Posted by Joseph on Aug 31, 2012 in Formspring Friday | 1 comment
Here’s the second edition of Formspring Friday. Like last week’s post, I’m taking the time to answer some Formspring questions here. You can ask the questions at this page. And away we go!
- How would you unwind after a busy and hectic week? Besides bonding with the Christian community?
I’m sorry to say that bonding with the Christian community wasn’t my first instinct. Haha! I was thinking sleeping well, spending time with my wife, and spending time reading the Bible and praying. I also like listening to music like worship songs that match my mood.
When I’m feeling playful I really enjoy listening to musicals. But I don’t like unwinding for too long because I get itchy to get back to work too!
- If you’ll be given the chance to minister outside the Philippines, where would that be?
I’ve always wanted to visit Mongolia because I hear it looks magical there. Anywhere I haven’t been would be fun and visiting friends in places I’ve visited would be nice also. As long as it’s a worthwhile ministry trip and not just an outing, meaning a chance to really meet and spend time with people and be a witness to them.
From cleaning bathrooms to meeting heroes - all kinds of whos and whats on these ministry trips
- Pastor Joe, what’s your take on doing-what-you-love vs the parents. This could be a dangerous hobby, a course you want to take for undergrad, etc. Thanks!
Great question! I think this all depends on where you are in life. Are you a child? Meaning, do you live under your parents’ roof, eat their food, drink their water, use their internet, and receive money from them for going to school which they pay for?
If yes, then you obey them. You can appeal their decisions but they have the final say.
If you’re a grown-up, meaning you work and provide for yourself, then you can make your own choices. But I’d be careful about going against the wisdom of your parents, because God put them in your life for a reason. Even non-Christian parents. The only time I’d contradict them is if they’re going against a higher authority, like the government or God. (He’s kinda the highest, you know.)
Examples: When I was a university student I had a chance to go to Singapore with my younger brother, David. We were gonna work with this NGO and stay in a house all on our own. We were so excited. But then the SARS outbreak happened, with Singapore being one of the most heavily affected. My parents did not let us go. I appealed, complained, and quoted, “To live is Christ and to die is gain” to them. But they stayed firm, so we submitted willingly.
But since I started working and supporting myself, I’ve made decisions that they didn’t agree with initially. Those decisions weren’t made lightly. I made one million percent sure it was right (got advice, prayed about it, checked my own intentions and motives) and I believed they’d come around eventually. And they did.
- bakit ang lakas ng dating ng mga youth / batang pastor?
I don’t know. Maybe they’re younger and have a lot of energy? This can be positive because it’s helpful for reaching students. This can be negative when it’s insensitive to others. God’s sanctifying process through time should fix that.
Another theory is not all youth pastors are like that (they aren’t) and you’re drawing a conclusion based on a lopsided perspective but feel safe doing so because of the anonymity this venue provides. Oh well, if that helps you then great. Either or both of those answers could be right.
- What will you do if your leader is difficult? If he doesn’t value people and treat them as mere subjects..do you tell higher authorities..like another accountable leader..what if even if you talk to that leader he is so stubborn to listen to his flocks?
No leader is perfect for sure. So they’ll all make mistakes, have blindspots, and bad habits. I know this because I’m a leader and I do all that. And though I haven’t met all leaders in the world ever (unlike the questioner above who seems to have met all youth pastors in the world ever. Haha! Okay, enough), I’m pretty sure your human leader (at work, school, sports, the army, church, government, etc) has failed and will fail you again.
So what do we do when it happens? Matthew 18:15 says we should talk to them straight and in private. This gives the leader a chance to admit his/her mistake and repent. If you haven’t done this, then don’t go around complaining about it to everyone.
If you don’t have the compassion to speak the truth lovingly and directly, then you don’t have the right to complain.
After that, if he/she doesn’t listen the rest of the text outlines what to do next. (bring a witness, bring more witnesses, etc) And if your leader still doesn’t listen, I’d think hard if I still want to follow him/her.
Googled "correcting your leader" and I got one article on leadership, one article on Christian correction, one Amazon book, and two articles on dogs. Not very helpful
- Hi Pastor Joseph..where can I get a copy of your latest podcasts?
Depends where I’m speaking that week. Like today I’ll be in That Friday Thing in Victory Fort so you can download my preaching there when it’s done. Last week, I was in Cabanatuan. Two weeks before that I was in Eaglepoint Damansara in Malaysia. Etc, etc… I thought about collecting them all in this site, but decided against it.
