Sunday, July 25, 2010

Every Nation 2010 World Conference: We all came together to glorify One Name

Revelation 7:9 says "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

That prophesy actually happened during the EN2010 World Conference last July 22-24. Almost 20,000 people from all nations, from all walks of life gathered together to worship and give praise and honor to the one true God. All three days of the event were filled with joy and heartwarming presence of Jesus Christ. We sang, we jumped and danced for joy, we listened to wonderful stories from people whom Jesus Christ has touched, we made new friends, and most of all, we praise the Holy Name of Jesus.

Like the other delegates of the event, I, too, have my own share of remarkable anecdotes from all those three days that I gathered together to keep in my memory box.

Day 1:

The opening was a blast! There was a parade like that of the United Nations thing where all participants dressed in their national costumes and paraded along the hall. The praise and worship part was powerful and intense. We really jumped for joy!

I love the message that Pastor Grace Aiyedogbon from Nigeria (?) shared about enjoying the banquet of God. "We should not content ourselves on the crumbs. It's time to eat the banquet for God has prepared that for us." If you think you don't deserve a good life because you're not a good person, well wait up. It's time to think clearly and ponder on the promises of God to His people. God wants only the best for all His sons and daughters. It's high time to share and feast on the banquet that God has prepared for you and stop trying to enjoy yourself on the crumbs that this world is offering you. Remember that you are a precious child of God. You have all the right to enjoy His banquet.

After Pastor Grace, Pastor Rice Brooks talked about the importance of discipling the young people. From the trademark Change the Campus Change the World, to Every Nation in our Generation, and now EVERY NATION EVERY CAMPUS. The Every Nation churches from all over the world give high regards to the importance of discipling the students because they will be the one who will pass the message to the next generation. Right now, the Every Nation church has already discipled and touched lives of many people from all 61 countries from all over the world, and we are all praying that it would grow more and more.

The power of prayer and faith really manifested in our eyes that moment when Ptr. Rice was speaking. While he was speaking, a loud noise brought about by a failure in the sound system or from the mic was heard. The tech guy in front came to the rescue and tried to fix the mic of Pastor Rice. After few attempts, the noise still continued. Pastor Rice decided to just lead everyone in prayer and ask God for His intercession in the sound failure that's happening that time. while we're praying, the noise suddenly stopped. It might be a simple thing but yes, we were all in put in awe by God's power and the magnificence of His presence in that conference.

That first day, while I was singing praises to God and listening to these speakers, God put in my heart and mind that faces of my friends: Barry, Pearl, Nicole, Bheck, and Franco. The message was clear: I need to reach out to them and share with them the news about Jesus. I don't know how to do it especially that the first three people on the list knew me from way back then as a bad and naughty girl. I, however, believe in the strength that God will put in my heart for me to do this mission. I know God will lead me through this mission.

That day ended wonderfully. That kept us excited for the next day of the conference.

Day 2:

CNN 2009 Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida shared his story with us and how he struggled just to be able to provide education to the less privileged kids in his province in Cavite. I can't help but cry with his story. He was less privileged himself, too, and yet, he has that heart to serve other people. He didn't want other unfortunate kids to experience what he had experienced and the selfless him really did everything to provide knowledge and understanding to these kids. What an inspiration! And the even greater thing about Efren Penaflorida is that he is doing all these to give glory and honor to God!

We were also privileged to hear the inspiring message of Pastor Yesuparam from India who shared his story on how he came to know Jesus despite being in a country of Hindu believers. The guy's so humble and full of spirit of God while he was talking and I was really touched at how he even cried while he was uttering the words: TILL THE LAST BREATHE OF MY LIFE, I WILL BELIEVE IN YOU JESUS!" It was so powerful and heartwarming. I was really inspired with his faith. He even shared a story when he was preaching about Jesus to some people and they just threw stones at him because they don't want to believe what he's talking. He felt and saw blood coming from his forehead and instead of getting mad and losing heart, he was even glad and cheered for God in even more. He even shouted: THIS BLOOD IS FOR MY JESUS!

