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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Carpe Diem (SEIZE THE DAY)

Carpe Diem is a Latin expression which, when translated to English means: “Seize the day”. The first time I heard this phrase was from the classic movie: Dead Poet’s Society (1989) starring Robin Williams (I watched this at a latter time year 2000 something, so I’m not that old) :). I think that this movie popularized this statement for the people who know this statement today.

The expression “Seize the day” basically means to make the most out of every opportunity. It doesn’t imply that we should live today as if the future will not matter; NO! This is not the same with the popular phrase nowadays: “YOLO (you live only once)”. In the movie, Robin Williams encourages his students to make the most out of life because life is short.

What is Opportunity?

In line with that, I think that we as a people should learn to make the most out of every opportunity because that’s one way that we can maximize our God-given time here on earth. But before I begin to talk about how we can maximize every opportunity given us; I think it’s important that we have a clear picture of what “Opportunity” is because I believe that if we understand it better we’ll learn to not take it for granted. 🙂

ImageI got this illustration on the word “Opportunity” from the book: “Habitudes” by Tim Elmore, so I quote:

The OPPORTUNITY STATUE

“In Ancient Greece, there were statues everywhere. At one point there were more statues than people at one point. There was one statue in particular and it was called “Opportunity”. It was a vivid illustration on how statues work in our lives. It had LONG FLOWING HAIR in FRONT of its FACE but was completely bald at the back.”

“Put it simply you could grab it when it was coming toward you, but you could never get hold of it once it had passed.”

That’s how opportunity works, you never get it back once it is gone and I hope that we will all maximize and grab every opportunity that comes our way. The apostle Paul encourages us to do the same in Ephesians 5:16 which says:

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

How do we make the most out of every opportunity?

So how do we make the most out of every opportunity if we are called to do so? With our limited time here on earth, how do we spend the rest of our days so that we can “make the most out of every opportunity?”

I’ve been reading 1 Samuel 17 lately and this story talks about a very known battle even for non-Christians. It’s the battle between David and Goliath and although I won’t dwell much on the battle itself, as I’ve read it I learned how David was able to maximize the opportunity given him. I believe that there are valuable lessons and principles that we can see and learn from this story and apply in our lives today. So are you ready?! Read on so that you can make the most of every opportunity given to you. 🙂

1) Recognize problems and challenges as opportunities

1 Samuel 17:4, 11

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

Our common response to problems and challenges are fear and often times dismay. This is normal! This is usually our first reaction when we face these things. Sometimes we don’t just encounter small problems/challenges but often times theses are the “Goliath” type of problems and challenges. “Goliath” has now been used as a metaphor of big, heavy or insurmountable problems that we have in life. Given all of these things however, we have a choice to just drown in our fears or actually do something about it! The starting point of making the most out of our life is to recognize problems and challenges as opportunities. If we do that then our response will change as well. If we let fear get the best of us, most likely we’ll do nothing and even run away from these opportunities. I hope that we would not be like the Israelites or Saul who did nothing because they we afraid.

What are the Goliaths that you are facing right now? How do you see or recognize them? Will you treat it as an opportunity to bring out the best in you?

2) Realize the importance of WAITING for the right opportunity.

1 Samuel 17:13-14

Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul,

David was the youngest in his family and naturally since he was the youngest he was seen as their baby boy who probably didn’t have as much strength/charisma compared to his older brothers. I bet that even his father Jesse didn’t see him as someone who had the potential to slay the giant Goliath. What’s important is to be patient and wait for your turn because we just need to wait for the opportunity sometimes. Sometimes we can do something about it and create opportunity ourselves but a lot of times we can’t YET. It’s really a case to case basis. The reason I’m saying this is sometimes if we try to force ourselves in creating our own opportunities it may create tension and conflict with some people especially those in authorities. Imagine if David forced himself against his brother and to Saul at that time, we would have had a different story and it may not have been the best time for him yet.

Opportunity will come, we just have to wait on it sometimes and be patient about it. Patience and right timing are two very helpful things in finding the right opportunity.

