Posted by Joseph on May 15, 2013 in Thoughts | 1 comment
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2
The elections are over. The results have been counted. We have a new crop of leaders for some positions of government. I don’t know of anyone yet who saw all of their senatorial choices win. Most, including me, have some (or a few) who won and some (or many) who lost.
- If you voted, good job. Thank you for caring enough to do that. I saw a few (defensive?) posts of people saying that they still love the Philippines even though they didn’t exercise their right to vote. But with the great efforts the COMELEC has made (even though there are still significant screw-ups), there is less and less of an excuse. Basically, if you can get concert tickets, premiere tickets to the showing of Iron Man, or your school clearance, then you can probably vote. So congratulations to all of us who did.
- Now the votes have been counted and winners have been decided. It’s time for us to respect and submit to whoever is sitting there. The whole point of a democracy is we all agree to abide with the decision of the majority. It’s not, “Well, that’s not what I want so I’m going to disengage from the process.” That’s like those kids who lose at board games and kick the board over. As good citizens, it’s our role to pray for our leaders, support them, and give constructive feedback. Like a good friend of mine said, “There’s a difference between criticizing and bullying.”
- We don’t have to wait for the next election to do something for the country. We can be active today! Many people have complained about how the poor in this country voted, stating the woes of how easy it is to buy their votes. I agree that it is short sighted thinking, but I’ve also never been in the situation where P500 is the difference between life and death. I think I would be extremely “short-sighted” too if I was watching my family go hungry.
- What if we help the greatest demographic of our country today by giving what we can to lift people out of poverty? One of our pastors sponsored the daughter of their maid to fix her cross-eye. Then they helped her get a scholarship through Real Life Foundation and now she’s a college graduate and will get a good job. I grew up with my parents actively concerned for our helper and drivers’ education and family’s well-fare, even sponsoring their distance education so they could get a diploma. Bo Sanchez has blogged about how he has helped his maids form an investment portfolio. Earlier this year, my wife and I went through all of our things and gave away most of my clothes and plenty of school books to our helper and driver for their children’s education. My in-laws Paula and Charlie are active in Diksyonaryo Atbp and are constantly drumming up support for various causes. My brother, David, works two jobs, but has spent huge amounts of his time working with Habitat for Humanity, Center for Community Transformation, and Real Life Foundation. Everyone has needs and problems. We all could be using the time and money to better our own lives a little bit more. But we all can do something as well. The point isn’t to compare with one another but to do our part. Just like one vote counts, your life and what you do with it counts.
So to the new officials, congratulations and God be with you. We hope that you will serve with integrity, excellence, and as much diligence as you showed while campaigning. (Haha, like they’ll get to read this.)
And to the rest of us ordinary people, great work on the voting. Now let’s continue to do what we can to serve our country and fellow Filipinos.
Posted by Joseph on May 10, 2013 in Personal | 1 comment
Just thought I’d share about some highlights from this week. It had its share of difficulty and challenges, some personal, some with friends, and some at work. But God is good! Here is the week of unexpected treats.
- Hang out with my blockmates. I blogged about this here. It was really great catching up with each other and seeing how we all were doing.
- Cooking! I am a very enthusiastic, untrained, unskilled, barely adequate to read a recipe cook. But I love doing it. It’s one of my favorite de-stressers. This week I tried a new recipe for a 40 clove garlic chicken stew. It was very simple, inexpensive, lasted for three meals, and it produced 40 cloves of softened, spreadable garlic that I put in my rice. Perfect!
- Carla coming home. My wife was away the whole day Saturday and Monday and I got a tiny picture of what my life would be like without her. And I don’t like it. It was great having her home again. I even got to cook with tofu for the first time for her dinner.
- Talking with people and seeing them get it. – Whether it was a couple who are preparing for marriage or some of the guys in my discipleship group, one of the highlights of my week is always seeing people “get it.” They come away knowing God more and better prepared to face life. I love it.
- Victory Group Leaders. – Victory Fort had an equipping meeting for hundreds of Victory group leaders last Wednesday. Pastor Paolo did an amazing job teaching us. I was particularly excited to be there with four leaders that I’m “raising up” to take the lead in our group. I put quotes around “raising up” because really these men are strong in the faith already, I’m just another link in the chain of their development. I’m excited for them!
That's us at the round table with the people.
- Ignite Updates. – Thursday was full of great meetings and updates for Ignite! Whether it was the news of more internationals coming to the conference, the committee meeting where the hardworking staff are really bringing everything together, the meeting with the preachers (and I am sooo excited for the messages they’ll share), or a number of small conversations full of promises of different goodies and treats all designed to help students understand the Bible better and be equipped to Honor God and Make Disciples. I can’t wait!
- Our campus ministry team. Thursday night ended with a dinner celebrating a fruitful school year of making disciples on campus at at Victory Fort. We saw videos sharing testimonies of men and women who were changed. And we heard plans for the future. There were pastors, campus missionaries, volunteers, teachers who partner with us, and ministry partners who support us financially. I’ll blog more about this next time. But for now, I’ll just say it was so encouraging to see a roomful of people from different background and careers, united in their passion to reach students.