During the evening session, we were delighted, amazed, and inspired by the presence of a pastor from China whom we should not mention the name for some security reason. As you well know, China is still not that open with the thought of Jesus and Christianity and there are many Christians who were being persecuted there. That Chinese Pastor that we had for our speaker that day is an underground pastor. He preached about Jesus and the Gospel in secret places and it is really amazing to get to know people like him--doing the mission that God put in their hearts despite the danger. I hope I could be like him, too--to be able to speak about Jesus, stand up for Him, and share His gospel to other people. I personally liked his message on doing God's business: WHEN YOU ARE BUSY TAKING CARE OF GOD'S BUSINESS, GOD IS BUSY TAKING CARE OF YOUR BUSINESS, TOO."
It was amazing to know that this man came to know Jesus just because he got caught under one roof with Pastor Jonathan Bocobo of VCF one rainy day in China. Since then Pastor Jonathan started inviting him over a meal at McDonalds, which he gladly accepted because back then, eating at McDonalds was a luxury and you are cool when you're seen drinking coke inside a McDonald's cup. This guy's obedience might have started out as shallow as that but nonetheless, God has wonderful plans for him that He talked to him one day inside the hotel room through the VCD tape that Pastor Jonathan showed him. And since then, he was never the same again.

The famous singer of Hillsong Darlen Zsech also joined us in the EN2010 event and we were honored to hear her messages about Jesus and how we could glorify God in the gifts that He has blessed us with. In her case, she used her talent in music to honor God. For her, MUSIC IS CREATED TO CARRY THE PRESENCE, THE FRAGRANCE OF GOD. I was moved with her message: WE WERE NOT DESIGNED TO RECEIVE GLORY BUT WE WERE DEIGNED TO GIVE GLORY. Very true, indeed.

And of course, how can we forget one of the special highlights of the night? The Every Nation church set a world record by singing Amazing Grace in 50 languages! Indeed, God's presence is powerful and wonderful. We were all filled with His love and presence while we sang Amazing Grace. I felt really blessed to be part of that wonderful moment!

On that second day, God put in my heart a picture of our sick neighbor Ate Marlen. This lady is a known gossiper in our place. Right now, she's very sick and thin and she just came out from the hospital. I've long wanting to talk to her and invite her over to Victory but whenever I sit next to her, I just can't find the right words to start the conversation. I am praying to God that He provide me with the strength that i need and the words that I need to talk to Ate Marlen and share with her the good news about Jesus.

Day 3:

It's a volunteer day for me! I am not contented to just being a regular participant of the EN event. I want to literally really take part and have a role in the event so I decided to volunteer in the Kids' Church. Our call time was 11am so I only got to experience the worship fever in the morning session. I might have missed out on the wonderful happenings on the 3rd day of the event but I was blessed to have gained new friends and meet new people in the Kids Ministry. Plus, the kids were all cute and we had fun taking care of them while their parents were inside the main service hall. The appreciation and the "thank you's" that their parents gave us were like music to our ears:-)

Moreover, I was also able to listen to the stories of my fellow volunteer, Ate Lina, who also enlightened my heart on the different worries I have right now. It's always nice to talk to a fellow believer of Christ who'd already experienced a lot of things in life.

It was indeed, one of the greatest three days of my life. I was able to bond with other members of our church, meet new people, gained new friends, and most of all, experience the wonderful presence of God. I could really imagine Jesus Christ smiling from Heaven while we were all singing, dancing, and praising His Mighty Name. He is the only One True King that we should adore!

More than a year ago, I made a very important decision in my life, and that is to follow Jesus with all my heart. Regardless of what my family will say and think or all the other people around me, I followed my heart and decided to start a new journey with Jesus Christ. I never regret making that decision because that one move created a big and wonderful change in my life. I am now a new creation because Jesus Christ found me and He chose me to be one of His ambassadors. Moreover, I thank Him for making me part of the Every Nation family:-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Note to Father God to fix issues with Voldemort.

Dear Father God,

You are really confusing me right now. I know I prayed to you last night that I hope you will send me someone as good and as loving as Oliver one of these days, but I also understand that I really need to resolve some issues within me first before you will send me that someone. When I opened the Bible, the first words that I saw was "DO NOT COVET," which immediately put that Voldemort guy in the animated thoughts of my mind. Oh well, perhaps it's because he's the only guy I know I'm quite attracted with who already has someone special. Before I sleep, Lord you know very well that it was Oliver I was thinking about so I am just a little amazed that it was that Voldemort guy I dreamed about last night. Lord, I swear that I didn't think of him that much anymore, at least not as much as I used to a couple of weeks ago. I was even proud of myself that i was able to let my mind win over my heart again. We seldom talk online, as well, since I told him that I would prefer him emailing me na lang my writing projects. I really decided to put a stop to all this hullabaloos about him. And I meant that. Seriously. So I was really surprised to see him in my dream again.