3) Little opportunities lead to bigger opportunities

1 Samuel 17:17-18, 20, 26

Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them.

Yes, David was the youngest in the family. That’s why he got assigned to bring loaves and cheese to them. It was a very small task of being assigned the responsibility to bring food for the soldiers and doesn’t seem like much. Have you been given “small responsibilities”? Was there ever a task that you didn’t like because your ego couldn’t handle it? We should change our mindset with regard to these things because there’s really no “small” tasks, no “small” responsibilities only “big” egos. As I read the story I realized how because David was faithful with the little things, this led to a door that eventually led to his opportunity to represent the Israelites against Goliath. Read the verses below to see what happened because David was faithful with the little things.

1 Samuel 17:20

Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry.

“As Jesse had directed” he was faithful with his “small” task and obeyed his father’s command without complaint, arguing or grumbling. Because he was faithful, he was able to talk to his brothers, see Goliath taunt the Israelites again and again and again and saw the Israelites fleeing from the giant in fear.

1 Samuel 17:26

David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Because David saw that no one was brave enough to fight the giant, now his opportunity has now come to represent the Israelites against Goliath.

Be faithful with the little things because it can actually lead to open doors that eventually leads to greater opportunities. Don’t think of “small” tasks or “small” responsibilities. Think of “small” opportunities that will eventually lead to “bigger” ones.

4) Don’t let discouragements stop you from seizing opportunities

1 Samuel 17:28, 29-31

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

In this life EXPECT a lot of discouragements to come. It’s a given but don’t let that stop you from seizing the opportunity. Wayne Gretzky said that we miss 100% of the shots that we don’t take. So what if we’re not the best fit for the job? So what if we’re not 100% ready yet for the opportunity? The truth is someone will always be better but not everyone will get the opportunity, only a few. We just have to make the most out of every opportunity and not let discouragements stop us. If we let those discouragements get to our head then it’ll reduce our overall effectiveness and we’ll not be able to give our 100% and maybe squander the opportunity given to us.

The great thing about David is he didn’t let the words of his older brother get to his head. He waited and looked for other ways to get that opportunity. His time has almost come to be given that opportunity as seen below.

1 Samuel 17:29-31

“Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

5) Display courage when seizing the opportunity

1 Samuel 17:32, 33

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

When the opportunity is given, you have to have courage to take it. When people ask you and give you the opportunity it’ll impresses the people who gives you the opportunity if they see the courage in you to face those challenges. David continually displayed that courage especially in front of the king who didn’t really think that David will be able to defeat Goliath. I think what really made Saul say yes to David (at least one factor) is the courage that he saw in this boy’s eyes.

Amidst all the discouragements David faced, he remained courageous until the end. I believe it’s because of his relationship with God that’s why he didn’t let the lies of his brother and Saul get to his head. Display courage when seizing the opportunity!

6) Prepare NOW so that you’d be ready when the opportunity comes

1 Samuel 17:34-36

But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.

Did you read the verse above? David has been preparing all his life in fighting lions and bears while he was protecting his father’s sheep. Preparation doesn’t happen when the opportunity comes. It happens way way before the challenge arises. You don’t prepare on the day of a boxing match. You prepare months before the fight! The only difference with opportunities and a boxing match is that in a boxing match we know when the fight/opportunity is going to happen. With opportunities only time will tell. It may even catch us by surprise. The question is will you be ready for the opportunity?

When should you prepare for any given opportunity? NOW. Maybe you should stop reading this blog already and stop preparing but before that (hehe), the last point below if the key to maximizing and making the most out of every opportunity.

7) Understand that God holds the keys to victory in every opportunity

1 Samuel 17:37

The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

In Proverbs 21:31 it says here:

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord

David knew his place, he knew that the reason he will be victorious is because of God. We may be given the opportunity, we may have seized it already and prepared very well on the day of battle but at the end of the day God will be the one to determine our success or failure. I remember moments wherein no matter how good the competition is, there are still big upsets especially in the field of sports. Just yesterday the number 1 player in the world: Rafael Nadal lost to Stanlisas Wawrinka in what many deemed as a big upset. In this life, yes we’ll be given a lot of opportunities but sometimes we may squander some of those opportunities given to us and can leave us feeling discouraged and down. The key really is to trust God that as we prepare with everything we got, and take on the opportunities with excellence, it’s still him who will dictate the outcome of the events that will happen. He’s still the one who’ll determine the outcome.

