Doing the ministry of the Lord is not about ability. It is about a heart of servanthood, which is evidenced by availability.
When we talk of ministry, you will find out that availability counts more than the ability. In fact, even Jesus, the greatest leader and influencer of all time, chose people not because of what they can do but on their willingness to submit to God’s agenda and schedule. He could have chosen the Pharisees, the spiritual leaders of the time, to mobilize the Good News. They have the influence, prominence and the eloquence to carry out His divine mission. But Jesus turned the world upside down with his ragtag team of ill-tempered, proud, doubtful and cunning disciples. Again, ability counts less, availability matters.
Yet the world looks after people with obvious gifts and prominent influence. We often follow those whose star shines the brightest. We admire them from a distance. We want them on our team. We think we can do more when we get the best and the brightest turn our steering wheel. While there’s nothing wrong with this, often this leads to frustration and defeat. We can’t always have the best people work for us. They are often busy in their own domain that they might not have time the capacity to give you their full attention and own wholeheartedly your vision. They might not always be available.
But we have around us those whose star flickers unnoticeable. They may not stand out but they are there. We just fail to notice them, but they are waiting for their turn to take part in something worthwhile, something great. These “average-gifted” individuals fuel the team’s productivity, and bring the most contribution to the table. They are present most of the time, and are willing to sacrifice for your vision. They have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
There is wisdom when Paul said “God chooses the weak to shame the strong”. The famous, the influential, the strong, the intelligent – the best out there, are busy being the best in their respective domains that they don’t have time to work with others, to work for others, to be there for others. But invest in people who are always around you, no matter how “weak” they seem, and see how God do some wonders through their efforts. These people, like the disciples of old, have the potential to turn the world upside down.
Doing the ministry of the Lord is not about ability. It is about a heart of servanthood, which is evidenced by availability.
“Napagtagumpayan ko na ito dati, ngayon pa ba ako susuko?”
We all have felt tired and downcast at times. Probably ngayon yung moment na yun para sayo. Season ito marahil na gusto mo nang isuko ang mga bagay na pinaghirapan mo mula noong una. Doubts may have crept upon and you begin to question your calling. Gusto mo nang umayaw.
However there’s a voice telling you to remain strong, that help is on the way. Minsan pa, pinipilit mong kumapit sa pananampalatayang “napagtagumpayan ko na ito dati, ngayon pa ba ako susuko?” Totoo naman, kung babalikan mo naman ang naging spiritual walk mo, hindi naman nagkulang ang Panginoon; hindi ka naman iniwan o pinabayaan.
In times like these, we often run frantically searching for answers. Gusto natin madaliang solusyon sa kalungkutan, sa spiritual exhaustion and drought na nararanasan natin. Sa mga ganitong panahon na tayo’y nakakaramdam na tila pagod ka na at wala nang pag-asa, I would like to share a few insights on how to fight your battle kahit na wounded ka na. Hindi ito formula guaranteed to get you through but it might help you greatly just as it helped me and many others.
Be silent before the Lord.
To be silent means to not speak. Pero minsan, this may mean to just free your mind from all your worries. Hindi ka nga nagsasalita pero sa isip mo ang daming mga alalahanin ang naglalaro. What if ganito, what if ganyan? Yung tipong kapag binigyan ng microphone ang isip mo hindi ito matatapos nang kakasalita. Start with silence. Oftentimes, much of our worries come from the unnecessary noise around us, at dun tayo napapagod. So begin with shutting your mouth and your mind for a moment and let the noise of the world just die within your thoughts. Forget about your deadlines for a while. Kalimutan mo muna lahat ng problema mo nang sandali. You will be amazed how relaxing this will be.
Wait upon the Lord.
Ayaw natin na naghihintay. We want quick-fixes sa ating mga problema. Kung kulang, we want to be filled agad-agad. Waiting is a waste of time para sa atin. We selfishly thrive on instant gratification. Pero si Lord, hindi lang ang “bunga” ang concern Niya, He cares as well sa process. May mga pagkakataon na maaari namang tugunin ni Lord ang mga panalangin natin agad in His power pero He waits for the “kairos” time para sa lahat. Waiting is a virtue that develops our faith. Our faith is tested and strengthened when we have to wait for something for a longer time. Kaya we need to wait upon Him. As you remain silent before Him, wait upon Him. Wag kang mainip kung pakiramdam mo napakatagal – while you are waiting patiently upon Him, He is actually intently looking after you.
