Prophecy, Papacy or Christ — where’s your focus on?

Here are some honest, from-the-heart questions to my friends from the church where, while I’m no longer a part of, I still love and honor:

While you’re very passionate about your eschatology — the prophecy, the Sunday law, the Pope and the supposed visit to the US as the the fulfilment of it — how’s your Christology? How’s your relationship with Jesus?

I’m not talking about whether you believe in God — it’s generic. It’s very easy to hide behind the generic “God” term and feel religious. No, I’m talking about your personal relationship with the God-man Jesus Christ.

I’m not talking about whether you believe you’re secured because you’re part of the “true church”. No, I’m talking about whether you’re secured in Jesus’s salvation if God decides to end your life today.

How’s your personal relationship with Jesus today? Who are you in Him when no one is looking?

If you evaluate your life in the past and how it is lived right now — you look at the prophecies, the Pope, the anticipation of Sunday Law, or Jesus Christ — where do you think your life have been focused on?
And most especially, where do you plan to focus on for the remainder of your life here on earth?

My prayer is that you focus on Jesus. You grow in your personal relationship with him daily. Let the noise of the present world or the future that quite honestly, only God really knows, not bother you. Be still in Jesus. Everything else — neither the present nor the future — doesn’t really matter if you’re with Him.

Easter Sunday — it’s for you whether you like it or not

TODAY, RESURRECTION SUNDAY, WE CELEBRATE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EVENT IN HUMAN HISTORY. SIGNIFICANT NOT ONLY FOR SOME, BUT FOR ALL!

IF YOU’RE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, there will be times in your life where you’ll feel troubled, burdened, even depressed. Remember however, that your savior is not dead. He is alive today — loving you, caring for you and walking with you through hard times.

IF YOU’RE SORT OF A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, remember that Jesus is alive today, he’s not a joke. He demands full commitment, not half-heartedness. Either you follow him or not at all. If he’s truly alive today, you should take that seriously.

IF YOU’RE NOT A FOLLOWER OF JESUS, what we celebrate today also affects your life. You might want to consider, if what we claim is not true, we’re just a bunch of lunatic. And with the rest of the people who lived from 2000 years ago, you have the right to laugh at us. However, if what we believe truly happened — that our Master has risen from the dead, it has eternal implications. He claims that he is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the father except through him. You then have to decide whether to believe him or not.

50 Shades From a Man and a Dad

My wife has some very wise words about telling people — kids and girls in particular — against watching the recent blockbuster “Fifty Shades of Grey”: they probably will be more curious and will want to watch it even more! And, newsflash! they probably have done so already.

So, since you most likely have seen the movie, here are some of my few thoughts as a man and a dad:

– What if Christian Grey is Mang Pandoy, the tricycle driver? Not cool. Not very cool. Being rich and cute doesn’t make abusive sex (or BDSM) cool.

– And, if you think “rich” and “cute” is a good catch, think again. Money can be earned. Pogi-ness can be learned. Both qualities can only allow you a few months into a relationship before it wears off and become unnoticeable. But respect, godliness and truthfulness are for the long haul. I always tell this to the singles at our church: don’t settle for less. You are far more valuable as a child of God to settle for anything less than a godly, honorable man that you deserve.

– Christian Grey needs some serious counseling. And if you find him cool, you need some, too. Seriously. I’m saying that without any trace of sarcasm, rather with honest concern.

– Yes, signing a contract before having sex is cool. The one you sign in front of your relatives and friends. But I’m not just talking about a typical contract. I’m talking about a covenant. The one you agree to “bond” you together for better or for worse in front of God. You know where I’m going with this.

– Sex is fun. Sex should be fun. But, I’m saying this as a married man and a dad to girl that will soon be a lady in a few years and not as a youth leader or counselor: wag muna, wait until you’re married. The fear, guilt, shame and uncertainty is not worth it.

A few related, very useful links:

Here’s a message series we did at LifeChurch, a Christian Church in Makati CBD about love and sex – “Love Song“. Watch the videos. Your 30-minutes will be well worth it.

A Psychiatrist’s Letter to Young People About 50 Shades of Grey – I thought this one is a very informed advice from a professional.

#OneWord2015: Consistency

For the past 2 years, it has been my practice to think about my “one word focus” for the year.

“Focus”, not “Resolution”. Resolutions are meant to be broken come February.

Just one word. Not 10, or 5 or even 2. Just one. I’m a simply guy. I need simple and dumb. One is simple. Simple is easy to follow.

Last year 2014, my one word was “Go“. I wanted to pursue new things with complete trust in what God has in stored for me. As a result, we’ve launched LifeChurch Makati in its new location at the Holiday Inn & Suites Manila. That’s one new and, honestly, scary thing to pursue. But God is good.

