Monday, December 31, 2007

Awakening



Unlike others who came before you,
What I feel for you grew
Like a seed planted long before

Came out of the ground
With no warning whatsoever
A delightful surprise

Just as a flower
blossoms a bud at a time
My heart will embrace you

No hurry, no noise
Slowly, as the sun rises and sets
And just as certain

*** disclaimer: this poem was written today for no one in particular. really. ***




Holiday Blues

There are a lot of things I am trying to process right now. Stuff that need to be dealt with. Feelings that I thought were dead or non-existent but were hibernating in my heart all along.

One big revelation for me this holiday season is that I've been looking to particular people to fulfill needs that now I realize only God can fulfill. I didn't think this was so until I prayed to God to heal me of my brokenness and asked Him to let any unforgiven hurts surface. I was in for a surprise because the very next day - it came out like I stepped on a mine.

I never realized how high a wall I built around me just to keep myself from being hurt but I ended up making decisions that were completely wrong because the walls were so high I could not see where I was going.

If you're reading this, none of this might make sense to you. But I guess although I need for this to be just between me and God, I also need to express in writing all of these things I am going through.

The great thing about going through times like this is that because I know now what's hurt me, I can also forgive.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Breakfast in Tagaytay

Okay.. so I'm beginning to like going on road trips to Tagaytay.

If you know me well, you know that I don't like traveling. Okay, let me qualify.. I don't like traveling much. I mean, I absolutely love Boracay! And now I'm starting to like Tagaytay as well. I only like to go to places that are tried and tested. I'm not into adventure much (something I am really trying to overcome) as you can tell.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

first we attended the sambang gabi (dawn service) at 430AM at the Fort

yummy, yummy breakfast buffet at Josephine's


Marge & Ria

M & Carlo

Meg's Pregnant Look

Marge & I

We're going back again sometime next week. Hopefully, we'll have cooler weather (it wasn't so cold when we went Saturday) and I think we'll get the lunch buffet instead of the breakfast buffet the next time around.

Anyone wanna go with us? :)

For more pictures, click HERE.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Moving On and Moving Back


When I started working for Victory a year and a half ago, I thought I would work there forever.

It was truly a dream come true for me to have been given an opportunity to work full time for the ministry, to have been able to work with the people I've had the pleasure to work with these past 18 months. I have learned so much and the relationships I have with the friends and mentors I have now are invaluable.

One year and eight months ago, I was confused and hurt. I had a job that I loved and was pretty good at. I was living away from my family, serving as a volunteer in different ministries in church, was a small group leader, ministering to single women. I had a great relationship with my Mom, was able to see my siblings every weekend, and what I was doing from Mondays to Fridays was something I loved doing.

Then one day, things had to change. I had to decide to move back home, had to resign from work, had to take on a job I had no idea how to do. It was all my choice. I could have said "no." But God promised me and reassured it was not a mistake, and so I squeezed my eyes shut, and jumped.

I fell into depression for a while. I was confused and unhappy. I didn't understand why I was made to leave the life I loved to live a life I did not want. I cried out to God for an explanation. I just wanted to know why I was there. One day, I was able to silence the whining and the tantrums and heard God's patient voice. Finally, I got what He was trying to teach me all that time.

Then it happened. Three months after leaving Summit, I got a job working for Victory.

Even now, I am amazed at how God orchestrated everything.

So, like I said, after a year and a half, I'm leaving my job at Victory and moving on to something well... not so new... I'm moving back to Summit, to that place I left so suddenly some two years ago.

I'm excited. This all happened quickly. It was not planned. But everything just fell into place. Another exciting journey ahead of me.

Thank You, God.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

That could've been any one of us


A co-worker told me about a shooting incident at a mall in the U.S. yesterday. He also briefly mentioned that there was another shooting that happened in a church he used to go to. For some reason, it just didn't connect with me. I remember mumbling a random oh-my-gosh but it just didn't sink until I actually visited the church's website today.

Can you imagine that? Coming from a worship service, staying a little while for a Christmas party at church, getting out of the building ready to get on home to rest, then facing a man with a gun pointed at you, shooting you dead. And all this happens in what you thought was the safest place in the world.

I'm just too stunned right now to say something that makes sense.

It is violent. It is frightening. It upsets me that someone would kill randomly. It could've been me. It could've been you. It could've been anyone of us.

