Posted by Joseph on Dec 11, 2012 in Personal | 0 comments
My dad’s book, The Lego Principle, is out. It’s been a unique learning experience to witness the entire process of writing over 4 years – the late nights at his computer, the dozens of open books all over his office for research, and the endless conversations about how to write a certain chapter.
I’m reading it for the third time and and I’m honestly so proud of it (and my dad). It’s intellectually meaty enough to sink your teeth into, very practical to everyday life, and peppered with stories all throughout to keep you engaged.
Click the pic to go to the Amazon page.
More than the pleasure and insight from reading the book itself, I’m excited for the effect it’ll have on the people who read it. It’s designed to activate (my dad’s favorite word, I think) everyday “ordinary” Christians to the amazing work God’s called all of us to.
Too many Christians nowadays are benching themselves – not participating in what God’s called them to. Here’s a quote by the late Elton Trueblood, chaplain of Harvard and Stanford, from Chapter 12 of The Lego Principle,
Perhaps the greatest single weakness of the contemporary Christian church is that millions of supposed members are not really involved at all and, what is worse, do not think it strange that they are not.
The Church was never designed to sit on the bench. We are forcefully advancing and everyone has a part to play. It isn’t about a few experts. Here’s a picture of some of our volunteer teachers in Victory Fort. They teach Victory Weekend – a difficult, challenging course that takes a lot from their time. But they serve anyway. And we are all made better because of them.
No bench players here. Thanks Alex Monis for the pic.
More than this, there are thousands of volunteers who serve weekly all over Metro Manila. There are thousands of Victory group leaders who reach out to their friends, disciple people, pray for the sick, serve their fellow man, etc. We all have a part to play.
So get off the bench! Serve somewhere. Get connected into a discipleship group. Build key relationships with people who can help you and people you can help. And buy a copy of the book if you like. It’ll be a great gift for anyone looking to activate themselves or other people.
Check out my wife’s article on the book launch in one of the country’s broadsheets.
Posted by Joseph on Dec 7, 2012 in Campus Ministry | 1 comment
To take a break from the relationship stuff, I’m sticking to answering one question that was asked twice.
Hello! I was just wondering, how did you start out as a campus missionary? When you started how sure were you that you wanted it and, more importantly, that GOD wanted you there? I just wanna hear your story. Thanks!
Hi, pastor! I was just really wondering after graduating from college did you immediately went on to do the campus missions thing? When you started were you 100% sure that it was were GOD wanted you? I just really wanna hear your story regarding that.
My parents became Christians when I was a year old. My dad became a volunteer pastor when I was six, and was leading our local church in Makati when I was 12. So you could say ministry was always an option that existed in my periphery. I was never closed or resistant to the idea, but I wasn’t too excited about it either. It wasn’t a passion.
I often got questions like, “Are you going to be a pastor, like your dad?” I’m thankful neither of my parents forced it on us or even communicated any expectations in that direction. They just expected us to honor God with our lives and follow His direction.
When I was 15, I became more active in our campus ministry. I had mentors like Crunchie Cervantes, Mel (Bong) Calingo, and, especially Rico Ricafort. They let us serve and experience what ministry was like. They corrected us when we were wrong, but gave us a chance to try again. They taught us to love God and love his people. They showed us how to read the Bible.
We would share our faith with people, lead Victory groups, plan events, lead volunteer teams, go on mission trips, etc. The more I tried it, the more exciting it became. Rico was this amazing guy who loved God, discipled others, and had fun. He made going into ministry such a great option for us.
At the same time, I’d go home and talk about my experiences with my dad. While he was careful not to push me into it prematurely, I really enjoyed our times to discuss the realities of ministry, not just the easy parts. Our talks helped prepare me for the challenges that going into vocational ministry would present.
Our old small group. We had a fascination with mafia movies also, hence the attempt at a mafia pic. All of us have since participated in some form of ministry and many became full-time ministers.
My passion grew to the point that I would serve in almost any capacity at our campus ministry over the weekends and use the weekdays (school days) to recuperate. By the time I graduated, I wanted to go into full-time ministry. Other professions are just as important and vital in God’s eyes, but I knew this was the one He wanted me to do. I shared this with my parents, Rico, and a few other trusted friends and mentors and they agreed. So in July 2004, I went into full-time campus ministry and I’ve been doing that since.
For those of you who are contemplating this decision, here are some questions that might be helpful to ask:
1. Do I want to this? If you don’t feel ANY passion for it at all, it’s probably not for you. Don’t worry about it. Find another vocation that excites that God-given passion inside you.
2. Have I counted the cost? Some people want to go into ministry because they see a narrow window of someone going onstage, or someone enjoying success. But just like any other profession, we can easily misjudge the discipline and sacrifice involved if we don’t take the time to count the cost. Vocational ministry involves sacrifice and hard work. It requires being willing to relate with people and lay your life for them, often with little appreciation or compensation. Be sure to factor that in to your decision-making process.
3. Do other people agree with my feelings? Or are they just my own imagination? This is not a calling that is done in isolation. We walk with other people as we do this. If we really are called by God into this vocation, then others – spiritual leaders, church authorities, parents (especially if they’re Christian) – will see and confirm this in us. If you don’t have anyone like that yet, try volunteering somewhere first to see if these are real desires from God or just fantasies.
