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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Dealing with Failure

Failing is something that nobody wants to happen in their lives, ever. No one, as in NO ONE, just wakes up one day and thinks of creative ways of failing. Right? However, as much as we tried to avoid failing, everyone have experienced failure at some point. It’s pretty much inevitable.

Failure

There are two extreme type of people who battle failure from a unique vantage point. Maybe you can identify yourself with one of the two. The first set of people are the perfectionists (this is where I identify with), these are the people who are scared of failure. For them, just thinking about the possibility of failing sends chills to their bodies. In defining moments, thoughts of failure or not wanting to fail consumes them. However, since we know that no one is perfect, failure will face them in the eye at one point. The problem in being a perfectionist is when failure hits these type of people, it paralyzes them. It makes them insecure. It deals a blow to their confidence and their perfectionism actually works against them.

How-can-I-be-a-perfectionist-2

The second group of people are those who have who have resigned to the fact that maybe they’ll never do anything significant in their lives. Maybe when they were little their parents have told them that they are a nobody, leading them to have that mindset. Maybe there was an event in their lives where they failed massively and because of which weren’t able to get back up. Because of that event probably it lead to a life of mediocrity. Of course, we know that even though sometimes being too much of a perfectionist is wrong, it’s also wrong to accept failure in our lives as part of the norm. We need standards in this world in order for us to live by.

So how do we deal with failure properly? It seems like both extremes aren’t desirable to be in. The problem is if you go on the extreme of being a perfectionist, it consumes your life, however, if you go the other side it leads to a life of no standards. What’s the proper balance and tension here and can this be actually resolved?

Failure vs Success

I believe that there are many ways to go about this, I don’t have all the answers, but I’d just like to share what realized from my devotion last week. While I was reading God’s word. I was reminded of a famous verse written by the Apostle Paul:

1 Timothy 1:15-16
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

If you know the Apostle Paul, many people regard him to be one of the most influential figures in Christianity, probably next to Jesus Christ. He wrote most of the books in the New Testament. His passion and zeal for advancing the gospel is second to none. God made him to be the Apostle to Gentiles, taking the gospel to places where no man has ever gone before. He was willing to die for the sake of the Gospel. When Christians would talk about the Apostle Paul, Christians would recount many of his achievements and see his life as a successful one.

However, when I read the verse above last week. I was quick to remember about the Apostle Paul’s dark past. He was a pharisee of pharisees, regarded by many as the enemies of Jesus Christ. After Jesus resurrected from the dead, the Apostle Paul went on an operation to kill as many of the earliest Christians as possible. Most notable of which was Stephen from the book of Acts. If you’re a Christian living in those early times, the Apostle Paul was the enemy. He was definitely a man who did not do the will of God. Yet, in a remarkable turn of events. God chose the Apostle Paul, not counting all his failures to ensure that the good news of God’s kingdom is advanced.

Failure is not final as they say and it definitely was not for the Apostle Paul. God used his life for his glory no matter what he’s gone through. I believe that the implications of this is huge especially for those who may have deemed their lives as failures. If you feel like that when you’re reading this, remember there’s always a SECOND CHANCE. Even if you felt like you’ve failed, or maybe will continue to fail so many times in your life, never fear. God can turn your life around and use it for his glory. Don’t lose hope, in this life you always have a shot to turn it around for God’s purposes. Just remember to always trust in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“…But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

Failure-Is-Not-Final1

Now for the perfectionists, here’s what I realized. We will always fail at some point that’s why it’s useless to put our security in our successes. When that becomes the ultimate thing for us failure will hit us hard at some point. It will shake our world and make us lose our self confidence. In my opinion, I realized that the key to dealing with failures is to accept the fact that we are all sinners and remind ourselves daily. That means that we deserved absolutely nothing. We were, at one point, failures who had no hope in this world. Left on our own our lives are pretty much useless. However, we shouldn’t end there because if that’s all, then we’d be like the other group. The next step is to put our trust and faith not on ourselves and our accomplishments but only in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The truth is only in the gospel can we find true success in life. The beauty of the gospel is that gives us the power to live a life the will honor God. Also, whenever we fail, the gospel gives us a reboot, it always gives us a second chance just like what it did with the apostle Paul. Not only does the gospel give us a second chance in life, but it always gives us the strength and fuel to move forward and face all the challenges and problems that this life can bring. Left on our own we can’t, but with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed nothing will be impossible for him.