Learning about this news made me remember:

Truth #1: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. We have an enemy. He is real and he will do anything, use anything, no matter how depraved, no matter how senseless, no matter how cruel.
Truth #2: Jesus said: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. No life given to Jesus Christ is ever lived in vain. Even in death, God's purposes always prevails. And in death comes the promised life everlasting.

Thank God for that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

From us to you

Check out our christmas dance!

Advance Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Constant Thing Called Change

I haven't blogged for a while because there are things happening in my life that are, at this point, still a blur. You know how sometimes when you're waiting to cross the street and a car whizzes past you and you feel the impact of the movement and for a while there, you feel the wind was strong enough to make you topple over? That's how I feel now.

So many things are happening to so many people, including myself.

I am about to enter a new season of my life. And I am scared. Because I know this new season requires a lot of growing up and taking responsibility. This season requires the testimony of a changed life. This season requires security and confidence. This season requires getting out of my comfort zone in a major way. This season requires relying solely on the grace of God (because I will not get anywhere if I relied on my own non-existent strength).

Life is never a bore when you're living for God.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Preparing for Something Amazing

These past weeks have been really busy for all of us at the Fort but they have also been very exciting.

We're planting a new church in Greenhills on Sunday and I am so excited for Dennis and the rest of the team.

God's been opening a lot of doors and to echo Pastor Joey, a big wave of new people are coming. I've been sensing that since January last year. A lot of adjustments are going to be made, a lot of changes will also happen. It's all pretty overwhelming (in a positive way) but also scary, because we're parting with a lot of things we've gotten used to. But as you may have read in my pre-birthday post, God's been calling me to step out of my comfort zone. I don't know yet what that means and how that will pan out in which area/s of my life but I sense God's been preparing me for this for the past year.

Things will be changing this year, friends. And we better be open and prepared for what God's going to do.

In light of this, here are some posts worth reading, especially for those who are working in the ministry:

Pitfalls for Young Lions

My Greatest Fear

The Church Does Not Need Me

Pumpkin Spice Latte Evangelism

Of Obituaries

I was able to catch Oprah on TV tonight and saw a woman in her 30's being interviewed about something she did when she hit the 3-0.

She wrote her obituary. My first thought was that it sounded morbid. But after listening to what she had to say, I decided to make one for myself.

The woman didn't want to have any regrets and so, she thought about how she would want her obituary to read if she were a 78-year old looking back at her life. What she wrote was something like this:

"She always had a smile on her face. She didn't know how to hate. She genuinely wanted to know people and love them..."

She edits her obituary regularly.

There are times when we get so caught up with today and all the busyness that we forget what's really important. At the end of my life, what would I want written on my obituary? How do I want to live the next several decades of my life? What are the things I'm spending a lot of time on now that don't matter in the long run? What are the little or big things I can do that will matter for all eternity?

John 10:10 says that Jesus came so "that (we) may have life, and have it to the full." Am I living in the fullness of the life Christ has promised?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

B-Day (not Beyonce- related)

It's 1:51 AM Manila time and I am officially 29 years old.

God has been so good to me on my 28th year. Here are a few highlights:

1. Took on a new role at work this year.
2. Made a huge booboo at work but learned a great deal from it.
3. Made a lot of new friends.
4. Went back to the youth ministry.
5. Taught Victory Weekend for the first time.
6. Watched Beyonce live 3 days before my birthday. Great seats, too!

I am so excited at how God is going to work in my life on my 29th year. I'm off to a great start actually. There will be a lot of cutting and pruning this year. And I am excited about it. I know it won't be easy. It's probably going to be painful. But I know God is taking me to a new place.

I can't wait.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Birthday Coming Up


I love birthdays!

Mine is coming up five days from now and I'm excited. Not so much because I'm having a few friends over at my house although I haven't had a real party in years. It's more because birthdays mean new beginnings for me.

It's a bonus that I always get a break from work before my birthday wheels in because I use that week of rest to just think about the year that was and make some changes and set new goals for myself.

I haven't gotten to writing everything down but I believe my 29th year of life will be an exciting one. There will be a lot of new things God has in store for me and maybe for the first time in a long time, I am really going to let God lead.

I have to admit the past few years I've been the one deciding on my life. I guess for as long as what I was going to do was good, I just did it and prayed that God would bless it.

God's best always trumps good. It's about time I just let go of my own plans and let God really take the driver's seat.

Just this morning at the service I attended, God spoke clearly about moving out of comfort zones. This is a pretty scary premise for me as people who really know me know well that I am someone who loves routine. I'm all about comfort. But I know that if I am to mature as a Christian woman, I need to learn to trust God to move me wherever he wants.

