Posted by Joseph on Jun 17, 2012 in Personal | 1 comment
Today is Father’s Day. And since my dad is going to be out most the day, flying in with my mom from (another) trip, I’ll honor him here on my blog so he’ll get to see it.
Ever since I was very young I heard comparisons and connections to my dad – sounding like him, looking like him, thinking like him, acting like him, etc. I even fall for it myself. I once saw my a picture of my dad as a toddler and thought it was me. I sometimes joke about this ever-present comparison.
But to be honest, I’ve never resented it. For one reason, I know we’re different people so it’s not like the comparison “robs me of my identity” or any other psychobabble like that. But more importantly, he is such an honorable man, that I’m happy to be compared to him. So thanks Pop…
- Thanks for being fun-loving. It was great growing up in a home where we could have sudden trips to McDo at 11 PM, water balloon fights, or imaginary secret agent adventures.
- Thanks for disciplining us and following what God told you and mom, even when we didn’t like it or other people would comment. Thanks for being firm and even “overly strict.” It works.
- Thanks for working hard and teaching us its value.
- Thanks for always holding us responsible for our actions and never allowing us to pass the buck. I still remember when you called me out on my college grades after sophomore year. I made an excuse about how difficult college was and instead of consoling me, you said that I was making excuses. You were right. Thanks for not tolerating that kind of thing from me.
- Thanks for encouraging us not to be ashamed of scars. I know I kinda overdid it in that department, but at least it breeds fearlessness.
- Thanks for being a teachable person and modeling that for us. Thanks for being willing to use your life experiences – successes and failures – as lessons for us to learn from.
- Thanks for your practical, down-to-earth, cut-through-the-crap, biblically-sound wisdom. You can’t get that kind of thing from books or classes alone. Looking at you, I’d think it’s a combination of your life experiences, your time with God, and this gift He’s given you of being able to see things from a totally different perspective that gives insight to all of us.
- Thanks for teaching me to have faith in a big God who can deliver big things. Until now, I’m challenged when you dream. I always think I’ve already got big dreams until I talk to you, then I leave asking God for more faith so I can dream bigger.
- Thanks for your faith in God during the tough times of our family – whether they’re financial, relational, with our health, with our future, etc. Whenever things get tight for me and Carla now, one of the examples I draw strength from is how you and Mom were so full of faith during the post-Barclay, pre-Issho days.
- Thanks for being an eager learner and teaching us to be the same. One thing that’s keeping you from growing old is your ability to start from scratch in a totally new discipline without any fear. I’ll never forget how you picked up rollerblading at 44 just because you wanted to rollerblade in London one day.
- Thanks for taking us on trips and letting us experience new things with you. I really appreciated going with you to Palawan when I was 4, visiting Bacolod and Iloilo, and Jakarta and Singapore too.
- Thanks for connecting us to quality men and women who we could get advice from. Thanks for encouraging those times we’d meet with them and listening eagerly to our findings. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much this spoke of your security and your love for us. Thanks for that.
- Thanks for the nightly bedtime stories that turned into sales reports, theology lessons, strategic plannings, or preaching preparations. It didn’t matter that you kept us up late. We learned more from that than from school anyway.
- Thanks for being completely blameless and above reproach with money. I know we might be richer now if you took a few shortcuts, but your legacy is an irreplaceable inheritance. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Thanks for never forcing any of us into any particular career or discipline. You allowed us to hear from God, with your advice and counsel of course.
- Thanks for encouraging my growth in ministry when I did decide this was God’s call in my life. Thanks for not letting me do things the easy way. Thanks for being my number one encourager, but also the number one critic of my preachings or leadership decisions. I appreciate and highly value any time we get to debrief and study the past or plan for the future.
- Thanks for always believing in the three of us. You didn’t force us to follow in your footsteps, instead you always said we would be better than you.
- Thank you for teaching me about grace. That story of how you taught it to me has made the rounds in so many of my messages now. It’s always a hit.
- Thanks for loving Mom and showing us how real men raise their families. Thanks for accepting Carla and really making her feel like a daughter.
- Thanks for loving God and being a great example of a live that’s been saved.
