a college campus called MinSCAT.

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College Life Reboot

College life includes books. Just like its open pages, my life once again will be open to many.

I call reboot as a God-given favor to live up your ‘past’ life again, only this time with the blessedness of having the chance to live it out better.

I first entered college by the year 2001, taking up Hotel and Restaurant Management, then shifted to an engineering course due to parental pressures – but was cut short in a month, thanks to my crazy attitude of doing awful things just for the sake of getting attention. After a semester of an emotional ill-rest, I then pursued a computer technician course under a popular IT-College school, and after a semester shifted to computer science course, and I managed to finish that two-year course in 2004. Those years were full of blood – not literal blood, but the heart that flows out with pain due to a broken relationship with my God.

Year 2007, I pursued Pastoral Studies in a Bible College, hoping and believing that I am called to the full-time pastoral ministry. After five years of hardships, I finished the seminary studies – I was then looking vaguely for the ministerial life.

But my heart was not ready. I was caught up by the many bothers of life, by some of the little luxuries which are my weaknesses. So I abandoned the first ‘full-time’ ministry given to me after a few weeks – it was really puzzling – and I also believed that God was offering me a new direction in life.

Afterwards, the decision to study in secular college again. It was never an easy decision, in fact it was my most painful decision to date.

Long before the classes formally begin, I was determined to make this one, a ‘second chance’, a lot better than before. I was telling myself that I have to surpass the past spirituality that I showed during my former years in both secular and biblical college. I thought, this is the time for ‘redemption.’ I was really feeling nervous, and had some good feelings of reminiscing my past college life. It was like I am travelling to the past by a time machine – only the year and the day won’t change in the calendar.

The classes begin. I could easily see that God’s favor is upon me. I am not experiencing the same pain and rejection (by now) that I have experienced before. I could also see that God draws people to me, so I could minister to them. But in my heart an old foe arises – Mr. Pride.

With God’s help, I will still be able to do a lot better this time.

 

The Battle Within

The Lord has revealed me the corrupt motives of my heart.

Starting as a college student again, I continuously find myself between opposing forces of  feelings.

I have always believed that I do not have the cerebral capacities anymore to do well in college, and that is one very honest reason why I was hesistant to enroll. Ironically, even if many people who know me so well believe the exact opposite, for me I am mentally weak.

And so here comes the first day of classes. I mean, the day when the teachers would ask their students regarding the lessons to see if they are prepared for class. The night before, the real struggles begin. As I am reading my notes, I kept on asking myself, “What is my real motive for asking God for academic wisdom? Is it to prove that I still got the brains?” Well, if that is what is my heart, then I am sinning, for I only after self-exaltation. I could only do right if I pursue well in studies only for the sake of Glorifying God in my life.

Truly, after the first day has passed, I already got some approval from students. They really ‘believe’ that I am a smart student. And of course I was happy and fulfilled. But fulfilled because of what? Because I felt accepted, or joyful that I have glorified God?

The following days proved that my heart was wrong: I was happy because my insecurities were dumped, and that I am recognised as truly wise. I have lost the vision of Glorifying God and have sought to glorify the self. It was when during our Economics Class that I have not recited in class. I felt ashamed that during that class I looked to be a low-class student.

I am thankful to God – He revealed the weakness of my heart once again.

How to Fight Temptation (Gen 3 & Matthew 4)

Every true Christian knows how deadly sin is to the Christian Life and to the Ministry. Overcoming sin, especially the favorite ones are never easy. This article helps us biblically how to close doors on temptations – so we can avoid sinning. Excellent post!

Flemingsburg Baptist Church Youth Group


–          So from the very beginning we see that the enemy is more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

  • Why is that important for us to know?
    • It is important because if we try to defeat the enemy with our own wits and intellect we will fail every time.

–          In order to know how to defeat an enemy you first need to know how the enemy is attacking.

–          Here we see that that Eve passes the first test.  The enemy comes and challenges God’s Word and Eve responds by quoting God’s Word back to him.

–          This is important for us to know because here we see that we have to know God’s Word in order to save us from falling into temptation.

  1. We all are bent towards thinking that we are the most important being in the universe.
  2. Illustration…

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Ministerial Hopping

Staying in a church for service ‘for good?’

These past months, it has become a strange thought to me – I could not commit myself permanently in a church. I found it interesting and superbly enjoyable to lend my service in a church for some time – and then be gone to find another.

Until I met the Lord with a conviction that I have to focus and stay in a ministry. What church? To which denomination? Jesus Is Lord Church or the Alliance of Bible Christian Communities of the Philippines (ABCCOP)?

I have many reasons to stay in ABCCOP. I have many opportunities for service there, being a fresh graduate of its national Bible School, the Center for Servant Leadership, Philippines. I could easily have contact and connection with her churches in the province. And of course, I am already friends with many of its pastors, some of them being my former schoolmates in the Bible School some years before. And not to mention, a church was already  ready to have me as her full-time pastor. Not an associate, but the privileged full-time pastor.

But as I was enjoying giving my service to ABCCOP, I could not forget the fact that it was the JIL Church which sent me to study at the Bible School, and as I was studying for five years, she was praying for the fruition of my pastoral studies, and in the future be one of her pastors. It was not a short prayer, but years of earnest prayers by the leaders of the JIL church which sent me to pursue Biblical Studies.

Right now I am serving in JIL San Teodoro Chapter. I am really enjoying the ministry here, slowly connecting with people and trying to bring them up to God. Little by little, God is showing me how to disciple His children. Yes, indeed, this is true Christian Pilgrimage, accompanying others on the road towards meeting Christ.