- hi pastor…your love story with carla really inspires people..can you give advice on how can you accept a woman’s past? i didnt know my gf past & she confessed to me that she had sexual relationship with her ex bf and it made me feel bad.. thanks pstr!
I like this question for many reasons.
One, I’ve felt many times that some people have been itching to ask it, but feel too shy to do so. I appreciate their courtesy, but we honestly don’t mind.
Two, my wife doesn’t mind either. In fact, she enjoys talking about that because of #3.
Three, it’s at the heart of our love story and that’s how God let me see her the way He does.
See, it all boiled down to this: is the Bible true when it says, “If anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation. The old has gone the new has come.” Now Carla is in Christ. And I could see the changes in her life so clearly. It didn’t matter what had happened before. That wasn’t her. That was the old, sinful, addicted nature. But in Christ, she’s beautiful, holy, pure, kind, loving, etc. I could see all that in her and I couldn’t unsee it.
Many people didn’t understand right away, but that was fine with me. I knew that God’s work in her life would be evident soon enough and then they’d understand. In the meantime, I count myself lucky that God’s given me such a beautiful masterpiece to call my very own.
That’s it! If you wanna ask, click here. Otherwise, click anywhere else.
Posted by Joseph on Aug 29, 2012 in Being Married | 1 comment
I’m resuming my family mini-series which featured:
The Family that MMA’s Together and Cutting Through the Issues
This one is about when you fight, which is inevitable. I blogged this before here. But this one is more developed.
My dad used to tell me, “Joseph, you need to find a woman who will fight back when you’re being stupid because she loves you.”
Boy, I really followed his advice. My wife and I can REALLY argue and fight when it’s time. We’ve fought about big issues (capitalism versus socialism) and small issues (tofu chips versus veggie chips).
Full disclosure: This was the subject of our biggest fight so far.
The way we fight reminds me of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. First held in 1993, it quickly boasted that there were no rules. But while the concept seemed good on paper, it actually limited the popularity of the sport. Because it was brutal! Everything was allowed: hair pulling, head stomping, and groin punches (ouch!). The first few matches became very lopsided and many became poor fights.
But through the years, the UFC learned and added rules – no eye gouging, hair pulling, groin hits, direct downward elbow strikes to the head, etc. The fighters still hit each other hard, but the events are more sporting now. No one has ever died or even been seriously injured (depends on what you mean by seriously injured) in the UFC. And the fighters live to fight again. The rules allow these huge destructive people to coexist in a kind of ballet.
The danseur noble, Anderson Silva, demonstrating his reverse arabesque
My wife and I fight. And we fight hard. We stand up for what we believe and will speak up when the moment is right. But we can stay together because we have rules. It never becomes about hurting or crippling the other person. This allows us to argue and become passionate, but come together at the end.
The rules allow us to recover quickly as well. What used to take days or even a week of sulking before we reconcile was shortened to hours and minutes, sometimes immediately after the fight. We’ve even ended arguments with a high five, because we had a good match. Much like these UFC fighters can hug after beating each other into a pulp.
Before and After
Here are some of our rules that protect us:
1. Jesus is the Lord of our marriage. What He says in the Bible is what we follow. She and I have our opinions but His Word is the final judge.
2. We come together no matter what. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much I think I’m right or how much she prefers tofu chips to veggie chips. All of those things are passing but we must stay together. It’s easier to resolve the issue when we know we’re sleeping beside each other tonight and for the rest of our lives.
3. Look with eyes of faith. This means we believe what God says about the other person. Sometimes one of us is terribly in the wrong and what keeps the other from releasing a torrent of self-righteous fury is to ask God for the grace to see the other the way God sees him/her.
4. We’ve got our Jon McCarthy. That’s the UFC referee. And in this blog I said that the Punzalans, Paolo and Jen, serve that for us. They help us break any ties or call foul when one of us is breaking the rules.
So I love, not fight-free marriages, but fight-proof ones. Get to fighting, but fight clean. You’ll come together stronger afterward.
Here’s Dennis Sy’s blog on the same subject.
Posted by Joseph on Aug 27, 2012 in Leadership | 0 comments
Two Wednesdays ago, Marc Constantino, a good friend and pastor in our Victory church in Robinsons Metro East, talked with our men campus missionaries on the need to stay connected in relationship with one another. He talked about the reality of when people’s lives implode because they hide their character flaws instead of getting help. He made the statement, “Choose humility over humiliation.”