I could go keep going too. Thanks for being so easy to honor, Pop. Happy Father’s Day!
The many faces of my dad at our wedding day.
Posted by Joseph on Jun 15, 2012 in Personal, Thoughts | 11 comments
Second brownout in three days. Having no lights where we live can be a pain, because there’s no breeze going through the unit. But it has its advantages too – a mall across the street where you can pass the time.
Unfortunately, one of the things we haven’t fixed so well at home is the emergency lighting plan. So when the lights go out, we’re stumbling along using cellphones as flashlights. The first time, it happened right while I was cooking too. Burnt fingers and spilled food ensued.
But today was different. My genius wife pulled out our headlamps, and suddenly we could function. Cooking, eating, and washing the dishes like the electricity was back. We ate a simple meal, something we just threw together – fried eggs, whole wheat bread, bratwurst, and garlicky mashed potatoes with truffle oil.
with a side of Chippy for that extra kick
I realized something today. It worked because I had light where I was looking. And that’s really the only place where I need the light to be – where I’m looking. I don’t need light behind me, because I’m not looking there. My wife and I took a moment in our meal to sit down and chew on that thought.
Sometimes, I want more light than I need. I know what the next step is, but I wanna see everything lit before I take it. That never happens. We’ll never know EVERYTHING there is to know. Will I have enough money to provide for a family? Will I have success if I quit this job and start on my own? Will God really restore this relationship? We want to know the ending, and until we do, we won’t move.
But we won’t know everything and we don’t need to. What we can do is ask for light for where we are right now – light for where we’re looking. And as we continue walking in faith with Jesus Christ, the Bible promises that we’ll get more light, enough for the next step.
If you don’t recognize Jesus as your Lord and Savior and put your trust in Him completely, then the Bible describes your life as walking in a constant darkness, maybe that’s why you hurt yourself or make wrong decisions. Like us in the first brownout. But in Him there’s light! Not that everything will be lit right away. But there’s enough to get moving in the right direction. As a good friend of mine once reminded me,
“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18
P.S. The lights finally came back a little before midnight.
Posted by Joseph on Jun 13, 2012 in Leadership | 2 comments
Click here for Part 1.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is over. Good game by both Durant and Lebron. And the benches of both teams contributed a lot as well – Chalmers and Haslem, Sefalosha and Fisher. OKC’s bench outscored Miami’s, which became one of the factors toward their win.
Yesterday, I started a blog on how to get a deep bench, and as the Finals is showing, a deep bench makes for winning teams. Here’s the continuation of that blog:
3. Encourage them to develop their strengths.
Every new leader will learn from you, but will not do everything like you either. One of the beauties of a deep bench is the variety of skills that people bring in to enrich the whole team. This is not a threat! Disunity, rebellion, gossip, deception, laziness – these are threats to the team. Difference is not.
Sameness is not a requirement for having unity. In fact, one of my favorite things about the people I work with is seeing how different they are and how their strengths cover my weaknesses. Some leaders make the mistake of automatically recruiting like-minded, like-background, or like-perspective teammates. This isn’t a barkada; it’s a team! You need to work. Amazingly though, when the team is healthy, it can become like a barkada in closeness. Let them run in their strengths. Let them be their own different and weird selves. It makes the whole stronger.
Some of the quirky, strange people I get to work with. Good thing too
4. Develop strong relationships.
You don’t have to be close – knowing each other’s secrets, having secret handshakes, calling each other BFFs – to work together. But if you want to work together effectively, you’ll need to get to know each other better. Most of the people I work with now aren’t exactly childhood playmates, but through the months and years of working together, we’ve become good friends.
I once asked one of my mentors, Pastor Manny Carlos how he developed such strong relationships that ran beyond work and into family and personal life. His network included a lot of great leaders, like my dad, whose strong respect for each other is apparent on every meeting. He said, in his distinctive way, “We do battle together, Joe.” I must’ve looked really confused because he continued, “We pray for each other. We support each other. When one of our family members is sick, we’re there. When someone’s got issues in life, we don’t kick them to the curb. We walk them out of it. It’s not so much a team building gimmick. It’s more a lifestyle of being there for each other. It makes work light.”