- Unexpected Vacation. And now it’s Friday. Some people from a resort asked Carla to blog about their resort and they gave us a free stay for the weekend. I’m thankful for this surprise gift. So I’m ending this blog now to spend more time with my date. See ya!
Every time I see this girl, I think God must really love me.
Last Monday I got to hang out with a couple of friends from my university days. Miguel, Daimler, and I were blockmates in Political Science. We are also some of the few in our course who didn’t go into law school.
But our friendship was actually strange because we couldn’t be more different.
You're free to guess which one was mine, but if you pick the middle one I don't know you.
- One of us played basketball regularly. The other played like a ballet dancer. And the other didn’t play at all.
- One of us took Arnis for P.E. The dancer was the only straight guy in his jazz dancing class. And one of us didn’t take P.E. at all because he was a member of the shooting varsity.
- One drove a blue hatchback car with HUGE speakers. One drove a white Nissan car that was pretty old. While one had an eight year old Tamaraw FX that he constantly locked himself out of.
But for all of our differences we were united by a common passion: we were willing to settle for mediocre grades as long as we could play Counterstrike. We would cut class, rank each other, and brag about our kills. Blueskies along Katipunan was our favorite spot.
Daimler (nickname: Chamba) was the best, always playing as a sniper. Miguel (nickname: Buonciko) would have bright spots from time to time, especially with the carbine. While I (nickname: Batman) would manage not to make too much of a fool of myself, except at Mansion where I would occasionally be excellent. Our common passion for Counterstrike helped build a friendship.
But last Monday, as we talked, I was amazed and thankful for our friendship. Still different as ever, we always had three different approaches to life, different areas of expertise, and different interests. But this time there’s a better common passion. Now, we’re all followers of Jesus.
When I met Miguel and Daimler on May 2000, they didn’t believe in Jesus yet. But over time, God brought about experiences in their lives that led them to faith in Him. Miguel came to know Jesus during the summer vacation after our first year. He attended our youth service, heard the Gospel, and believed in Jesus that day. Two years later, Daimler had an encounter with Jesus at a church retreat.
Our different lives have had ups and downs. Hardly a perfect journey, instead they’ve been full of bumps, mistakes, and failings. But Jesus has been faithful. And last Monday was an amazing moment for me. I’m so thankful for these two guys – their friendship, the advice they give, how steady they’ve been – but to be able to talk with them about faith stuff is just amazing.
So if you’re praying for your classmates or your family members to come to know Jesus:
- Don’t stop praying. God wants them saved more than we do. He will do it.
- Don’t stop sharing. You never know what God will use. You never know what invitation will be accepted. Just obey.
- Don’t stop believing. (Did you sing that in your head?) Don’t let the current situation change what you know about God. He will do what He promised.
There’s a book I like by Seth Godin titled Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? It’s about providing real value in any team or organization so that you become indispensable. I learned a lot from the book and I refer to people constantly.
But the reverse question occurred to me today. ARE YOU DISPENSABLE?
Yes, I agree that you want to work hard and be excellent at what you do so that you provide a valuable service to others. But if you’re trying to build something greater than yourself the goal should be more than being indispensable. Because if you’re indispensable, what happens when you INEVITABLY have to leave? Does everything collapse around your departure? Is that success?
A friend of mine recounted recently how he realized he had a wrong mindset when he was assigned a project with one company that he had learned and mastered completely but failed to teach to anyone else. When he was reassigned to another company, he watched his pet project fail as the people who took it over did not know it as well as he did. He was indispensable. But his project failed and all the earlier time spent on it was wasted. Is that success?
Steve Jobs died and Tim Cook has taken over. At this point, Apple under his administration has not wowed the world at the level that it did under Jobs. Steve Jobs seems indispensable now. But if the company fails after he’s gone, that doesn’t mean much does it? Is this success? We’re about to find out.
Last Saturday, at a gathering of our discipleship group leaders at Victory Fort, we were shown a video of a woman who started one discipleship group which eventually grew to 10 discipleship groups. Since then, she’s moved out of the group, keeping the relationships but letting the next in line people lead. It’s gotten bigger without her. She wasn’t indispensable. She built something that went beyond her. That’s success.
Dan Monterde, one of our campus directors, approached me last year looking for a new responsibility. He had grown our campus ministry in Metro East from five people to over a thousand. But at that point, he felt that Jeff Dacumos, the next-in-line, could lead just as well if not better than him. So he stepped down, turned it over to Jeff, and now serves in a number of other capacities. He built something that the next generation could run with. That’s success.
Robert Gonzalez, another one of our campus directors, is a similar story. Just this year, he stepped down from leading his large team of campus missionaries to focus on preaching and discipling young people. With the agreement of yet another veteran, Patrick Mercado, he turned the reins over to Brian Sebastian – a young man he led to Jesus personally and is fifteen years younger than him. Already we’re getting great feedback on Brian’s leadership. But what struck me most was a conversation with Robert where he shared his high hopes for Brian. Robert raised up a new leader who now works with him. That’s success.
So in this era of social-networking, which is often little more than self-promotion. What’s your definition of success? Does it live and die with you? Or will it go beyond you? Will you give your very best in your current season seeing success and growth, then turn it over to those who come after to see them take it higher and farther than you?
Are you dispensable?