Everyone has their weak points. And we won’t get away with hiding them or pretending they don’t exist. Unfortunately, we are predisposed to present only the positive sides of ourselves. Think of what we tweet or put on Facebook. None of them are incriminating, except the incriminating pieces we’re okay with confessing.
That’s why Pastor Marc emphasized the need for close friends who know so much about you that they can warn you when you’re going close to danger and call you out when you’re in sin. This is called accountability.
Marc Constantino, crazy in life but dead serious about accountability
Here are some additional thoughts I wrote down to ask myself in connection to his message.
1. How long am I in this for?
Sinful things often promise short term gains, but cannot fulfill long term dreams. Every time we give in to sin or disguise our mistakes, we are making a decision for short term gains versus long term goal fulfillment. Often, by the time the consequences of our actions hit us, they’re at a much higher price than we expected. And whatever joys or pleasures we thought we gained have long expired.
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel. Proverbs 20:17
2. Do I feel entitled to anything?
I’ve seen in myself that when sin knocks, it’s easier to give in when I’m feeling entitled to something. Maybe it’s when I’ve been doing a lot for others, or I’m envying someone else’s success, or just a hyper inflated sense of entitlement, but the justifications are similar,
“I really owe this to myself.”
“I’ve been doing so much for other people. I need some me time.”
“Everyone’s getting theirs, when do I get my share?”
Another twisted version of entitlement comes with being offended. It works like this – someone did you wrong so you are justified in doing wrong back. Like taking money from an office who you feel doesn’t treat you well. Or responding harshly to someone you suspect is doing you wrong. Here’s something I’m glad my parents drilled in to me:
I can’t control what other people do, but I have the Holy Spirit so I can control myself regardless of what they do.
3. Am I acting like the rules don’t apply to me?
How an entitled person sees the world
It’s no coincidence that people’s lives implode just when they seem like everything is going for them. That’s because success, wealth, and recognition can breed a feeling that we are playing by a different set of rules from everyone else.
Everyone has to account for their expenses, except you.
It’s not a good idea for people to drink so much, but you can control it.
Other people really should be more careful with members of the opposite sex (or same sex) but you aren’t as easily tempted.
Articles like this would be good for your friends, but not you. You don’t need accountability in your life.
I appreciate Pastor Marc for raising those uncomfortable questions with me. I proceeded to have a few penetrating but healthy conversations with friends afterwards and I’m thankful for them. Do you have people who you are accountable to?
Another great blog on the subject by Daniel Trinidad, campus director at Victory Malate.
Posted by Joseph on Aug 23, 2012 in Personal | 0 comments
I’m gonna try answering some questions that I get from Formspring here. I’m copy-pasting the questions. The link takes you to my Formspring account, and I’ll answer the questions with a link to my blog. So here goes the first edition of Formspring Friday!
- what is one thing that you love most about your wife?:) (pick 1 only, I know you have lots in mind hehe)
I think the thing I love most about my wife is her devotion to God. Now don’t think that’s just a goody-goody answer. It has tremendous practical benefits for me! One thing, I can count on her to always do the right thing (eventually) because the Holy Spirit is at work inside her. Secondly, she is so sweet and loving to me because she receives so much love from God. Thirdly, she’s a constant source of wisdom and insight and joy because she’s connected to God who is the source of those things.
- when was the first time you preached? and how was it? your an awesome preacher btw =)
Thank you for the compliment. It’s really from the insight and ability God gives and the people in my life who’ve coached me to get here.
The first time I preached was in 1998. I was 15 years old and it wasn’t very good. I was so serious and didn’t crack a joke the whole time. My theology and Bible interpretation was messed up. And I didn’t do a good job explaining my points. I preached for eight minutes. People were surprised the service was over. I’ll always be thankful to Pastor Rico Ricafort for encouraging me and giving me more chances to improve. Also to my friends and family who smiled through the whole evening and said, “Good job.”
- venue for the reception… grrrrrrrrr…
I know how you feel!!! Ours was so expensive! But worth it naman. But expensive! But the pictures were great! Dapat lang no, it was expensive! Wait, was that your question? It’s not even a question.
loved the beauty, but really loved the privacy - pricey privacy
- pastor joe, how many gf did you have, before you met your wife?