Professionally, I’ve also started a new facet in my professional life. New work habit, new client, and learned new technologies.

* * *

This year, my one word focus is consistency.

I’m a guy that starts fast and furious with so much passion. But I’m the embodiment of a Filipino trait called “Ningas Kugon”. (Can somebody translate that to us in English? :D ). I would start well, but following through has been my issue.

So, this year, with God’s grace, I want to focus on consistency.

Professionally, I want to be consistent. I want to properly manage my time to be able to effectively beat deadlines and have more margin for other great personal projects I’ve started last year.

At church — my passion to see more people come to Christ — as we’ve laid down the foundations for LifeChurch Makati last year, I want to see consistency. I want to see myself following through what we have planned for this year.

At home, I want to consistently make my bride my priority and the kids be given full attention, love and guidance.

So, consistency. Let’s see how I’m going to evaluate myself come January, 2016.

What’s your One Word Focus for 2015?

 

A satanist tried to kill Craig Groeschel

Ok, calm down. If you’re a Lifer, everything’s fine. No reason to freak out. :)

I recently found a relatively new (1 year old) blog post that’s really cool and quite honestly, scary. It was a review of a book written by a former Oklahoma city satanist. One of the satanic tasks, among others, that he tried to accomplish is trying to kill Craig Groeschel. For those of you who do not know Craig, he’s the founding pastor of LifeChurch.tv, one of the fastest growing church in America, and probably the biggest. He is also well loved teaching pastor among the 150 NetworkChurches across the United States and the world, where LifeChurch Makati is part of.

Here’s an excerpt of his story:

One night when Leehan was home alone, he heard strange sounds emanate from his master bedroom, including scratching on the walls, guttural groans, and then chanting. “The demonic sounds from the unholy choir directed me to the living room,” where he was engulfed by an evil presence that overpowered his will.

Mission to kill

He felt an indwelling which seemed to be an angel of death. “This spirit gave me a mission: ‘Kill Craig Groeschel.’” The satanic spirit explained that another man had been give the task but had backed down. Leehan was the chosen one to complete the assignment.

Groeschel founded Life Covenant Church in 1996 in a suburb of Oklahoma City, and it had grown to become the largest church in that area and one of the largest in the U.S.

For a year, Leehan stalked Groeschel with a 9 millimeter Glock and two clips, which he hid under his shirt as he sat in the foyer of the large church and studied the church’s security arrangements. Leehan never ventured inside the sanctuary, because of his hatred of worship and the people of God.

(Spoiler alert: if you plan to read Leehan’s riveting book, stop here.)

On the day he decided to kill Groeschel, something unexpected happened. As Leehan sat and listened to the reading of God’s Word, the praises of His people, and the message of the gospel, it pierced his heart. The stone wall Satan had erected around his heart began to be dismantled, and the light of heaven began to work.

When an usher came over to him, Leehan confessed what he had been planning to do. The man stood there speechless, his eyes wide with shock and horror.

Leehan quickly left the church with his girlfriend, but the next week, his photo was plastered in the staff rooms of every LifeChurch around Oklahoma City. A caption beneath his photo read, “If you see this man, call security or the police.”

When he went back to the church the following Sunday, he forgot his weapon. As he sat in the foyer once more, an armed deputy sheriff confronted him, and Leehan was taken into the main offices. When Leehan was searched, they found no weapon on him.

“Why are you here?” one asked. “Is it to harm a certain staff member?”

“I’m done with that,” Leehan replied. “I think I am seeking freedom from the life I’ve been living for so long. I think I’m seeking your God. I’m just not sure what to do next. I just need some time… and a little space.”

Surprised by grace

Somewhat perplexed by this strange turn of events, the staff decided to let Leehan go, they informed him. They would talk among themselves, seek God’s will, and decide what to do next.

“I was amazed I was allowed to leave the property…and they didn’t have me detained and arrested,” Leehan recounts.

The next day, Chris Spradlin called him from LifeChurch. “I want you to know you are welcome at LifeChurch at any time. On one condition: you need to text John Ziegler (head of security) on Sunday morning and let him know which service you’re going to be attending. John will be watching you…you will need to sit in the same place every Sunday and conduct yourself in a way that would be pleasing to God. That’s all we’re asking.”

“If you need anything from me, don’t hesitate to ask. God bless you, Mike,” Spradlin added.

Leehan couldn’t believe it. They were welcoming him back without any pressure or forced meetings. The conditions seemed completely reasonable, considering he planned to kill their pastor only days before.

The grace shown to him began to melt his heart. “I had never seen that kind of love before,” Leehan says. “I kept on going back because they let me go.”

Over the next three months Leehan attended the church, but Satan would not give up his possession without a fight. Leehan found himself engulfed in an intense spiritual battle for his allegiance.

You can read his story on this blog post.