I'm ready now.

Yikes.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend Download

Just came from our Youth Victory Weekend in Antipolo. What a truly awesome time we all had. It wasn't without its challenges but I believe God was there in our presence and the young people who participated encountered Him.

It was my first time to teach in Victory Weekend. I taught on how to have victory over addictions. I was so nervous being up there teaching. But it's something I've always wanted to do but was too scared to. Thank God for His grace that is always more than enough. I know that the Holy Spirit had His way with me because what I ended up saying was far from what I had on my first draft. The ideas and illustrations that came to mind days approaching Saturday helped the young women understand and identify the addictions in their lives and how to overcome them.

God has taught me so many things these past few days (again, some of them I learned the hard way aka I made some mistakes but the Holy Spirit quickly pointed them out):

1. I need rest. I slept a total of 10 hours the past three days. Two hours on Thursday, Two hours on Friday and six hours last night. Not good. God's been dealing with my lack of rest. When I don't rest, I become irritable. Again, not good. Tonight, I will get eight hours of sleep.

2. Security comes ONLY from God. If you try to find it elsewhere, you end up hurt and even more insecure than you were in the first place. God's been dealing with a particular thing the past few months. I thought it would never come but it's true God will cut off branches that do not bear fruit.

3. People are not perfect. You may want them to be, you may pray that they would be but because we live in a fallen world, they never are. I need to learn to accept and embrace just as God did and is still doing with my severely imperfect self.

4. Church is family. This is connected to #3. Just because people love the Lord does not mean that they will not offend you. But when they do, you need to forgive and get over it. No matter how utterly infuriating some people may be, I need to love them. Why? Because church is family.

5. Christianity is all-access. You can't be Christlike only in chosen areas of our lives. We can't say in ministry, in church, in leadership, at work, I will be like Christ but in other areas, I can be whoever I want to be and act whatever way I want. Christianity comes with a hefty price tag and Jesus never hid that fact from us. Having said this, as Christian leaders, we need to be especially careful with the choices we make, the jokes we choose to say, the way we act, what we talk about when only close friends are around. Fun is good. I'm all for it. But not at the expense of Christ-like character, not at the expense of the very people we are trying to mentor.

6. Practice what you preach. We cannot be teaching people things we are not prepared to do... Wait, let me rephrase, we cannot be teaching people things we are not doing in our own lives.

7. Discipleship is teaching people to follow Christ. Not us. Not what we do. Not our attitude. Not our flawed characters. Not our faulty ways. We point them to the Word and teach them to obey what it says.

8. Ladies, it's important to set our standards high. Do not have someone in mind when setting standards. If you have a particular guy in mind that you're interested in at the time you do this, chances are you will set your standards to fit him. Ask God what you need to be looking for in a man. He will be more than pleased that you asked. Also, do not just listen to what a man has to say, look at his character. He can scream all he wants about integrity, purity, faithfulness, but it amounts to nothing if it's not evident in his life.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pumped up Monday

Came from a Supervisors' Training conducted by Ardy Abello today. Got a lot of great insights and ideas. I'm pumped up to make changes in my life.

I'm the kind of person who is motivated easily. I guess that's why it's also natural for me to motivate people and teach what I have learned because I treasure so much what's been passed on to me. While some people may walk out of a seminar with new thoughts, I am the kind of person who comes out of it impassioned to apply what I've learned. I'm the kind of person who can come out of a meeting bubbling with anticipation and excitement at what new things lie before us and how we're going to get there.

I used to be embarrassed by that and would try to play it cool. But I have learned to accept and celebrate that that's how God has wired me. I guess that's why I enjoy so much working with the likes of Pastor Joey, Pastor Paolo, Pastor Bernard, LA, Dennis... They're passionate leaders who have great vision, they're guys who inspire me to push some more.

Honestly, there are days when I just feel spent. I feel like everything I have has been squeezed out of me but more and more I learn that an extra step, an extra push goes a long way.