Listen unto the Lord.
Madalas kapag nananalangin tayo, we do much of the talking ‘di ba? Lord, pahingi po ng ganito, sana po ganyan… This time practice the lost art of listening. Listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within you. However, you can only listen intently kapag silent ka before the Lord. Sabi nga ng librong nabasa ko, we can hardly hold on to what we never hear. So paano mo maiintindihan ang sinasabi ng Panginoon kung hindi ka naman talaga makikinig? Listen, and let Him do the talking.
God has already laid down His message to us in the Bible and yet God is never limited in His ways to communicate with His children, only we need to intently listen.
God speaks. Masyado lang kasi tayong masalita kaya hindi natin Siya madalas naririnig. You will be amazed sa mga paraan Niya kung paanong sumagot: through nature, through a song, through a memory na pinaalala Niya sayo, through a verse na nabasa mo sa Bible, or even through a person who just uttered something na naka-encourage sayo. This is of course not to be mistaken as over-spiritualizing things. God has already laid down His message to us in the Bible and yet God is never limited in His ways to communicate with His children, only we need to intently listen. Always confirm whatever you hear from Him in the context of His written Word.
Take rest in the Lord.
Nakakita ka na ba ng isang baby na natutulog? Di ba ang peaceful niyang tignan? Lalo na kung pinaghehele siya ng kanyang ama o ina, sobrang relaxing ng scenario. Imagine yourself to be a baby, at ang Panginoon ang iyong Ama na naghehele sayo. Will you be need anything, knowing that the Creator of heavens and earth carries you in His arms? Whatever message you have received in the Lord as you wait upon Him, take rest in that message. Panghawakan mo. Make it THE source of your strength. Ang sabi nga sa Psalms, God is an ever-present help in times of trouble. Kahit kapaguran man yan o pag-aalala, He is always present to give help. Find rest in Him and let Him fight your battles.
I would like to share a very familiar passage which has strengthened me just recently:
Have you not known? Have you not heard?The Lord is the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth.He does not faint or grow weary;his understanding is unsearchable.He gives power to the faint,and to him who has no might he increases strength.Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted;but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary;they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
Find strength in the Lord. He is waiting for you, and is always ready to receive you. May you find rest and strength for your soul now, dear reader!
What makes us less of a human? Sometimes it is not our lack of compassion. Most of the time, it is our preoccupation with too many things.
The story of the Good Samaritan is one of the most common stories being told in a Sunday school class. The message is simple: there was a Jew who was robbed and beaten by bandits, left half-dead beside the road. Then came a priest, followed by a Levite (or a church worker) who both saw the man yet chose to pass him by. Until a man, a despised Samaritan, took notice of the body lying on the road, tended the wounds and took care of his needs – and much more! #HopeInHumanityRestored
Obviously, the one to be commended is the one who stopped and stooped down to help. What he did was heartwarming and brings butterflies to the stomach. It is indeed an awesome story to share.
Digging deeper to the background of the story, we’ll find out that the Samaritans and the Jews are not in good terms. The rift between them is so immense that it is uncommon for Jews and Samaritans even to associate with each other. That’s why the disciples were so surprised to see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman at the well. Thus, Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan isn’t a cool, mushy story the first time it was told – it is both counter-cultural and unheard of.
Fortunately, our family, nor any family I know, was never involved in rido, or clan/family wars. But this is a reality with our brethren in southern Philippines. Tribal wars still exist in many parts of the globe. No matter how we brag about building bridges through technology and globalization, we can never deny the fact that cultural walls are still on the rise and it comes multi-faceted – racism, sexism, religious indifference…
“How often we pray for God to use us for His purpose – and then when He interrupts our lives to answer our prayer, we list all our inadequacies”
To stop and stoop down is easier said than done, especially when you, or someone you love, are being despised, when you’re being harassed, being taken advantage. But is it impossible? I don’t think so.