AGAIN. Because when I checked on his FB page this afternoon and saw one of his photos, I remembered the face of the guy in my previous dream about the ring which i don't want to accept because I don't want to let go of the ring that Oliver gave to me. I'd been struck with a slice of realization that I was just denying to myself and that I already know from the moment I woke up that it was that Voldemort guy in that dream about the ring and it was his sad face that i saw.

Dear Lord, why does it have to be this way, to feel this way. I mean, I am more than okay now, or at least before that second dream occurred. I am even certain that I don't want to do anything with him anymore. I don't know if it was YOU or perhaps that side of me who always look for signs that I seem to always see his name everywhere I look, especially when I open the Bible. of all the names in the Bible, why do I have to see his name over and over again. Alright, given the fact that his name is really prominent in the Bible and in the story of this world, but.......I don't know! Or perhaps, I'm just being too praning? Or another perhaps, it's just an after-effect of watching Becoming Jane?

Lord, please, help me get out of this dilemma. I know this is part of your plan for me and this confusion is one of your ways for me to test my patience and my willpower against temptation. I just pray Lord that you make me stronger and may You bless me with a discerning mind and heart so I could distinguish Your voice from that of the devil's or from the voice coming from my heart's desires. I only give my trust to You for I know that you will take care of my heart.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

I am giving my pen to the Best Author of Life.

"Give your pen to God and allow Him to write your life story and let it be a proof of His love and compassion for His children."

The credits for the inspiring words above goes to our church Pastor Ado Bernardo who preached in the morning service at VCF Malate today. His preaching and the string of words were just so powerful I couldn't afford to not blog about it.

As a Christian, I've long submitted my life to God. I know I always say that God will always be on top of my every decisions. I must admit, however, that there were times when I seem to set God aside and just went on with my heart's desire without earnestly asking for His guidance. Some on purpose, some just being the unmindful and careless me. And yes, I know that by being this way, I am not fulfilling my duty as a daughter of God. I am hurting HIm in ways I could not imagine. I am neglecting His purpose and His will for my life which I know is too painful to bear if you are a parent or if you care for someone so much.

Good thing about being a born again Christian, though, I already have knowledge about these things. Since the time I welcomed God in my life and in my heart, I know that God should be the center of all my actions, my thoughts, and even my words. I may have failed in a number of moments in my life because I'm still a work in progress, but still, I have this conviction of God's glorious role in my life my role in His Kingdom as well.

The desires of my heart which I pursued without seeking for God's approval just gave me failures and disappointments. The decisions I made without totally listening to God's voice brought me twinges and despair. The moments of despair for those decisions made not centered on God were special moments for me to realize that God so love me that He wants me to live a wonderful and happy life, but I am just too stubborn to follow His will.

God has a various ways of showing us His love and concern, and sometimes, we are just too self-centered or perhaps too numb brought about by worldly pleasures that we don't seem to feel His love.

Today, I once again lifted my hopes and my heart's desires to God. I asked for forgiveness for those times that I seemed to disregard His will. There is only one God and I vow never to follow again the scheming god within me. For now until forever, I will only entrust my life to the hands of God and I will let Him write my story the way He wants it to be. My own pen will run out of ink and could be broken easily but God's plans and His words will endure forever.

Becoming Jane

I hope my good friend Jane won't hate me if I tell her I've watched Becoming Jane last night. Anyway, this movie is really worth watching over and over again so I could still watch it with her anytime she wants:-) Right jane?

I am just so fascinated with the story of Jane Austen. She is such an amazing woman. I've always loved her for being the great authoress that she is but I admire her even more for being so selfless to let go of her one true love for the sake of a number of mouths to feed.