Other things I've learned along the way (sometimes the hard way):

  • Mistakes are great character builders.
  • No idea is ever so outrageous you can't say it out loud.
  • There's always a little truth in every criticism so be open to it but practice wisdom and discernment also. You don't need to be at the mercy of what people around you say.
  • Be teachable. Don't wait for someone to come along to offer to mentor you. You need to go to people you look up to and ask questions, ask to be taught.
  • We need systems. Having said that, we also need to re-evaluate systems already in place. Like they say, the only constant thing in this world is change and our systems need to grow as we grow.
  • Pastor Steve once said "Only do what only you can do." Find out what people are good at and give them the opportunity to rise up. Most of the time, they will not do a perfect job. That's why we need to expose them to the best, train them, give them room to make mistakes and constantly give feedback and encouragement. People can tell if you're just concerned about output or if you do what you do because you want them to grow at their gift. So as leaders, we need to make sure in our hearts that people come first before process. (Learned much of this today)
By the way, our 08 planner got scrapped. That's one less thing on my to-do list. I was excited about it though. But, they're right, it's not really in line with what we're trying to do. One thing I'm excited about though: the decluttering and launching of a spanking-new Fort website. Coming early next year!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Up late with nothing to blog

It's close to 4am and I have nothing to blog.

Realized I have so many things to say but don't quite know how to start. That's why the random thoughts format works with me. Except it's too late to think of anything random to say.

Which means I will blog more when I wake up later.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So much to do, so little time

The past two weeks have been crazy busy. I've already asked for a deadline extension for the text I'm supposed to submit to the artists working on our planner. I had to work Sunday to voice over a mock fashion show for our services. I had to work Saturday also to interview the women coming out of Victory Weekend. Plus, we had to change our design for our new preaching series.

My evenings have been full as well. Tuesday, I had to finish reviewing One 2 One with Katt, whom I'm bringing to Victory Weekend in Ortigas tomorrow and Saturday. The past three Wednesdays I've been attending a preaching class at Ortigas as well. Thursdays have also been filled with youth meetings, leadership group meetings, and that talk by Gary Greenwald last week.

I've been sleeping three to five hours per night because when I get home I try to sneak in some work and reading.

I know, I know. This isn't a healthy way to live life. I'm hoping to make some changes ASAP to give me more time to rest and really focus on my priorities. But so far, that's how the past two weeks have gone.

Sidenote:

I'm reading this book by Mark Batterson called In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. I cannot put it down. I just have a review copy that I'm supposed to give back to our bookstore but it's so good I'm thinking of buying a copy of my own and maybe giving it as a present to some of my friends. It's a weird title, I know. But it's just what the book is about and Batterson explains it early on in the book and I just got hooked.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Name Game

* Cross posted from http://romanalo.multiply.com



This is pretty cool. Want to know what your name means? Go HERE.


The name my parents gave me:

Ramona
Wise and mighty protector "Spanish"

You are a visionary with courage and enthusiasm if a little hasty at times. Your ambitious nature can be satisfied when you apply wisdom, patience and self-discipline to your vitality and zest. You have wonderful way with words and may be drawn to the communications arena where there is the potential for great success. Your generous and warm nature attracts many friends and loved ones.

Not a lot of people know I have a second name. Something my then-hippie parents gave me:

Cy

There is no doubt that with your great self-belief and powerful personality you are meant for positions of leadership. Others find you inspiring and you seem to attract success and good fortune easily. You have a strong mind and clear thinking giving you the ability to make quick decisions and take calculated risks. Being prepared to take one step at a time means you will be assured of achieving all your objectives.


The name you know me as:

Roe

Balanced and fairminded you possess the ability to use sound reason and judgement when determined and decisive action is required. Persuasive and logical you tend to be an influential figure in your circle of friends and associates. You are extremely adaptable and this is necessary as you seem to be continually being presented with decisions of a life altering nature.


Which used to be spelled:


Ro

You have a charismatic and magnetic personality which others cannot help but be drawn to ensuring you of many friends. Very ambitious your keen perceptive powers and ability to absorb knowledge helps you to achieve your objectives. You are a strong willed and industrious worker who is prepared to earn all the material success and good fortune which comes your way. With a philosophical attitude happiness is assured.


High School friends used to call me (but no one is allowed to call me this anymore unless you went to Pisay from 1993-1996):

Mona
My lady "Italian"

You are a charismatic individual with a dynamic and attractive personality. Probably not known for your caution or patience you are a risk taker who hates to be restricted in any way. Freedom is very important to you. Your thinking and intuition is strong and you have a talent for communication.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Off the top of my head

• I am so excited for my co-worker and brother in the faith Dennis Sy. He's planting our church in Greenhills. Just finished reading his blogs. You should read them, too. He's a really humble guy, super nice, someone I just admire. He asked me sometime last week jokingly if I ever regretted joining the Fort church as full-time staff instead of the Ortigas church (my home church). Without batting an eyelash, I answered "No." If he had asked me a year ago, I would've had to think twice. If I didn't push through with working at the Fort, then I wouldn't have had the chance to get to know the people I work with now. What can I say? They're the best!