Have a great day ahead of you! 🙂

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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

Remember the Sabbath

Happy Monday to everyone! Yes it’s Monday again and that only means one thing especially for people like me who works full-time in the Church: Rest Day or Day Off. However, more than this just being a rest day, it is primarily our Sabbath.

Sabbath, as defined by google, “is a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday.”

Sabbath is very famous to a lot of people because it is part of the ten commandments:

Exodus 20:8-11
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Growing up, the concept of a Sabbath in the culture I lived in means making sure that I go to Church once a week. Over the years however, as I became a Christian, my mindset of the Sabbath changed. For the past years, honoring the Sabbath for me means that I shouldn’t be working on this day. Hooray for rest day! I used to picture the Sabbath as a day where I can freely do all my hobbies without having to think of my responsibilities in work. For me that means a day of either: Sleeping, watching Sports (NBA, MMA, Tennis), listening to the songs of my favorite bands, playing the guitar (well not that much anymore), running, writing, Studying Mathematics (YES I consider that a hobby), oh and did I mention sleeping? That’s my “ideal” kind of Sabbath, a day where I can just freely do anything that I wanted.

Guitarlebrondunk1-e1388277581455 o-IS-MATHEMATICS-INVENTED-OR-DISCOVERED-facebook

However as I continued to study and learn more about the word of God. I realized that my picture of what the Sabbath should look like is a bit off tangent. It’s not totally wrong, but the focus and center of my picture of the Sabbath isn’t what it should totally be. The things I mentioned above are part of it, but Sabbath is something more than those things.

Following are three important things I learned about the Sabbath (even as I write this I’m still in the process of discovery and learning more about the Sabbath):

1) The Sabbath day is PRIMARILY a time of FELLOWSHIP between GOD and MAN.

Yup! You read that write. Sabbath is more than just a day off or a “no-work” day. God made the Sabbath so that we can just enjoy our relationship with him on this special day. Don’t get me wrong, we should enjoy our relationship with God every single day, however there’s something about the Sabbath where we’re commanded to not work so that we can focus more on our relationship with God. I see this every Monday. I see that I have a LOT of time in my hands compared to a usual work day. Now, because of the amount of time I have in my hands, I no longer have any excuse not to have my quiet time with the Lord. In fact because of the Sabbath I even have extended periods of time just reading his word and letting him speak to my mind and heart.

In Genesis, when God created the heavens and the earths it says there that on the seventh day God rested:

Genesis 2:2-3
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Pastor Joey Bonifacio, author of the book “The Lego Principle”, explained that the reason God rested was not because he got tired, because God never grows tired nor weary. No, God rested from his work so that he can have fellowship with us. That’s the reason for the Sabbath day.

How have you been spending your sabbaths? Pastor Manny Carlos, the executive director of Victory Ministers Association said that the Sabbath day shouldn’t be a “FLESH BREAK”, it’s a time we commune with God so that we can rest, draw energy from him and be ready for the week that is ahead of us.

2) Honoring the Sabbath day communicates our TRUST in God.

Honoring our Sabbath means to not work (not to the point of LEGALISM though like what the Pharisees instituted). Last 2014, I thank God that I was able to honor my Mondays last year. I made it a point, and was very intentional in leaving work in Church. I learned from one leadership podcast that God made the Sabbath to tell us that he will still choose to love and bless us even if we don’t work. The reason there is because God values more our relationship with him more than our performance for him. Honoring our Sabbath communicates how much we trust God because we know that even if we don’t think about work, God has everything under his control.

3) Sabbath is about ENJOYING the beauty of CREATION with the CREATOR

Lastly, I mentioned above that it’s not totally wrong to engage in our favorite pastimes during the Sabbath. However, what we need to be to be careful of is making these things the ultimate thing during our Sabbaths. I believe that it’s about enjoying these created things with God together and not taking him out of the picture. Like a Father to a Son or a Daughter I believe God wants us to see the beautiful world around us that he created. This is the picture I see in Genesis.

Imagine for a second with me. God had just performed the greatest show on earth by setting-up the whole universe with all the galaxies, stars and planets in their proper places. After that, God’s now just finalizing his finishing touches in one of his masterpiece called Earth. Then the seventh day came when he rested with the pinnacle of creation: Mankind. As soon as mankind opens his eyes and activates all of his senses, he immediately sees God and the whole universe that he had created. I picture that to be a breathtaking sight. One way of resting and enjoying our sabbaths: By enjoying the beauty of God’s creation with God himself.