5. Grow yourself.
John Maxwell once said something about how our ability to attract skillful, committed people is proportional to our own skill and commitment. If you’re a level 8 leader, you’ll get teammates who are 7′s and below, etc. (I’m not referring to their value as human beings, but what they bring to the working team.) So maybe the best thing we can do to getting better leaders is to become a better leader.
Good people aren’t laying around doing nothing. They’re busy doing stuff they care about. To get them, we need to attract them. What attracts good leaders? Better leaders. I used to begrudge the teams I’d watch other people form, especially when I’d want the same thing and couldn’t get it. I’d make a pitch to people to work with us who wouldn’t be interested. Then I remembered that John Maxwell quote. I was dreaming if I thought these quality men and women would want to work with me. (They have their own call from God also.)
From that point on, I tried to improve as a leader. Good thing I had men and women in my life to help me with that. “You’re too snobbish. You don’t seem to care. Stop interrupting. Don’t roll your eyes. Build with the others. Don’t say things like that anymore. Pray, pray, pray.” God’s got the team you’ll work with. We can only be faithful where we are now and trust Him for results.
6. Grow your team.
So maybe our future team will be great. Like the 1992 Dream Team which is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. (Wow, that was 20 years ago. Bird-Johnson-Malone-O’Neal-Robinson – Now that makes me feel old.) But what about the one we have now?
Much more talent and dominance than this season's entire playoffs
Well, we can always grow them. So many leaders are waiting to be discovered by people who believe in them and won’t give up on them. If we’re looking for set of perfectly skilled demigods to descend from Olympus to join your cause, that’s gonna be a long wait. But if we can look around us at the men and women (or boys and girls) within our reach, and if we’re willing to serve them and invest in them, you could very well have your Dream Team in a few years.
So those are some ideas on how to get your own deep bench. Is your cause worth it?
Posted by Joseph on Jun 13, 2012 in Leadership | 1 comment
One of the things every and every leader wants is a deep bench. That’s a sports metaphor that means having a lot of quality people on your team. Tomorrow Miami and Oklahoma will begin Game 1 for the NBA Finals. Both teams have gotten this far because of their stars, but also because of key bench players coming up big in difficult times.
Please, let's not get divisive about who you're rooting for. We have YouTube Comments sections for that.
A common observation of people regarding our church and movement is the number of leaders on all levels. And people ask how this is done. To be honest, it’s been a priority from the beginning and always remains one as a quick look through the blogs of a number of the leaders will show. We know that new leaders are the lifeblood of an organization. Strategies and models get old, technology can become obsolete, locations change, but leaders – men and women who are skilled, passionate, and united – will be able to hurdle whatever challenge may come.
So how do I get a deep bench? I’ve been thinking about this a lot watching a number of teams in action this past summer. Here are some common points I observed.
1. Make sure you really want one first.
As appealing as it may sound, having a deep bench has its disadvantages. For one, if you’re the leader, you’ll have to give up some of your prime leadership opportunities to give others a chance. It means you won’t be getting credit for things that other people used to applaud you for. During our recent South Luzon Convergence in Los Baños, I watched our National Director, CJ Nunag, lead the whole event, but didn’t get up onstage until he gave announcements to end the event and appreciate the staff. He gave up all the slots to other preachers, leaders, and hosts. Could he have done it? Yes. Would he have been better? Most definitely. But to him, getting a deep bench was worth it.
Some leaders may say they want a deep bench, but when faced with the cost of giving up the limelight, or even getting replaced by better leaders, they resist. So before doing the next points, think about it first. If you’re happy with where you are, then great. If staying small and ineffective doesn’t bother you, then excellent. But if you want your message to get across and impact people, and you’ll do anything to do it, even step aside if necessary, then read on.
2. Give people a chance.
That’s a little obvious after the first point. But it takes a skilled, artful leader to maximize these opportunities everyday. I appreciate people like Pastor Ferdie Cabiling who’s a Jedi Master in discovering these openings. Any speaking, serving, leading opportunity was quickly delegated to new leaders who could benefit from the experience.