• I'm so excited because the idea of planting a church is just so thrilling! New place, new people, new ways. I love to witness how God builds and am always pleasantly surprised about which people He chooses to use. God rocks! I cannot stress it enough!

• I would've liked to join a church plant. But Pinky's right. You don't move to another church just because you're friends with the lead pastor. So, for now, I'm staying put where I am. Just the past few weeks, God's sprung a few surprises on me. So, my staying at Ortigas is definitely not not exciting.

• I am excited for the planner we are going to be giving away for E412 Awards. We're working really hard at it. I've got a great writer helping me out with copy and I'm working with a great artist, too.

• We started our nomination season for our E412 Awards, happening in November. Here are the many ways you can vote if you know of an outstanding small group leader from Victory Fort.

• Still praying for campus work I can help with. The problem is still the schedule. Young people are what sparks my otherwise lackluster (no lovelife to speak of, haha) heart. They have got me pumped!

• Our Ortigas Warweek team just came from an occular of possible venues for our summer camp. They've been driving around all day long and looks like they've found some great places. Please do pray we get a good deal in this place called Raven Resort in Bataan. Gosh, just thinking about Warweek makes me want to jump up and down.

• My Mom says it's a holiday next, next Friday because of Ramadan. I won't be able to stay home and rest though because I'm bringing Katt to Victory Weekend, plus I have youth service in the evening. Holidays still rock, even if I can't stay home the whole day.

• Lastly, I was listening to an old preaching over at New Spring Church. My coworkers were wondering what was making me laugh so loud. Perry Noble is one funny guy!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Temporary Restraining Order

The funniest thing happened.

Blogger actually closed me down. At least for a couple of days. Imagine me, the Resurgent Blogger, all ready to blog again, something that is not exactly easy to do when you're new (again) at this and are trying to get your rhythm back. Then, you get a note that your blog has been locked for possible violations of terms of agreement. I had no idea what I did wrong! Apparently, my blog was under observation and was being suspected to be a spam blog. Imagine that. A TRO on blogging. Made me laugh last night.

It's Friday today, my absolute favorite day of the week. I love this day for two reasons.

First, because Friday is youth day for me. We hold our youth services every Friday evening at Galleria (one of Manila's favorite malls for the benefit of readers abroad). What a great way to end the work week -- with young people, transformed by the grace of God, jumping around to great music. My discipleship group leader Pinky is preaching today about Esther. We're having a mock beauty pageant to start things off. I'm excited.

Second reason is obviously that Friday signals the end of the week. Although I have to go to work a few hours tomorrow to interview some men who will be getting baptized tomorrow after Victory Weekend, I am excited to get some rest, to get some reading done for the Fall Into Reading challenge and watch Veronica Mars.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007: A Reading Challenge


I took part in a reading challenge early this year also hosted by Katrina. Failed quite miserably. I am still not able to read as much as I want to but I have been consciously going back to my old cycle of reading a chapter or two a night. I've even managed to finish a book in a week. Not bad considering my current schedule.

I am hoping that I will get to move out of my mom's before the end of the year. Without a TV in the house, I am guessing I will be able to read more books. I digress.

Anyway, if you're a book hound like me, please do visit the Fall Into Reading 2007 site and sign up!

Here's my list of books for this new challenge:

1. A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist

I am down to my last 15 pages or so and I am determined to finish it within the week. It's a book I borrowed from Varsha ages ago. Here's the thing. I am dreading the last few pages because I know the part where the lead has to go back home is coming. I'm so feeling bad for her.

2. Becoming a Woman of Spiritual Passion by Donna Morley

Halfway done with this one. It's pretty good. What I like about this book is that Donna Morley uses a lot of true stories to better illustrate the point she's trying to drive at. These stories I am able to use when I minister to the women in my small groups.

3. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

One of the books I own that I have lent more than I've read.

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I am intrigued by all the great reviews this book's gotten. Saw the trailer of the feature film based on this book on Apple trailers last night. Got even more intrigued.

5. A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern

One of my favorite authors. There's just something magical about the way she writes. Tugs at my heart all the time.

6. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My friend Meg told me this book made her literally sick. The bitter ending left her with a fever.