Creation

Hope this blog helped you gain more insight in what the Sabbath day really is for. Again, I’m still learning about the Sabbath but I do believe that it is really primarily a time of FELLOWSHIP with GOD and MAN, TRUSTING Him more and more, and lastly enjoying the beautiful world that God created together with him.

Have a great Sabbath ahead of you! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Discipleship

 

The Joshua Problem

Great Monday to you! To start off and to clarify, I don’t have any problems with any person named Joshua ok? I know a lot of people named Joshua, in fact I’m working with a guy named Joshua but I don’t have any problems with them. :))

To give you context, the title I used for this blog is an image/metaphor that leadership expert Tim Elmore used in one of his books titled: “Habitudes”. “The Joshua Problem” is an image and metaphor, which Tim Elmore uses to describe a perennial leadership problem: Raising the next generation.

Moses-and-Joshua

Movements, organizations, and churches, ever since the dawn of time, have constantly experienced this problem of raising the next generation. They say that success without a successor is a failure. It’s one thing to lead a successful movement but it’s another to see a successful movement transcend through time and generations. If you look at our world today, we rarely see a successful organization, which have lasted for more than a century.

Tim Elmore coined the term “The Joshua Problem” because he was referring to a famous character in the Bible: Moses who had an apprentice named Joshua. Basically, what he is saying is that, Moses was able to raise up a Joshua but there’s no mention of a next generation leader that Joshua raised up to take his place. Because Joshua was not able to raise a Joshua of his own, Tim Elmore is saying that out of that failure came one of the worst periods in their nation’s history.

Ever since I’ve heard about the term: “The Joshua Problem” and ever since I’ve had sufficient knowledge of the Bible. This problem has bothered me for quite some time. Today I’ve had the privilege of being discipled to follow God but how can I be sure that the next generation will be as passionate with God as well? How sure am I that they will have that same desire of Honoring God and Making Disciples? The Biblical pattern seems to be that periods of successes for some generations are just short lived and generations who come after them are soon doomed to failure. What a scary pattern! Will I just surrender to the fact that that’s just the way it is?

Last November, I’ve had the privilege of being able to preach some aspects of the life of Moses and Joshua. Because of that, I was able study and to look closely at both of their lives. I think I was able to gain insights and look deeper at what is one of the causes of the problem of the failure of the next generation. In Judges it says there that:

Judges 2:7
So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

 Judges 2:10
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.

If you notice and look closely, you’ll see that in verses 7 and 10, both of them talks about the knowledge of God as being a key factor in the success or failure of the next generation. It can go either way. Joshua and his generation saw all the great works that God had done for the nation of Israel, that’s why they were blessed. In fact they made a decision to obey him. However, for the generation that followed them, I think that verse 10 gives the main reason why the next generation failed. It’s because the generation that followed Joshua did not know the Lord. Or in other words, they did not have a relationship with God. It seems basic, but this leads to some important implications:

Discipling the next generation

The previous’ generation’s job is to disciple the next generation. Meaning, the previous generation has a HUGE responsibility of teaching the word of God to the next generation. If you look at the book of Deuteronomy, the charge was always to teach the next generation God’s word.

Deuteronomy 6:7
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Before Moses died and left the leadership to Joshua, teaching the next generation the commandments of God had been emphasized many times. The next generation do not know God’s words, they don’t have a relationship with him but the previous generation has. Therefore it’s the previous generation’s task to disciple the next generation.

This principle still applies to us today, whoever you are or wherever you’re from. For those of us who had been blessed by God so much to be led to have a growing relationship with him, this doesn’t stop with us. It’s our role to disciple the next generation and teach them the word of God.