The story of Ms. Austen and Mr. Tom Lefroy is something you don't often see everyday. It is some kind of everlasting and goes beyond the you-and-me-against-the-world concept of love. I was so deeply touched when after many years of not seeing each other, after many events that happened along the way--including the arranged marriage of Mr.Lefroy to another woman, they still felt the fire of their undying love for each other. And to Ms. Austen's surprise, Mr. Lefroy named his daughter after Ms. Austen.

Ms. Austen didn't get to marry and just chose to spend the rest of her life weaving words of romance to spread the power of love to the rest of the world. She proved that being single doesn't mean you are less of a person because you can be whole if you just chose to be. How wonderful is it for a woman who weren't given the chance to experience the happy-ever-after in the world of love to be able to write love stories which all ends in a happy-ever-after note. Such an amazing woman with a remarkable talent that the lovers of creatively weaved words from across many generations happily endured and smiled with.

Before Women Had Wings

I just finished reading the award-winning novel of Connie May Fowler, Before Women Had Wings, last night. I am just so thankful that I found this book among the many piles of good reads in Book Sale and equally grateful that I didn't let go of it. It's such a nice read. I am not really one for a book critique but I know how to distinguish a good book from a not-so-good one. And this one truly deserves a 5 out of 5 stars.

Before Women Had Wings is a story of A nine-year-old girl named Avocet Abigail Jackson, and her family's struggle towards normalcy. Bird, as she is fondly called, is a small town girl growing up in rural Florida in the 1960's. She is daughter to alcoholic and physically abusive parents.She has a sister Phoebe and half-brother Hans whom she loves very much. Her father killed himself after hiring someone to beat her mother. After her father was buried, Bird's mom decided that they will transfer to other town and start a new life there. Since they don't have enough money, Bird's mom accepted the offer of the little motel owner in Tampa, Florida, for them to stay in the small, dumpy trailer of the motel and her mom will work as bookkeeper so she could pay for the rent. Her mother became even more sober and she couldn't seem to accept the fact that she's left to care and raise her two daughters that's why she kept blaming them for the death of their father, especially Bird. The little girl find solace in Jesus and she even fantasized her as her own boyfriend. Then she met Ms. Zora, a mysterious black woman who lives alone in a cottage near Bird's school and comes to teach the little girl about dignity and her own capacity for forgiveness. Her mother disapproves of her being friends with Ms. Zora that's why she kept her friendship with her in secret. In the end, it was Ms. Zora who helped Bird's mom step up and do something to bring harmony and love back to her family again. Despite of all the physical, emotional, and mental pains that her mom caused Bird, she realized that she still loves her mom and that she wouldn't want any other person to be her mom than her.

I love how this book could really make you hang on for hope. It is indeed an amazing tale of dignity and forgiveness. This is a good read especially for those who are fond of family stories--the struggles towards happiness. And the best part of it all, Connie May Fowler has a very unique and artsy way of stitching words together to create a powerful impact in the heart of the reader. Her words may be ordinary but the way she put them together was way beyond imagination. I really fell deeply in love with this book:-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

I am friends with Mother Earth:-)

My 13-year-old cousin Bea just flattered me. She picked me from among her friends in Facebook as a person who really loves the environment! Weepeee!

Alright, that seems flimsy for some, but for me, that means a lot. Hey people! In this present time when only a few members of the human race sincerely care for the environment, it's an honor that some people really credit you for that. There was also one time when my 6-year-old cousin Chloe asked my mom how am I related to Mother Earth because I always tell them that Mother Earth would be hurt if they will not throw their trashes in the trash bin. I love it that my cousins think of me as Mother Earth's special friend because they think I so love and care about the environment:-)

To be honest, I've always have this special connection with Mother Earth. It's like I could feel her sadness whenever I see people carelessly throwing their litters anywhere they want or vehicles emitting air-polluting chemicals, and other inconsiderate acts of the human race towards her.

I must admit, back then, I was also as careless and inconsiderate as the rest of the people in this planet. I would throw my candy wrappers on the floor, on the streets, or anywhere but not in the trash can. I used to not care about wasting paper over nonsensical stuff. I used to be very insensitive of Mother Earth's feelings. And I regret it so much. It actually felt like I was hurting my mom with harsh words or actions. I know in my heart I love Mother Earth, i love and appreciate the nature but I just can't seem to discipline myself from throwing garbages anywhere.