If you play video games, think of it like an RPG. For new players, the slightest enemy kill gives experience points (XP) that allow them to level up. When your character is a high level, these basic kills are negligible to your character, but they could be a big jump to a newbie. Don’t be greedy! Share those slots with people and watch your team level up.
You'll need leveled up teammates to take on the bigger challenges.
I’ve got three more points that I’ll post tomorrow. Nothing great is ever accomplished alone, so I hope this will help you go out there and build great teams to do great things!
Posted by Joseph on Jun 12, 2012 in Personal | 2 comments
Saturday was Home Day
My wife sensitively let me sleep in, after the rather exhausting Friday we had. But when I got up we proceeded to take care of some of the junk in the house that we unearthed during renovations. I take joy in throwing things away, just like deleting files on my computer. I hadn’t realized that in just the past two-something years of being married, we’d already accumulated so much junk!
It was fun cleaning up with my wife though. One blessing we have about being married to each other is we seem to have the ability to work well together – we saw it during the wedding planning, on our travels, moving furniture, and now renovating. I think it’s a joy to do things, even difficult work, with people you love. One area we get along with is our ruthlessness with junk, or even not-so-junk. If it wasn’t being used or not about to be used, out it went – given to people who could make better use of it.
It was a great day at home. Getting covered in dust and the consequent terrible allergic reaction was worth it, as our home slowly, but surely, takes shape. See my wife’s blog about it here.
I asked Backblast to guard the workers with his LEGO Landcruiser while we stepped out. If you don't know who he is click the pic.
Yesterday was Church Day
I had the privilege to preach at four services – two in Victory Makati and two in Victory Ortigas. The topic was about the next generation and how God has a plan for them that the older generation should believe in. Even while I was speaking about it, I was so encouraged just to see so many men and women there who lived it. In Makati, there was Pastor Julius Fabregas and Pastor Jojo Henson with their families. We’d been family friends since I was around four years old. Their children have been my friends ever since I was a kid. It’s a pleasure growing up with them and entering new seasons.
Victory Ortigas was more of the same thing. In between the 6 and 8 pm services, I had a quick snack with Pastor Noel Landicho, the lead pastor there. He was my favorite theology teacher when I was a kid – combining sarcastic humor and faithful handling of Scripture. To this day, much of the framework I use in studying the Bible comes from those lessons he taught us 14 years ago, every Tuesday night at our classroom in Pasig.
There were many more too – volunteers who mentored us in high school, families who encouraged me when I started in ministry, and young professionals who serve and give faithfully, even while being excellent in their field. And it was such a beautiful picture of what church is. It’s not a building, not only the church services, but the PEOPLE. People who aren’t perfect, people who struggle through life, people who make mistakes, but are united in their belief in Jesus and their relationships with each other. Whether we were singing songs, listening to preachings, eating meals, or watching Pacquiao get cheated – it was a good day with the church.
Elijah Fabregas rode with us from lunch back to the church service where he promptly engaged me in a laser pointer battle.
Today was Work Day
I work in the national office of LifeBox. Today we had to conduct interviews for a number of applicants who want to be full-time campus missionaries. One day I’ll blog more about that process. But for now, it was just great meeting those men and women. They came from different backgrounds, surmounted many obstacles, and counted the cost – but all of them are excited for the next season. I’m thankful for the chance to meet them, and it’s gonna be great getting to know them more in the future as we
torture train them.
Then we had a meeting with our office team, slightly reduced because others are on leave getting trained or raising their ministry support team. As usual, the meeting was a blast. Even as we concluded a hectic season of work, we were preparing ourselves for the coming school year and what that entailed for everyone. I was so encouraged when none of them shrank back, but each one stepped up and was excited for the new developments.
While the proverb says, “Many hands make light work,” I’ll want to qualify that. Quantity isn’t enough, but quality makes a big difference. Passionate people, excellent people, and people who can get along with others make for light work.
Me with some of our new applicants. Thanks for the pic, Joice! Looking forward to working with you all.
This was pretty random and I didn’t have a main point to everything. But even as I read it again, one does seem to emerge. It’s not all about what you do or where you do it. What makes life worth living is who you get to do it with – who you get to walk along with, who you get to build relationship with, who you get to work with.