7. The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

I love Joyce Meyer and am curious how good of a fiction writer she is. This one's supposed to be good.

8. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Plot seems gripping. Excited to read it.

9. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I'm done with about a quarter of this book. Pretty good so far. But I am told there are better Picoult novels.

10. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

I have been looking for this book for the past 6 months! Stock finally arrived at Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street. Immediately grabbed a copy and went straight to cashier.


That's it so far. Will update this post as I go along with the challenge. Excited to go home and get started!

Rainy Days & Mondays never get me down

It's Monday and I'm at work.

• It's been a long time since I've worked on a Monday. I appreciate the peace and quiet. Don't get me wrong, I love working with the bunch of people I work with (I share the room with a few pastors, two church secretaries, two worship leaders and our music director.) I just also appreciate silence. Tomorrow when they come in on their first day of the week, I will be coming in on my second day all done with the work I usually don't get to tackle until Tuesday.

• If you've been checking out our website, you know that it's been down all of last week. We encountered some problems with our server. But I assure you that our IT Team is working extra hard to fix the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. And we do hope to have all Victory sites up and running in the next few days.

• Can you believe I've been blogging multiple entries for the past few days since I first started this blog? I hope to keep this up. But so far I'm enjoying. I'm beginning to see why it was so difficult for me to sustain my past blogs. I think it was more the pressure of writing something substantial. While I do hope I am also not rambling purposelessly, I also am beginning to see that this is my personal blog and I can say what I want to say. I don't always have to have mind-blowing thoughts (although I do hope I occasionally say something of substance, or at the very least something that will make you laugh) or mini-preaching messages. This is just me, writing from the heart.

• Okay, it's time for lunch. I'm still spotty, by the way. So consider yourself warned. Please try not to stare at my face so much. Haha. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happening this week

Grey's Anatomy season 4 premieres! I am so excited! Lexie Grey is now an intern at Seattle Grace, George is an intern AGAIN, Burke is officially gone. Here's a preview of what's to come on Thursday:



Ugly Betty comes back with a bang!



Retro TV

While browsing through videos on youtube today, I began to search for old TV shows I used to enjoy as a kid.

Does anyone remember this show called Rags to Riches? I loved, loved, loved this show and seeing some song and dance numbers on youtube brought back so many wonderful memories of watching late night TV on RPN.



I also remember when Nickelodeon used to be on Channel 4. I would have my snack ready at 4pm (or was it 430?) so I could watch Nick on PTV 4. The shows they had then were Mr. Wizard's World (where I learned lots of cool science tricks), Black Beauty, The Campbells, Double Dare, and of course, You Can't Do That on Television, which had hilarious "slime" scenes (Slime would come pouring on a kid's head when he/she says "I don't know"):





And of course, my absolute favorite -- Batibot. I learned so much from this show and I can probably say that this show is responsible for my high grades in Filipino from Grade School all the way to college. The other shows that followed just didn't seem to cut it. Here's a clip that will bring back loads of memories if you were an 80's kid:



Oh, how I miss 80's TV!

This is church

I am officially a fan of Perry Noble and Newspring Church.

Was browsing through their website and came across their Mother's Day message. This one brought me to tears. God is amazing and the way He has orchestrated everything so that His church (NOT the building but the PEOPLE) would shine His light and enfold into loving family those who are alone, lonely, sick, rejected, lost, confused, broken is just brilliant. Goes to show how God is not just kind and merciful. He's THE Genius of all geniuses. (Come to think of it. God plans amazingly well, He executes amazingly well, His creativity is off the charts, and His leadership skills are tops. Gosh, the list will never end. How great is our God!)

This is an awesome picture of church. Watch and weep.

Jesus Christ and the Superstars


This blog entry's title I got from an article they had on Philippine Star (one of the leading dailies in the Philippines) today. It talks about my church (the one that I also work for) and how we have a lot of celebrities (political, those from the entertainment industry, athletes, etc..) with us.

The fact that we have them in church is something I am happy about. Not because they are beautiful, rich, and famous, but because just like you and me, they are people who were lost and needed to found. That they are influential may be considered a bonus, or not.

When you're famous and a Christian, you are more subject to public scrutiny. The industry, the media, and the audience watch closely what you do and say, ready to pounce at every lapse in judgment, every moody outburst, every role you choose to play -- thinking that people who have given their lives to Jesus are not entitled to not be perfect. To be a celebrity and a Christian, I surmise, is difficult. I am glad I can make a mistake and not have to worry about the country (or the world via TFC) finding out by the time the evening news is aired.

