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The Importance of Training

This Sunday, we’ll witness one of boxing’s biggest fight in history:

Mayweather-Pacquiao

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Boxing Analysts say that this will be the richest fight in boxing and thinks that the event on Saturday will rank among the top 5 greatest matches of all time. All the hype and excitement are building up for this fight. For the past week, I’ve already seen three promotional videos about it. Check them through these links:

Mayweather-Pacquiao: AT LAST (HBO Documentary)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF76dlQt23c

Mayweather-Pacquiao: The Legend Speaks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5gEjs5jfHw

Inside Mayweather-Pacquiao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiO6-5Qj4Zs

Watching these documentaries gives me an understanding of how these two fighters arrived to their level of supremacy today, what happened to the negotiations the past 5 years and how intensive their training camp has been in preparation for the fight.

They say that professional boxers train for 8-12 weeks for a fight. For some, even longer. That’s how much time, energy and dedication is needed to prepare for a 12 round boxing match-up.

Athletes aren’t the only ones who do training. Musicians, Public Speakers, Businessmen, and people from other fields also train as well. They do this to get better at their craft having a specific end goal in mind. They train because they want to be able to achieve something.

Training in the Bible
Last week, I read a verse in the Bible that also talks about training. Apparently, during the apostle Paul’s time, there were already athletics back then and Paul saw how athletes would train hard in order to win competitions.

1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

I find it amazing how the apostle Paul was able to use the the concept of sports as an illustration on how we are to live this life. This is the verse that I read last week:

1 Timothy 4:7-9
…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come

According to him, we are to train ourselves in godliness. I first heard and understood the concept of training for godliness from John Ortberg’s book: “The Life You’ve Always Wanted.” The author explains the difference of trying to become something vs. training to prepare for something. Just like the upcoming fight of Mayweather and Pacquaio, they can try their best to win and beat the other opponent; however if they don’t set apart those 8-12 weeks in training camp then they will most likely fail in beating their competition.

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The same is true in life, the apostle Paul exhorts us to train ourselves in godliness. In life’s most critical moments, will we be ready? Will we be prepared to act in a Christ-like way whenever a situation calls for it? Will we demonstrate and bear the fruits of the Spirit i.e. (love, peace, patience, kindness… etc.)? The key here is not to “TRY OUR BEST” whenever those moments come. The key is training and preparing when those moments arrive.

So what does that mean? What does training myself in godliness look like? Just like how a boxer prepares 8-12 weeks for a 12 round match-up, our training lies in our everyday lives. Everyday is an opportunity to practice the fruits of the spirit in little ways. I’m sure that whenever we encounter people, our fruits will always be tested. We have a lot of times where our patience can get tested, right? Just line up in a grocery store and wait for a long line to get finished before it ticks of your nerves. Dealing with difficult people is always an opportunity to test our character. Will we choose to say kind words today or will we just say whatever is on our minds not worrying about the feelings of other people? Every moment and every minute is always a battle for self-control. Will we choose to say no or will we choose to succumb to our appetites?

These little things are our training ground to godliness. These little things build up so that we can be a more patient, loving, peaceful, self-controlled person. These little momentes in our lives that we take for granted are actually opportunites for us to get trained in godliness. If we maximize these little moments in our lives… when the going gets tough… when the biggest challenges of life come then by God’s grace we will be ready. 🙂

Now if you’re reading this blog, I hope you won’t take this for granted. I feel like some people may think that this is a “nice” idea but won’t really take it seriously. We all do that sometimes, however let’s look back and consider what the Apostle Paul said once again:

1 Timothy 4:7-9
…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come

Paul says, people who train for sports, music or whatever those things may be. He says that those things are good and nice. They have value! They provide us with entertainment. However, boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather trains intensively 8-12 weeks for something of temporal value. It has value but nonetheless temporal. For us however, I believe that the training that God’s calling us to do is way way more important and has so much more value in this life and the life to come.