Focusing more on the word of God than leadership 

Don’t get me wrong; I love Tim Elmore and his leadership books. I’m a very big fan. Also, I think that leadership plays a huge part in raising the next generation. However, putting too much emphasis on leadership may focus us more on that rather than the real problem, which is teaching the word of God. It’s passing on God’s word the next generation that’s the biggest concern. How can we effectively pass the passion for God’s word to the next generation? We can have a great leader who casts a mighty vision and leads people well, however if this leader fails to pass the word of God to the next generation then his labor will be in vain. It’s God’s word that should be top priority. The best thing that will work here is a great leader who always champions the word of God and ensures that God’s word is carried to the next generation. In fact, this is the Biblical pattern for revival. Whenever God’s word was opened and preached revival came in scripture. 🙂

So there we have it, I hope that this blog helped us gain new insights in that perennial problem of raising the next generation. I hope that we will be a people who will emphasize and put top priority on God’s word. When we make sure that the passion for God’s word is passed on to the next generation then by God’s grace we know that the next generations who will follow us will do a great, if not a better job than the present generation. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Leadership

 

My ONE THING this 2015: THE GOSPEL

Happy New Year! 2014 had been amazing year! I hope it was for you as well. Look forward for a more amazing 2015 to you and your family. 🙂

2015_2Here we go!

It’s that time of the year once again where we plan the things we want to accomplish for 2015, write our faith goals (Hello Prayer and Fasting 2015), write new years resolution or write blogs about writing new years resolution HEHE. (Hi Paolo Santillan great blog by you: http://paolosantillan1215.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/new-years-resolution-2/).

Last December 31, 2014 my mentor, Pastor Daniel, wrote a blog: http://danieltrinidad.com/2014/12/31/how-to-plan-through-your-2015/ to help us plan through our 2015. Read it! It’s very encouraging and will help you plan your 2015 as well. What I like about his blog is he told us to: “Think about our “one thing” this year”. He said in his blog (paraphrased) that deciding on pursuing one major thing for 2015 helps you be more productive. Having too many things to think about for next year may spread you too thin; you may risk not being able to accomplish anything or maybe just a few in mediocrity.

I found prioritizing that “ONE THING” to be very effective as I recall how I started my 2014 last year.

MY ONE THING LAST YEAR: HONOR GOD
Last year I wrote a blog titled 10:31: https://andrewwee05.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/1031/ and in that entry the main point is figuring out the importance of doing everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Now because I started that year like that, it set the direction of my 2014, always aligning things for his honor and glory. I also noticed in most of my conversations with students that this had been what was overflowing from my heart while talking to them. The tagalog term is more familiar to us: it’s been a “bukang bibig” for me. That one thing has now become something that has been deeply ingrained with me hopefully until the day I die. Thinking of your “ONE THING” really does help big time. 🙂

HONOR GOD

MY ONE THING THIS YEAR: THE GOSPEL
Now for this year, after revisiting my personal mission statement and constantly trying to align it to God’s will. I decided that my one thing for this year will be the Gospel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I’m going to totally forget my one thing last year. What happens here is it builds up every year. To honor and glorify God: that’s my end goal, it’s my life purpose. However, I do realize that staying true to the accomplishment of that purpose will not be as easy.

GOSPEL

You see, because when sin entered humanity, it destroyed our original design to glorify him in all that we do. Because of sin, our design to honor God got derailed. However, because of the gospel we are can now be back on track to our original purpose. Below are two things about the gospel that will hopefully help widen our perspective about it. Hopefully as you understand the gospel more, then you’ll realize the need to go deeper with it in order to live a life that glorifies Him.

The-Power-of-God-cover-photo

1) The GOSPEL saves us from the PENALTY of sin

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,…

Sin in and by itself does not bring any glory to God PERIOD. The gospel saves us from the penalty of sin. No doubt in that, I believe that most of us know this already. However, the problem comes when our understanding of the gospel gets limited to this fact. While it’s true that the gospel is the only way that we can enter heaven and have eternal life. While it’s true that the gospel is the ABC of Christianity what’s NOT true is that it is only limited to those two things. The next point helps us understand how powerful the gospel is in helping us live a life the honors God.

2) The GOSPEL saves us from the POWER of sin

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,…

We all know that sin is powerful. We may have already been saved from its penalty but it can prevent us from living a God-honoring life. Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is the POWER of God. We have to realize that the gospel is MORE powerful than sin. WE are not more powerful than sin, left on our own, sin leaves us helpless, but with the help of the gospel we can live out our purpose in Christ.

Upon meditating the last few days of 2014 and taking a look at my personal mission statement. I realized and was reminded once again of the POWER of the GOSPEL. That’s why I decided this year to focus on the thing that will fuel and empower me to live a life that glorifies his name: THE GOSPEL.

In summary:

THE GOSPEL GIVES ME THE POWER TO LIVE A LIFE THAT HONORS AND GLORIFIES GOD

How about you? What’s your ONE THING for this year? 🙂

Happy New Year! Onwards to 2015!

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Personal