And that is why I salute our celebrities who have stepped out in faith and accepted the purpose of shining God's light in the entertainment industry (or political arena, or sports world, or social circles).

However, while we honor and love them as much as we do the people who make up over 90% of our congregation, they do not get special treatment. I think this is also one of the reasons they like coming. When they come to church, they are just people who are seeking God, they are just people who, like everyone else, need other people to care about them and speak into their lives. They are just people like us, sinners who need a Savior.

I'm pasting the article here since philstar.com apparently takes down articles after 3 days.



Jesus Christ & Superstars
HOT FUSS SUNDAE By Paolo Lorenzana
Saturday, September 22, 2007

There’s probably enough dirt here to go around — enough to quash the significance of all those gossip shows, scandal-glorifying blogs, and rumor-fueled conversations that keep the showbiz kiln burning brightly. In such a pristine environment — a church heralding liberation from sin and spiritual sustenance from the imperfections of humanity — was a congregation scattered with the broken, the weary and, interestingly, the famous.

The woman singing from the expansive stage facing a couple hundred people espoused all of the above. Kitchie Nadal, no stranger to the public’s speculation and who’d resonated with the inner pain of female singers she’d once idolized, was now singing a song entitled Grace. This gig demanded no talent fee or attempt at promoting a new EP. She wasn’t even singing for an audience that, despite having its fair share of CD-purchasing youthful-demographic types, was diverse in all respects. No, one of local rock’s most regaled female denizens was singing for God.

Spotlightenment

What has stirred the showbiz community more than Gretchen Barretto’s dalliances, Ruffa Gutierrez’s caustic marital life, or any scandal worthy of Boy Abunda’s two cents, is God. Victory Christian Fellowship, which began in 1984 as a relatively tiny assembly of 150 students in Manila’s U-Belt, has become the leading purveyor of this movement, now evangelizing 24,000 adherents in 11 venues around the metro, including a flagship church located in Bonifacio Global City. Nationally, its church has grown in all regions, and globally, its track record just as impressive — Filipino missionaries setting out as far as Afghanistan to spread Christ’s word. Still, its most visible envoys are its celebrities — sexy ‘80s persona Carmi Martin, a smattering of basketball stars, and MTV alum Donita Rose-Villarama, one of the church’s most stalwart devotees — listening raptly to the preaching on the power of grace after Nadal’s exclusive performance; the “guest list” on this particular Sunday but a fraction of Victory’s stellar army.

With today’s most luminous personalities — namely Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby and Toni Gonzaga — having clung to this rampant conversion, subtly dropping their beliefs in interviews and raising the public’s speculation in a country whose culture is permeated with the sins of its stars and is buttressed by its solemn Catholic backbone, skeptics have been driven to taint Victory and the progression of Born-Again Christianity with the sort of celebrity domination that Scientology has harbored in Hollywood.

Yet in the ministry of Victory, there is no alien ruler or iconic member known for jumping on couches that have made it an easy target of ridicule. And though the church itself resembles any modern corporate structure — with elevators, escalators and high-tech audiovisual slideshows projected in an auditorium used for its regular services — its mission, put simply, is the development of a willing visitor’s personal relationship with Christ rather than the hawkish throttling of a new religion. This, as Victory’s senior pastor Joey Bonifacio declares in a service interspersed with comedic repartee and his enrapturing lilt, is “supernatural grace,” or rather, Christ’s call enabling a person to become what He has created him or her to become, no matter how littered with sin one’s past is.

Saved! No, Really...

Siguro the most attractive thing about all of it is that sinners are allowed in,” says Rica Peralejo, a Mary Magdalene of sorts you might be familiar with from movies like Balahibong Pusa and Dos Ekis, a week after Bonifacio’s preaching on grace. “I lived a hardcore life — everything you can think of — downing 11 glasses of Kurant and staying up ‘til 10 a.m., drugs and sleeping around ‘cause I thought that was the way to be somebody. My weakness was that no one protected me.”

She’d been around the Christian type before and initially reacted as many have — “turned off” by its “corniness”: members’ exhilarated sing-and-clap worship at the beginning of a service; the whole business of admitting you were a sinner and being “saved”; and having to make life all about God while denying herself the hedonistic perks that came with the celebrity lifestyle. She remembers the exact date she was “shaken” by God May 1, 2006 — when, after much resistance, her “weakness” was neutered; Rica finally unshackling herself from her desperation for male adoration and, with discipleship from actress-turned-evangelist Coney Reyes, dedicating her entirety to Him.