It has value in this life because we can demonstrate to the whole world what it means to be a disciple of Christ. It has value in the life to come because training ourselves in godliness makes us more Christ-like and sanctified, which after all, is more important than any temporary success we can get.

Everyday is our training ground for godliness, let’s not take it for granted. Maximize every opportunity! God bless!

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

Too Busy for Quiet Time

Quiet time, according to Google and Wikipedia, is a term used to describe regular individual sessions of Christian spiritual activities, such as prayer, private meditation, or study of the Bible. This is a term that is widely used in a lot of Christian Churches no matter what denomination you may be a part of. It’s one language that cuts across different Christian cultures.

In my youth groups in Church, I’d always emphasize the value of reading, meditating, loving and desiring God’s word. I believe that if we would just get it right with our private devotion with God then everything else will follow, especially our growth in Him. I’m very thankful for the people who modelled, demonstrated and imparted this to me. Now it’s my turn to pass it on to the next generation.

In my efforts to impart this to the next generation, I’d set-up challenging activities that aims to encourage and inspire us to read God’s word together daily. Research have shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This led me to set-up a 30 day (added 9 additional days to up the ante) challenge of reading God’s word with my youth groups. It proved to be effective as I saw the habit being formed and developed with the people I mentor. I think that I should do it again with the new set of people I’m mentoring (LIGHT BULB MOMENT!).

21days

In the past few weeks, however, I’ve been uncharacteristically missing some of my quiet time with God. Missing my time with God felt a bit bad because I knew that it should be priority. This led me to wanting to justify why I wasn’t able to make time for that. I started to rationalize that because of my work, it’ll be inevitable for me to miss a few days every so often. Sometimes there’s just moments where I had to work from very early in the morning until night. By the time I get home I’d already be exhausted.

Excuses excuses excuses.

Last Saturday, however, as I was reading the book of Luke a few verses about Jesus’ life struck me. These verses read as follows:

Luke 4:42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place…

Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 6:12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

These verses, just to name a few, shows Jesus’ commitment to his personal devotion with God. Jesus is arguably the busiest person ever to walk the face of the planet. He fed 5,000 people, healed the sick, delivered sermons, stopped a boat from capsizing, carried his cross on the way to Golgotha, died on that same cross and after three days resurrected from the dead. These are some of the things he did just to name A FEW. Take note: A FEW. However, even though he was the busiest person in history, he modeled and demonstrated to us that our relationship with God should be top priority. Jesus did not let the busyness of his ministry exempt him from devoting time for God. Jesus did not make that an excuse even though he had very legitimate reasons.

Reading the verses above, I just knew that God was saying something to me. I got convicted on how the busiest person on earth can still make time with God whereas I’d make excuses on why I would miss them ever so often. It’s really a question of priorities and values more than it being an issue of busyness. Jesus didn’t compromise.

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We should do so as well. I’ll never forget a quote from Martin Luther that I read back in college, it says this:

“I have so much to do today that I must spend at least three hours in prayer.”

The first time I saw this, it didn’t make sense at all to me. It was something totally counterintuitive. I thought to myself, how can you say that you’d be spending three hours in prayer when you have so many things to do? Intuitively, what I’d do in a situation like that is drop my quiet time so that I’d have more time accomplishing my work checklist. I may not be able to explain logically or economically why Martin Luther’s statement above makes sense however, after seeing how Jesus prioritized his devotion to God it then made perfect sense.

I think the reason Jesus never got to busy for his devotion with God is because this was one of the things that was giving him strength with all the work he had to do. The verses said he withdrew to desolate places to pray.

Sometimes, when life gets to busy, when the demands of work and school seems overwhelming, I think that it’s a fantastic idea to just go to a solitary place, read your Bible and pray to God.

It’s counterintuitive yet, in reality, it’s more productive. 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Discipleship

 

Preparing for Finals Week

Finals week is fast approaching for trimestral schools like DLSU and CSB. While every other student from other campuses is enjoying their vacations (thanks kuya Andrew ha! HAHA), those who are part of a trimestral system still have prepare and work hard for the upcoming exams.