I don't know when did I actually start being a full-time advocate of clean environment. When i say full-time, it means I don't just feel my love for the nature but I also do something to show her my love. One thing's for sure, I just tried practicing the throwing of my litters on the trash bin for a day. After that day, it felt good so I continued doing that the following day, and the rest is history. Let's just say the adage PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT worked best for me in this kind of quest.

Now, i'm proud to say that I never ever throw any kinds of litter on the floor or on the streets or anywhere. I would keep that trash until i could see a garbage can to throw it. I'm also in the process of passing this kind of love for Mother Earth to my cousins, my nieces and nephews, and my little students. I always tell them to throw their trash in the garbage can or keep it until they could see one trash bin where they could throw that. I always tell them stories about nature and the environment so they would have a clear view of how nice a clean environment is. I bring my cousins to places where there are many trees and green fields so they could appreciate the beauty of nature.

This may not be a huge act but I know for sure that this simple thing would create a huge difference in how these young people would treat the environment. Little by little, I could see the changes in them. Now, they would really throw their trashes on the garbage can even if i'm not around. As they grow old, I know for sure this simple legacy will not depart from their hearts and minds. Who knows, maybe in time, they will be the one to do the Mother-nature-story-telling to their younger cousins or kids. I believe it's just a matter of starting it so the rest will follow.

My hope is that the rest of the human race would soon learn to really love and appreciate the nature--that there'll be no more illegal logging, dynamite fishing activities, and all the other activities that would really hurt and destroy the environment. I know ours isn't yet a hopeless case. As long as there's God who could always hear our prayers, everything will be possible.

This is our home. Let's all do our share in keeping it clean and green:-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Note For You, Sent to Heaven with Love:-)

I dreamed about you again last night. Actually, I am not sure if it was you or someone else but I know you were part of that dream. I was walking on the street, holding hands with a man whom I had a very vague vision of. In my dream, that man I believed is my boyfriend. He told me that he wants to give me a ring. However, he asked me to remove first the ring I'm currently wearing, which was the ring you were supposed to give me before you died. I told the guy in my dream that I can't afford to remove that ring from my finger because it would mean I'm already removing you completely from my life. I saw the sad expression from that guy's face. He didn't say a word, he held my hand, and just looked at me. His eyes looked so sad. I kissed him, said sorry, and I told him that I hope he could understand that I just can't completely forget you or clear away all the remarkable things you've left me. The guy didn't answer me. I felt so sorry for him and I felt in pain seeing the sad look on his face.

And then I woke up. I cuddled the pillow next to me. I'm not sure what my dream really meant but I really felt sad when I woke up. I felt really sorry for that guy in my dream. Could it be that I'd already met that guy whom God chose for me to share the rest of my life with, but I'm just too blind or too stubborn to notice him? Or perhaps God wants me to realize through my dream that He already wants me to meet that guy but I just need to really let go of you completely?

Then I met your mom this afternoon. I gave her my birthday gift for her and Papa Turing. She looks more at peace now. Perhaps it's because she's having a great time playing with your cute pamangkins. We had a few chat since I was also in a rush 'cause I still have a meeting to attend in the church. After a few talks, I kissed her goodbye. A few moments after we parted ways, i received a text from her. She told me she's so happy whenever she sees me and that she could always see you in me. She said she really believes that you are very happy now wherever you are.

You know, if only I could choose, I would really want to spend the rest of my life with you and only you. I wouldn't want anybody else if only you are here. Sadly, our story's forever happened and ended too soon.

But I know i need to be happy again. I know I need to fall in love again. if only i could stop my heart so i could only love you till the last days of my life.

But you know very well I really want to have my own family. I always dream of a wonderful and romantic wedding. I want kids. And I can't do it if I will forever stop myself from falling for a man just because I don't want to be unfaithful to you and our memories. I know it's absurd but that's what I'm feeling every time I feel something for a certain guy.

I stopped wearing the necklace you gave me. Well, primary reason was it's becoming rusty already. And yes, I just feel that I really need to make a move or at least take mini-steps to let you go and move on. I guess I'll start from that and then who knows what I could afford to do next. One thing I know, no matter what happens, you'll always have a very special place in my heart. You'll always be here and I'll always love you. If I'm bound to really fall in love again, I'll just leave everything to God. He will be the one to lead me to the right way.