4. The Million Dollar Question: Can I do anything else with my life and still be obedient to God’s call and fulfilled and satisfied? Meaning, is there anything else you can do besides this? Is there any profession, calling, job offer, that you can consider? Because if there is, go do that first. Ministry will always be there if you want to go back to it. But it’s better to enter without any sense of regret or “what ifs”
If you answered “no” to any of the first three or “yes” to the last, then maybe it isn’t the call for you, or it isn’t time yet. Don’t worry about that. Every vocation is from God and He honors us for our faith and not our jobs. Check out this blog to see what I mean.
If you answered “yes” to the first three and “no” to the last, then have fun! It’s a great ride – not easy, but super worth it.
Posted by Joseph on Dec 5, 2012 in Leadership | 4 comments
I was in a meeting recently with a few officemates. I told one of them, “I’m feeling a little bothered by _______. Help me figure this out. Does this person really have an issue that we need to deal with or am I just being impatient?”
The answer I received back: That person does have an issue. But you are also impatient. Let’s wait for God to bring the issue to light.
I love working with people who know my shortcomings.
I am thankful that they know how flawed I can be and help me with my weaknesses.
There are many temptations to hide our mistakes, even from those who love us. Maybe we’re afraid of being rejected. Maybe we think they’ll stop respecting us. Maybe we think our relationship with them will change if we admit it.
But as many as those reasons are, there are better ones for letting quality people in close enough to know the truth.
1. They can help us now.
When we hide our sins, we’re saying, “I’m more concerned about my reputation than actually getting better.” That’s like saying, “I’m more concerned about looking healthy than really being rid of this sickness.”
The Bible says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Provebrs 28:13) But by admitting our flaws to other people, we can get help. People who don’t admit their mistakes can’t be helped. How tragic it is to crash and burn with people all around who can help us. No, it’s better to admit it and get help.
Proverbs 27:6 "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiples kisses." Thankful for the wounds from these guys. And I really don't want to be kissed by them.
2. They can protect us.
Another benefit of being open with my flaws with my team is they can cover for me. CJ Nunag, our National Director in LifeBox, knows how impatient, impulsive, and insensitive I can be. It isn’t news to him. I admit stuff to him at work that other people don’t know about. He balances me A LOT.
But here’s an unexpected benefit: when other people complain to him about me, he can protect me. He can say, “Yeah, Joseph and I talked about that. I can assure you he’s sorry about it.” It stops the complaint right in its tracks. But CJ wouldn’t be able to do that if we weren’t open with each other. (And also coz he’s really a great guy.)
There are people all around you who wanna help. Let’s help them help us.
3. They probably know about it already.
Sometimes we think that admitting our mistakes will make people lose faith in us. As leaders, it can make our position insecure. But the truth is they probably know about it already. They’ve felt our shortcomings and the effects of our failures. So hiding it from them only shows there really isn’t any trust to begin with.
But try admitting it and you’ll be surprised that you actually gain respect from them. In the first story I wrote above, the person who said that to me is someone who I am clearly overseeing. And yet, because of our relationship we can talk with each other frankly. This hasn’t removed her trust in me as a leader, but it only seems to strengthen it.
I pray that we all can experience the freedom in having a set of relationships that know about our shortcomings and still love us anyway. If you don’t have that, message me in the comments. I’d love to introduce you to people who can do that. And to the One who can help you be that kind of person to others.
Posted by Joseph on Dec 4, 2012 in Leadership | 0 comments
Today, a few of my colleagues and I took the whole day to plan and strategize about issues that we are experiencing as we grow. With any form of growth or improvement comes stresses and problems, some we expected, some unforseen.
While this was going on, we found ourselves often running from one pressing need to another. It felt like being a firefighter, where our priorities were dictated to by whatever was the biggest emergency. This is called the Tyranny of the Urgent.
Tyranny – cruel and oppressive government or rule
Urgent – requiring immediate action or attention
Do you find yourself running from one thing to the other? Are you constantly asking yourself where your time went? Do you find that you’re busy but still terribly behind on the most important things of your life?
It might be because you’re being oppressed by the Tyranny of the Urgent! Overthrow it immediately!
This is why we spent the day planning the year ahead, fixing our schedules, and prioritizing tasks. We had to resist the temptation to zoom in on particular subjects. We had to put off emergencies that cried out for immediate attention. We resisted immediate relief in favor of the things that we would be glad we did ahead of time.
Are there urgent things that plague you? People who constantly need your attention, but never seem to get out of that fix? Some situations really are urgent and are worth responding to immediately. But when you find that that’s all you do or there’s a particular relationship that seems to be only composed of the urgent, you might want to reevaluate.
Think of a typical work day. Where does your time go? Is it to things that will bear fruit in the future? Or is it going to repetitive things? Things that could be done by others? Things that could be taken care off for a long time with some planning?
What about media and internet intake? Technology is so powerful in making us think that EVERYTHING IS URGENT. That Facebook message must be replied to IMMEDIATELY. Someone tagged you -check it out now! Refresh, refresh, refresh – maybe someone posted something new.
We all suffer from this from time to time. And like true freedom fighters we must constantly rise up and overthrow the tyranny for the emancipation of our schedule, the liberation of our to-do lists, and the democratization of the overly-extended metaphor.
P.S. Great blog on the subject – BUSY