I am still praying. Is God calling me to commit long-term here in San Teodoro? Only God knows the answer. And He will reveal it to me.

An Addition, Not a Subtraction

I have always loved the idea of committing the self for full-time service to the Lord.

This post could be a defense, or maybe an elaboration. In my past confession, I was opening up that I had a real hard time deciding if I would still take up secular college – the dilemma was that if I would take another secular course (and pursue the secular teaching profession), it would only mean that I am giving up my ‘calling’ for a full-time ministry. And the making up of that decision was indeed breaking up my heart.

Truly heart-breaking and mind-hammering because I have always believed since I entered the Bible School that after graduating, my only path would be to pursue the full-time ministry, or at least have it alongside teaching at a Bible School.

So the year 2012 was very instrumental for me to learn new principles in life – in a hard and painful way – which involves laying down aside my former convictions.

For a long time, it was like taunting the self – I said to myself years before that I would never again study secular nor pursue secular profession, and I stood firmly for that conviction for years – but now I am swallowing it up. For months, I felt I have dishonoured and have been a good traitor of the self.

But though I would say that I really could not understand God’s ways (and for sure thousands of Christians out there would agree), at the back of my mind I have some logical reasoning that maybe, God truly wants me to take this new path of professional life – not as a subtraction to my desired full-time ministry life, but as a good addition.

By taking this new path, in this pilgrimage I will be given the best chance to face and overcome my fears in many areas, and grow up as a better person. Fears that would surely remain not faced and unchecked if I would pursue now the full-time ministry that I have wanted.

Walking bravely (and nervously) this strange new world would give me new attachments and relationships – and in effect widen my sphere of influence.

What would I say then? It is always best to trust the mysterious ways of God, though it often inflict pain and push our minds to the limits.

Truly, “His ways are not our ways.”

 

Drawing Others to Christ Means Drawing Yourself to God

Personal evangelism, or the act of sharing Jesus and the Gospel has always been a source of joy in my life, and a pool from which challenges provide training for the ministry.

Last October 12, Friday, my friend and I went to the city plaza to do some personal evangelism. Both of us reminisced our individual experiences of doing evangelism years before – and felt that we should have done this ministry regularly as a lifestyle. We believe it should be a lifestyle for every Christian.

It was hard at first. We were hesitant and nervous to approach strangers, in fact, for the first hour we had not approach anyone. We felt really awkward as we tried to approach highschool students but failed, and noticed that these students somehow felt that we had something for them – and yet we were not courageous enough.

Good thing is that God led us to first two people whom we can share Christ – one of them formerly attends a Christian Church, yet salvation was still unclear to her. That was our first couple, and the first time I ever tried to use the so-called ‘Shotgun Evangelism’, by frankly asking, ‘If you die now, are you sure you’re going to heaven?’

God allowed us also to share the Gospel to a policeman, and from him we understand that many people are hesitant or afraid to believe in Christ because of personal vices and some other sins – either they are not ready to forsake them or afraid they will fail in forsaking them. So we led him to a prayer not to accept Christ, but to let God take a hold of his life little by little. And, we reminded him that not all of his life he could have a chance to believe in Christ – tomorrow maybe too late, our life is not in our hands.

College students. Most are Catholics, and one belongs to Iglesia ni Cristo. My friend shared the Gospel for too long, around 30 minutes, thus losing their interest. One student believed in reincarnation, so we had to do some clear explanation.

We tried to share also to a foreigner, but he cut our conversation.

The greatest test of character for us was when a female prostitute challenged us to share the Bible to them. It was a test of integrity and respect on our part. Yes we shared the Gospel, and we exchanged mutual respect, they respected us and the Gospel, and we respected them as beings who are sinful yet not beyond the mercy and forgiveness of our Loving God.

That night was very fulfilling for us. We have realised some things, learnings that led us to the conclusion that if we dare to bring others to Christ, we ourselves shall draw near to God first.

  1. Evangelism requires the heart of the Heavenly Father. Unless we have the kind of heart that cares for the lost, evangelism would only be a burden, a Pharisaic Religiosity, a dead act of legalism. A task that follows the act of God in saving sinners should certainly include a heart that cares and values pitiful souls.
  2. Evangelism requires wisdom. The heart matters, but not at the expense of having wisdom – that is, adequate wisdom of the Word in areas of salvation and some general knowledge of the world. Evangelism brings us to different sorts of people, coming from different backgrounds, beliefs, and orientation. Surely along the way some would ask hard questions regarding the Bible and our faith – though we must avoid any debate, nonetheless we should be able to answer the important ones that could bring them to Christ. And also some general knowledge, for how could we relate and face questions regarding science, politics, psychology, myths, and the like, if all that we know is Scripture? By knowing other things as well, then we will have the capacity to use the Bible as to how it relates to and answers these other knowledge.
  3. Evangelism requires proper etiquette. It requires that we act not as professionals, but individuals that could be respected, and, of course, that we respect others also.
  4. Evangelism requires boldness and courage. It is never easy to approach strangers, much more to ask for their valuable time listening to a ‘common’ message.
  5. Again, evangelism requires wisdom, now in a different sense. There are places where evangelism could be a good ground for the devil to trap us into temptations, we should know how to avoid them and stand firm on our conviction as Christians who live out the message we share..
  6. And, above all, fruitful and true evangelism depends on the Power and Grace of God. This truth should bring the Christian to his knees in prayer and humble dependence.

Please pray with us, we really like to do this evangelism weekly.