Prepare well, be faithful with the little things, face opportunities with courage and leave everything else to God’s might hand. Happy Monday to you! 🙂

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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Next generation communicators

Last Thursday we conducted our first Discipleship Meeting for the year. Every time we conduct Discipleship Meetings I always get excited because it’s one avenue where we see students serving such as manning the registration booth or serving food and the like. There’s no small task because every role is critical. Also, Jesus did say in Luke 16:10

“”Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Milo uses the same principle as seen their tagline: “Great things come from small beginnings”.

This environment is also a place where our future communicators and public speakers will come from. 🙂 Ever since last year we always ask students to go up on stage and do an exhortation, share a testimony or deliver a message themselves. Last Thursday it just dawned on me how much better these students are now, compared to how I would have communicated 6-8 years ago. Imagine them continually training and practicing their communications skills for the next 6-8 years! 🙂 The possibilities are endless. 🙂

Image

With this I’d just like to honor and encourage them on how they can use their unique voices to inspire and encourage other students as well.

The first one who spoke was Paolo Santillan. This is the second time I heard him exhort, and the couple of times I heard him I just know how much experience and knowledge he brings to the table whenever he speaks. He loves to read a lot of books and this desire for learning will take him a long way. Also, his word from Exodus was right on the dot! I’m sure a lot of people got encouraged with that. 🙂 Continue to be filled with God’s word bro! 🙂

Next one to go up was Caryl, it was really God’s providential will that she got assigned to do an exhortation. She was a surprise to us because at first we thought that she’d be a little nervous but she took on the role and spoke with boldness and courage. Actually she’s partly the reason why I wrote this blog because thru her I saw how much better the next generation of communicators will be. When people see her speak, I’m sure they’d get encouraged to speak because if she can do it why can’t everyone else! 🙂

Pao Jamilarin exhorted again for the nth time. He has an aura of positivity and energy that can hype the crowd. Based on last’s Discipleship Meeting I think whenever he speaks he imagines himself speaking to hundreds and thousands of people already hehe. 🙂 Looking forward to the day that he’ll be asked to stand up in a campus conference. 🙂

After the exhortations we heard testimonies from Marc Marcaida and Miko Navarro. Marc has the potential to be a really funny speaker and yet at the same time deliver God’s word with seriousness and depth. Miko on the other hand speaks in a very ministerial tone, very pastoral hmmmmm. 🙂 I’m sure he’ll minister to more people in the future people primarily with the same background that he had. Whenever you have a testimony like that you can’t just help be amazed at how the grace of God works!

Emcees for the night were Xandrino Mangunay a.k.a. Inggit2013 and KC Bahaj. It was KC’s first time and she and Dudan did very well in engaging the crowd. They really brought energy to the event. 🙂

My hope is that everyone will get an opportunity and continue to hone their public speaking and communication skills. 🙂 Can’t wait for more communicators and public speakers to rise up! If ever God calls you, see it as a privilege and an opportunity. Don’t complain because Philippians 2 says: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing,”. God uses these moments to minister to other people. God will always get his message across but he chooses to use us anyway even if we don’t deserve it.So when given the chance, grab it and prepare excellently

Great Monday to you! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Leadership, Uncategorized

 

Created in His image

This is a follow-up blog to my blog last January 3, you can read it by clicking on this link. https://andrewwee05.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/1031/

Genesis 1:26

“Let us make mankind in our image…”

Genesis 1:27

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;…”

When I first encountered these verses, I really didn’t think that there was much meaning to these passages of scripture. I just thought “Ah OK, this just probably means that I look like God” that out of all the animals he created, our physiology is the one that is patterned after how our creator looks like. Only recently, did I have an insight to what God really intended when he created us in his own image. Surely, the very purpose on why He created us could not just have been about us looking like God.