Inasmuch as I would like to relate myself to the Good Samaritan, I believe I am more of the first two took notice, but chose to pass by instead.
Surely, the priest and the Levite are both good persons. They are both committed to their calling, both devout and above reproach. Just like most of us. We are responsible employees, responsible parents or sons and daughters. Generally we are good people. We took pity for those who are victimized by wars, famine and uncanny sicknesses. We feel sorry for those who live in unimaginable poverty. We shed tears for people whose situations move our hearts to the core. In the first place, we are humans beings, created in the image and likeness of God. We are no rock nor piece of metal.
They both saw the half-dead person lying on the road. I believe they both felt pity towards the person. But maybe, and this I am not sure, maybe they are caught up with their own schedules. They have more important things to do than to stop and stoop down to help a total stranger, much more someone who belongs to the opposing party. They have ministries to attend to! They have meetings to facilitate, sermons to prepare, members to counsel, small groups to lead. They are busy. They already have too much on their plates and they cannot afford to add more burden to themselves. Maybe this is why I relate to them more.
I love how Christine Caine, the founder of A21 Campaign, a non-profit organization who strives to end human trafficking, puts it: “How often we pray for God to use us for His purpose – and then when He interrupts our lives to answer our prayer, we list all our inadequacies”
It is my desire to be used by God mightily to make a difference in the lives of others. I always yearn to be an instrument of change and an inspiration to many. I want to do great exploits for the Lord. This is what it means to be a “servant of God” – to be an extension of Jesus’ hands and feet and eyes and ears. Yet from time to time, as He leads me into situations to “suit up my Christian armor”, I end up pursuing the more comfortable, easier path, to the point that I cross to the other side of the road as if I didn’t notice the helpless around me.
What makes us less of a human? Sometimes it is not our lack of compassion. Most of the time, it is our preoccupation with too many things.
How many people scream for our attention yet we chose to disregard them because we have other things of “greater importance”? How many people asked for help, asked for a listening ear, but all we offer is our divided attention – or no attention at all. Instead of kneeling beside the person like what the Samaritan did, we distance ourselves. We are caught up with our own “busyness” that we can no longer afford to stop, much more stoop down.
What makes us less of a human? Sometimes it is not our lack of compassion. Most of the time, it is our preoccupation with too many things. This is my personal prayer: that the next time I see someone in need, I will be courageous and compassionate enough to stop whatever I am doing and stoop down, offering help even if it costs me my inconvenience. Lord, make me like You.
God doesn’t call the qualified rather He qualifies the called.
Confession. Hindi ko talaga feel ang youth ministry. I feel like I just don’t fit in. Wala akong charisma, wala akong wit na kagaya ng karamihan ng youth leaders na kilala ko. Hindi ako kasing lively magsalita, hindi energetic at lalong hindi sporty type. I have a boring personality, so to speak – something na hindi fit para sa qualifications ng isang youth leader. Habol: Ang corny ko nga daw mag-joke. Haha!
Good thing that God doesn’t call the qualified rather He qualifies the called. Ayun, may pinaglagyan ako. Ang ministry na inaayawan ko at never kong pinangarap ay naging isang malaking bahagi ng aking personal spiritual growth. And I learned to love it. Iba rin.
When it comes to discipleship, though isa siya sa mga topics na interested akong binabasa, medyo foreign sa akin ang actual practice. I grew up kasi wanting to do things on my own. Reserved akong tao. I keep a very few number of friends. Kaya naman basing on what I read from books, discipleship is a huge step of faith para sa akin. But I know that I am called to disciple, the same way that all believers are all called to do.
Discipleship, is not about being comfortable with your spiritual status but about getting your hands dirty in doing the job with the results embedded on your mind. Dapat may bunga kang inaasam. Dapat may patutunguhan.