Apart from suffering mockery from family and friends, her admission was one that laid her career under a guillotine, paring down her selection of roles as she declined dancing sexily on variety shows and the half-naked laddie mag features — an arduous transition after being known for writhing against a tree in Tatarin rather than baring her soul to the Lord. “People really saw me as stupid. And then a pastor said ‘Don’t worry, nothing can go against the miracle of a changed life’ and I was like, ‘Okay, whatever that means…’ But now, I know it’s real. If you were to come up with your own words, you can’t explain Him. There’s just so much change in me that was impossible.”

As Rica speaks, eyes glazed with childlike wonder, we are sitting at a cafĂ© across the Ateneo de Manila University, where the 26-year-old is a freshman majoring in creative writing; this second life of schooling she considers her “fuel and inspiration” and a decision she counts as one of the many dramatic transformations brought on by her faith. Indeed, that former starlet is buried six feet under but what has sprung forth is a rejuvenated star who admirably balances a demanding education with a morning show and a new teleserye entitled Pangarap na Bituin, a show that illustrates the rocky road showbiz may sometimes lead its stars down.

Boundless doubt to all of this is welcome, of course, and Rica realizes that, especially when the God of Born-Again Christianity seems to have become an all-encompassing manager and publicist in the realm of showbiz, shifting past scandal into salvation and turning sexy stars and drug-dredged lotharios into disciples. Still, Victory will relentlessly continue its fellowship in the hippest way possible, whether to the life-threatened Afghans or star-steeped community, and Rica, like each member of the celebrity stronghold who have sacrificed their careers for the sacrifice of Christ, will continue to keep the faith. “I have my human tendencies but the difference is that I’m well aware of the sinner I am. There’s a spirit in you that tells you that you gotta ask for help. For now, work is such a godly act for me. ‘Cause if you ask me, I don’t want to be in the business. But if I disciple and tell you there’s a God, so what? But He put me somewhere I can serve him best. It’s funny, and you may not believe me, but my job is where I see the hand of God move the most. Every damn day of this business, I see him.”

God as local Tinseltown’s most sincere endorsement may be a bit of a stretch, but maybe all the admission that results decrees a little admiration. It even makes all the dirt we’d sought all along seem irrelevant.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Question

Came across this blog entry by Perry Noble. He asks:

What Would You Be Willing To Attempt For God If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

A few things come to mind:

1. Go to campuses and speak to young women. I have no idea how this will come about but I have been asking around how I can get more involved in campus ministry. I am not sure if I am doing enough but God has always come through for me in terms of opening doors. The last thing I want to do is be overzealous and go ahead of God. I know somewhere down the road the vision He has given me will come to pass. It's scary, nervewracking. But I know I need to step out in faith if this vision is to become reality.

2. Move out. Again I am torn. I don't want to just go for it. On the other hand, there's a fear in me that I am staying home because this is my comfort zone. I guess what I and my two other future housemates are looking for is favor. Then, we will know if this is something God wants us to do now.

If only courage were something that God can just hand to those who need it. But for courage to come, we need to step out and obey what God has called us to do, no matter how frightening, how uncertain, how utterly uncomfortable it may be.

Psalm 34:4 says "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."

I take hold of that truth as I face the fears that come with obeying what God has called me to do.

Weekend Woman


I finally have weekends off.

I've been working for a church in Manila for the past year and a half. That means I have almost always had to work on weekends since most church activities happen during the weekend. I just realized how this has taken a toll on me.

I had days off and sabbath days, of course. But I guess my body is still used to two consecutive days of rest, being able to also get to spend time at home with my family.

It's a real blessing that my boss decided that I'm better off working on Mondays, a more productive day for someone who is in charge of our church's website and podcast.

Ushering in a new season of blogging


I must admit. I am not a very good blogger.

It frustrates me to no end that I cannot seem to keep a blog going.

I start. I stop. I start again. I stop again. I start yet again. I stop yet again.

You get the drift.

But I also have to admit. I am dead set on becoming the best blogger I can be.

Why is this so important to me?

Because it is.

I have a need to write. I have a need to have people read what I write. I have a need to write without having to be my own screening committee. I have the need to be able to write freely.

And so, welcome The Resurgent Blogger.

I hope you'll see me again sometime soon.