None. Carla was (and still is) my first real girlfriend. I liked a few girls before her and some of them liked me back, but it didn’t go much further than that. I just always wanted to go all out with someone who would be there for the rest my life.
- Pastor Joseph, what’s your favorite subject when you were in college?
My favorite subject was Western History with Professor Jo Ed Tirol. It was the perfect combination of a subject I love with a really great teacher. He inspired me to think and learn and work harder than I did in most of my classes (which wasn’t much anyway), but in an almost effortless way. He is one of the models I have in my head for becoming a better teacher.
- do you believe in homeschooling? would you homeschool your kids or future kids?
I think it’s great, and I always wanted to be homeschooled when I was a kid. (We only did it for one year.) I don’t know if we’ll automatically homeschool our kids though. I think we’ll try it and if it works out, then good!
That’s it for now! Time to rest because we’ve got another full day here in Cabanatuan tomorrow. Next week we’ll be covering topics like: favorite preachers, accepting someone’s past, moving on from a long relationship, and Rica’s deepest secret! (ooohh…) All these and more on the next – Formspring Friday!
If you wanna ask questions click here.
Posted by Joseph on Aug 19, 2012 in Personal | 2 comments
LATE POST: My laptop crashed last week and I just got it back so I could finish this blog. I wrote this in the airport last Monday, August 13, 2012.
My wife and I are finally on our way home after a fruitful week here in Kuala Lumpur. We attended a gathering of youth pastors and student ministers from five different continents. More than once, Ryan and I asked ourselves how we got to that place. We were overwhelmed by the people we met and the stories they shared. It makes me eager to get back to work in Manila.
My wife and I with Ryan and Esther Tan. Ryan pastors the students in Victory University Belt
Some thoughts I wanted to share as we digest the experience:
1. God allows for great diversity.
Funny that as I write this I’m in Kuala Lumpur – a city with Malays, Indians, Chinese, and many other ethnicities. There are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Muslims. I’m sitting in a Swiss restaurant listening to Malaysian music. The restaurant hostess looks one of a kind as a Malaysia woman dressed like a Swiss maid. It’s amazing how God made us so diverse.
So much diversity in Kuala Lumpur - makes the eating extra fun!
And I believe that is the case with His Church as well. Listening to all the stories from around the world, it was mind-blowing to hear about the ministries growing in the thousands among so many different people groups – in relatively open nations like the Philippines or Singapore, among Muslim nations where persecution is terrible, with atheist background students in Germany, in the suburban US and developing African nations, and the cities of South America.
Heaven is going to be an extremely diverse place – all kinds of languages, skin colors, national costumes, music and dance styles, and food (WOOHOO!), worshipping the God who made us all.
2. God gives us universal constants.
Amidst the diversity, there are constant principles that hold true everywhere we go. This morning our Tamil taxi driver told us the story of his family. How he successfully sent his son to medical school in Ukraine and his daughter to university in the UK – all on the single income of a taxi driver. It was hard work, good service, family values, and financial wisdom that enabled him to do this. He could’ve been a cab driver anywhere in the world and he would have been successful beyond most people’s expectations.
Amazed at his story, I had to take a picture with him and give him a better tip.
In the Church also, while God grants us different gifts, there are constants outlined in the Bible that we would be wise to observe. With every story we heard, regardless of the context, there were universal themes that were consistent – small group discipleship, engaging youth culture, reliance on the power of God, and love for the next generation.
3. God values every stage and every season. So do your best wherever you are.
After the gathering, we visited our church here – Eaglepoint in two locations. We met up with old friends and made new ones. We met with two young professional women who have a desire to reach students. They were in the beginnings of forming their team, but already I was struck by their hunger for learning and willingness whatever it takes to succeed. I’m excited for the future of the church in KL.
On our last night, I learned so much from a young businessman my age who described his work to me. He had been through many shifts and transitions already, but his enthusiasm and faith in God we’re evident as he faced the future. It encouraged me even as I’m contemplating some shift in our life.
Thankful for the opportunity to listen to and learn from some really amazing people. Looking forward to the relationships that will develop.
One thing that keeps us from discontentment where we are and envying where other people are is when we know that God is in charge of our seasons. We celebrate where we are because we know He’s in charge. We celebrate where other people are because we don’t need to guard our own self-interest behind the scenes.
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27