So aside from embracing the youth ministry leadership, kasabay na sinubukang kong mag-step out of my comfort zone and invest into discipleship na matagal-tagal na ring nagli-linger sa puso ko. Not the general discipleship type na bahala na sino ang sumalo ng efforts ko, but the intentional discipleship na mag-iinvest ka talaga, magtatanim, mag-aalaga at maghihintay. #ParangPagIbig Haha!
Discipleship, is not about being comfortable with your spiritual status but about getting your hands dirty in doing the job with the results embedded on your mind. Dapat may bunga kang inaasam. Dapat may patutunguhan. Otherwise it is just another kind of huddle offered by the different groups.
Pagdating sa pagdi-disciple, mahaba-haba ang lakbayin. Matagal-tagal na panahon bago magbunga ang mga itinanim. Asahan na rin ang mga frustrations and times na gugustuhin mo na lang sumuko. Discipleship is no walk in the park but it is all worth it.
Isipin mo na lang na para kang isang posporo. Hindi ka magliliyab kung hindi ka madadarang sa init, sa pressure, sa friction. Magiging uncomfortable at times, magiging mahirap, masakit, mabigat.
Yet our motivation should be this: that through our seemingly “small” investments of prayer, genuine concern, and the Word itself, we are sending the next generation a message that we care for them. Discipleship is sending a message to our kids and grandkids that we love them that’s why we want them to experience God’s love as well.
If you’re into discipleship, my prayer is that you keep on fanning the flame. Ang isang malaking sunog ay nagsisimula sa isang maliit na spark. #ParangPagIbig, nagsisimula sa spark. Haha! Isipin mo na lang na para kang isang posporo. Hindi ka magliliyab kung hindi ka madadarang sa init, sa pressure, sa friction. Magiging uncomfortable at times, magiging mahirap, masakit, mabigat. Minsan hindi na lang puso mo ang ibinibigay mo, kundi pati baon mo at oras ng tulog. But imagine Jesus, He took time investing in the lives of His disciples. Parang walang patutunguhan sa una. Misfits of society pa ang pinili niya. But the tiny sparks nang maliliit na mga posporo aka disciples ni Jesus ay naging wildfire which eventually turned the world upside down.
And speaking of Posporo, check this song out. There is no better way to end this post than this. #MyKindOfMusic. Keep the fire burning mga ka-posporo! Alab pa!
The question is, are you willing to trust Him just like what Miriam did?
The life of Ms. Miriam Quiambao – Roberto, Ms. Universe 1st Runner Up 1999, is a story most of us can find encouragement. She has her share of fame and fortune, as well as of failures, and this is the reason why most of us can actually relate to her. We may not be as popular nor rich like her, particularly when she was still an active celebrity, but we can always identify with her tears and disappointments in life.
Ms. Quiambao – Roberto was the guest speaker for our 47th church anniversary held at the Ballroom Hall, Riverbanks Convention Center on November 29. She was accompanied by her husband, Mr. Ardy Roberto – the man behind the books “Ang Buhay na Hindi Bitin”, “Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin”, and “Real Men are P.O.G.I.”. I kinda feel elated sitting just a few seats from them, but more than the couple’s presence, what moved me more is the story behind Ms. Miriam Quiambao’s conversion.
Her testimony has already been broadcasted in 700 Club Asia of GMA News TV 11.
Here are some of my ruminations on her testimony
God is our Great Orchestrator
Miriam recalls that since childhood, she longs to be a beauty queen someday but the desire died down awhile as she prepares to be a Licensed Physical Therapist. However, God has orchestrated things for her. God acknowledged her childhood dream and brought her in the ranks of the most beautiful women in the world.
You wanted to turn to the right but you took the opposite direction. Perhaps this isn’t “misdirection” – it is God’s predetermined direction for you.
Like us, we have different longings inside. Have you ever experienced a seemingly “misdirection” in your life? You wanted to be a successful engineer but circumstances led you to a different field, say you ended up being an entrepreneur or an accountant instead. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a distinguished celebrity or fashion model but you landed in a very rewarding teaching career – away from the glitz and glam of show business. You wanted to turn to the right but you took the opposite direction. Perhaps this isn’t “misdirection” – it is God’s predetermined direction for you.