John Piper said: “Why do people make images? People make images to image, they want to image-forth something. If you make a statue of Napoleon you want people to think not so much about the statue as Napoleon and you make the statue in such a way as specific about the character of Napoleon. So God makes us in His image…The point is he makes humans in his image to image something namely himself. So our existence is about showing God’s existence or specifically it’s about showing God’s glory.”

Statue équestre de Napoléon

The bottom line is: God created us in his own image so that we can show his glory. It should be that when people see us, it will give them a picture of the God who made us in his own image. We should be a reflection of God’s perfections, and that implies that again as John Piper said: “We want to think in such a way, and live in such a way, act and speak in such way that we draw attention to the manifold perfections of God.

If that is what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God and if that is God’s intended design for all mankind, then why is our world like this? Why do human beings think, live, act and speak in such a way that is so different from the original design that God intended it to be? There’s so many evil, corrupt and heart-breaking events that are constantly happening in the Earth today. What happened?

The short answer to those questions is the word called: Sin. That’s the reason why these things are happening. Really? How could something so “small” affect our original design and caused all these havoc? Lastly, the most important question is “Is there anything we can do about it”?

To be continued on my next blog. 🙂

 
 

10:31

Some of you are wondering why is it titled 10:31? Does it refer to a date? October 31? Does it refer to time? 10:31 PM or something? It’s almost 3 days after New Year so how’s that related?

Before we get there, Happy New Year to you! Welcome 2014! 🙂

For a lot of people it’s the start of something new, something fresh! People have already shared their insights and thoughts on how we should approach this year. You can read the blogs of Pastor Joe (http://www.josephbonifacio.com/2014/01/01/its-wednesday-january-1-2014/) and my good friend Kara De Leos (http://karadeleos.tumblr.com/post/71737535638).

For me, it’s a chance to start writing again. I missed this! My last blog entry was last October. It had been a very busy 2-3 months for me that’s why I wasn’t able to make time for this but now it’s a perfect time to write again. 🙂

I think one of the reasons why most people have the chance to “start over”  or “start something new” for 2014 is because of the long break. It gives everyone a chance to sit back, not get lost in the busyness of work and just think about certain things. Sometimes we evaluate the year that was and look forward for the year that is to come. As for me, it was a very refreshing time. Every year I get to revisit and hopefully enhance my Personal Mission Statement.

For those of you who don’t know what a Personal Mission Statement is, here’s a definition that can help you:

“A Personal Mission Statement “provides clarity and gives you a sense of purpose.” It helps define “who you are and how you will live.” It is a guide to help you down the road of life. If it’s meaningful to you, then that’s all that matters, after all, you’re going to be living by it.” taken from http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Personal-Mission-Statement

The Personal Mission Statement reminds me what I should focus on and what is truly important in my life. After years of searching what is truly important, I believe I have stumbled upon the most critical thing that we should all be doing. I wanted to write this blog to help everyone hopefully have this same mindset as we journey to 2014. I know with all my heart that this should be ingrained in the hearts and the minds of every Christian out there and even if you’re not Christian this should include you. So what is this thing that I believe is truly important? That important thing is our true purpose in life, our chief end. I learned this from John Piper who got it from the Westminster Catechism:

Q. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

That’s why in my personal mission statement, the verse 1 Corinthians 10:31 is written which I think is the perfect representation of that Catechism. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. That means that whatever thing we are doing, whether that be small or a big (in our perspective anyway), it’s purpose should always be about the glory of God. Meaning, if we do something for a reason other than Him then we will totally missed the point for our existence. We will not be fulfilling our design and purpose in life.

That’s why hopefully when we write our faith goals, our resolutions and other things related we should always have the glory of God in mind. Else, it will be a futile exercise which is only meant to please ourselves. Life is not about us, and it will never be about us. Life is about God’s glory and not ours. 🙂

That’s why this blog is titled 10:31 because of 1 Corinthians 10:31. 😀 Be reminded of that as you journey on to 2014! 🙂Image

So how do we glorify God? Watch out for my next blog entry. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Life Lessons

 

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