Miriam’s Ms. Universe stint is a story of fulfilled childhood dream, but for most of us, we’ve never realized our childhood desire [yet]. But wherever you are and whatever you might be doing in life right now is exactly where God wants you to be and wants you to do. In His perspective, there is never an accident nor an out-of-place-scenario. He is the Great Orchestrator and all things are perfect in His plans.
God is our Great Problem Solver
She thought she had it all going well on her life. With her popularity and riches, she felt secure. She even had high hopes on her first marriage on 2004 with an Italian businessman. But two years later, they ended up in divorce, which led to her depression. As if this isn’t enough, she lost much of her showbiz projects and was even scammed of her investments by people she once trusted. It was a season of falling, of disappointments.
More than the usual problems we experience from day to day, our greatest problem is our sins and separation from God. But thanks be to Jesus, we now have a solution.
They say that when it rains, it pours. For Miriam, all her treasured possessions – career, investments, connections, relationships – seemed to be smashed into pieces. Problems – no matter how simple or complicated they may seem, makes us dependent to others for help. In response to our dire need of help, God sends us people who will help lift us up from the miry clay we’re drenched into. In Miriam’s case, it was Mr. Anthony Pangilinan. She was led to Jesus and soon enough, the once depressed, miserable Miriam Quiambao has held her hopes in the loving-kindness and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course not in an instant, but her problems met solutions in the Lord, and the marred pieces of her life were replaced with brand new ones.
Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior and acknowledging Him to be the only One who can save us from the wretchedness of our lives is the eternal solution to all our problems. More than the usual problems we experience from day to day, our greatest problem is our sins and separation from God. But thanks be to Jesus, we now have a solution. He is not just a problem solver – He is the solution Himself.
He is the Great Provider
After all the bitter incidences in Miriam’s life, she found hope in Jesus. Now she is ready to embrace what the Lord is willing to offer her – immeasurable joy of having Christ in her heart. Eventually she regained what was taken away from her: occasional showbiz projects and other sources of income, restored relationships with people dear to her, was relieved of her depression and a partner in life in the person of Mr. Ardy Roberto. On top of these, she is actively involved in the ministry, inspiring people with her testimony. She can also be seen in CBN Asia as one of the hosts. God has indeed redeemed the Beauty Queen and made her God’s Princess.
God is our great provider. No matter what was lost to us, He can and He is willing to give it back, even hundredfold. What’s asked of us is complete surrender to His plans and obedience to His promptings. Miriam wasn’t given favor because she is beautiful or influential. She was restored because she is just like us, in need of grace and mercy, hopeless on our own. God doesn’t look down on people and look at their beauty or physical appearance. God looks at the heart. And He is delighted to reveal Himself to those whose hearts are yielded to Him.
What are your pressing needs today? God is more than willing to provide – and His provision goes beyond material things! Be it peace of mind, restored relationships, secured future or even food on the plate, He can be trusted. The question is, are you willing to trust Him just like what Miriam did? Surrender it all to Jesus, and you will never regret it the rest of your life.
I was led to this blog (link here) about Ms. Miriam and Mr. Ardy’s wedding. Indeed weddings are events where you can capture joy at its finest. Just look at the pictures! Hearing Miriam’s testimony firsthand, I love how God orchestrated everything for her life, solved all her problems and provided what her heart yearns for. What a remarkable story. Indeed He can catch you when you fall!
Jesus didn’t say to “wait and make disciples”, He commanded us to “go”.
The church mentioned in the Bible does not refer to the structure, the building, nor the organizational system of the pious. The church in the Bible most accurately refers to every individual who has received the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives. If you have a personal relationship with the only Savior Jesus Christ, then you are the church. We, as Christ believers, are the church.
Seeking obedience to the commission of Jesus to “go and make disciples”, the church’s thrust is to get out of its comfort zone and move to where the “lost sheep” are. Jesus didn’t say to “wait and make disciples”, He commanded us to “go”.
But in our context, we understand that the church also refers to the people who gather to worship the Lord and fellowship with one another and ultimately being guided by the Bible. In the heart of every healthy church is the desire to be a living organism, not just a growing organization. Seeking obedience to the commission of Jesus to “go and make disciples”, the church’s thrust is to get out of its comfort zone and move to where the “lost sheep” are. Jesus didn’t say to “wait and make disciples”, He commanded us to “go”. And it is a stern instruction!
Last Wednesday, instead of our usual Breakthrough Service/Prayer Meeting held in the church sanctuary, the leadership has brought the program to seven different locations. The church is bringing the Prayer Meeting right at the doorstep of the members, and it is actually an exhilarating idea!
To be honest, I was a bit doubtful at first whether it will get support from my churchmates. When people are used to spending their Wednesday nights in a familiar territory like the church sanctuary, it will not be easy to break the habit. But it takes a step of faith before you can spiritually move forward.
And glory to God, I can say that the church have overcome!
Our church, Marikina Foursquare Gospel Church, is again an expectant mother with potential seven daughter churches (or additional Bible studies) within and outside Marikina. If it is the Lord’s will, we are about to witness a plentiful harvest of souls as we extend our reach towards our neighbouring communities. It is always encouraging to see the church growing larger and smaller at the same time. Larger because there is a healthy increase in attendance, and smaller because people are joining care groups and Bible studies. Just like the early church, leaders are being sent to where the people are and proclaim the good news of the gospel wherever they were sent. This is a church in action!
Here are some pictures from our pilot Satellite Prayer Meeting:
Slowly, all by God’s grace, we claim the realization of our vision statement:
Marikina Foursquare Gospel Church is a group of Spirit-filled believers whose lives are driven by God’s purpose, rooted in His Word, grounded in His love, equipped for service with the goal of winning and discipling families and communities for Christ.
And with this, the challenge is to #PrayPaMore! #TrustPaMore!
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
* Photo credits to Kuya Benj, Bro. Jun M., Ate Ruth P., Kuya Rey T., Sis. Elena B., Sis. Mimi dL., Teacher Jet G. *
More than our hands and our bodies, we worship with our hearts first.
Over these previous Sundays, I find myself being amused once again over the way people raise their hands and lift their voice to worship. Growing up in a Pentecostal church where free worship is encouraged, I am privileged to see different people with different personalities expressing their adoration to the Lord in different ways. This sight is no longer new to me. It brings encouragement to my spirit, knowing that in heaven there’ll be an endless praise from all nations redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.
But why do people raise their hands to worship? Is it because the song leader says so? Is it just sheer emotional response caused by the melody of the songs? Is it because in a Pentecostal movement, raising hands have become the norm? Maybe yes, but these actually are shallow reasons and wouldn’t bring us anywhere.
“Our theology or image of God is undeniably formed by the songs that we sing each Sunday”. Singing is not just a part of the program that needs to happen before and after the preaching of the Word.
I still have faith that it is a gesture of genuine worship and reverence to the Divine Recipient of our adoration that we raise our hands as we sing.
Paul Baloche, in his devotional The Same Love, writes, “our theology or image of God is undeniably formed by the songs that we sing each Sunday”. Singing is not just a part of the program that needs to happen before and after the preaching of the Word. It does not function as a spiritual stimulator to check whether a person is ready for the rebuke or encouragement of the pastor’s message. Singing is not intended to “fire up” a person to worship – it is already worship in itself.
The primary role of every music ministry is not to produce music just to enliven the church program. Our music playlist on phone can do that. Their role is to lead us to worship where the focus is not towards themselves but towards the Lord.
More than our hands and our bodies, we worship with our hearts first. What we do on the outside is just an expression of what is inside.
That is why the challenge for them is “to be more pastoral in [their] music ministries, caring more about [their] congregations getting a biblical, scriptural foundation for their lives than simply singing poetic thoughts.”
Are we just singing poetic thoughts flavored with hand gestures? I hope we are not. More than our hands and our bodies, we worship with our hearts first. What we do on the outside is just an expression of what is inside. Baloche adds, “He created us to be loved by Him; it’s that simple and that complex. Our response to such overwhelming good news is to worship Him, now and forevermore.”