With this, I’d like to encourage and hopefully inspire those students who still needs to prepare well for the upcoming GRACE WEEK. Here are some tips and advices to help you ready yourself for the battle ahead. 😀

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1) Do everything for the Honor of God

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

You just can’t have any other motivation that’s better than this. This is the purest and the best motive that we can possible have. So in preparation for the finals week always remember these things:

  • You’re not doing this to win the favor of your parents
  • You’re not doing this so that people will admire you for your high grades
  • You’re not doing this because you’re afraid of what people will think of you if you fail

You prepare well for finals week for the glory and honor of God. Entering finals week, recalibrate yourself and have this vision in mind.

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2) Work Hard (JUST DO IT)

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Now that you’re recalibrated to do all things for God’s glory, know this: HARD WORK HONORS GOD. God is honored every time you’re diligent, God is honored everytime you work hard in reviewing your notes, books, and the lecture of your professor. Contrast this to someone who procrastinates…that’s just the opposite. Procrastination is not honoring to God, it’s just another fancy way of saying laziness.

Just remember, everytime you feel lazy, everytime you feel like bumping off the things you need to do remember what NIKE said: JUST DO IT. No more excuses, time to start studying. 🙂

Two weeks of hard work and tiring yourself a bit is nothing compared to the grades you’ll receive after finals because you were diligent.

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3) Use your time wisely

Ephesians 5:15
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

You have 2 weeks left, part of not procrastinating is using your time wisely. Don’t cram. Cramming won’t do you good, it’s always best to pace yourself for the coming weeks. Look at your schedule and commit to do the things that are important. When you cram, you will not learn anything for the long haul, it’s just short term memory. Plus, cramming is not very effective. You have to give some time for your mind to process the information that you’ve learned.

Based on my experience, preparing early and making sure you have a good night’s sleep before the day of the exam will prove valuable. Study in advance. Pace yourself. Use your time wisely.

Action Plan: Plot your schedule wisely now for the next 2 weeks. I’m sure that for some of you, you’re still not studying in advance for the exam am I right? 😀

time

4) Go the extra mile

Matthew 5:41
And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Have you ever heard someone before say: “I gave it my best… But my best wasn’t good enough”? Yes? It’s because the best of that person isn’t really good enough! Reality check, your university has standards that it has to uphold. A world class university will not accept a mediocre student with mediocre grades. This is the reason why the phrase: “I’ll give it my best!” is not a good phrase sometimes. The reason being: what we think of as the best doesn’t match the standards the the university set.

I’ve had students who came to me during grade consultations before saying: “Sir binigay ko best ko” etc. Well the reality is that won’t do them well if their scores did not meet the required minimum passing mark.

Here’s the key: if you’ve been giving it your best lately and sometimes you still fail certain exams, DO MORE than your best. “GO THE EXTRA MILE.” What do I mean by that? Well maybe you’ve just been allotting 30 minutes of study time (real study time) to prepare for an exam. No reason you’re failing! Go the extra mile. Study 2 hours next time (real study time). You’ll definitely see your grades improve. If by the next time your grades significantly improve to a passing mark, GO THE EXTRA MILE again. Now, from 2 hours of study time make it 4, 6, 8 and so on and so forth. I guarantee you that your grades will significantly improve.

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5) Trust in the sovereignty of God

Proverbs 21:31
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.

Once you’ve done numbers 1-4. You’ve resolved to honor God, you’ve worked hard and given it your best, you’ve managed your time wisely and have gone the distance in preparing for finals week… you now leave the results up to God. You’ve done your part, the rest is up to Him.

You may be at the point where you need a score of 80% to get a passing grade. You did numbers 1-4 this 2 weeks consistently, however the results will be all up to God. Trust in Him and Trust that his grace will be sufficient for you.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God bless in preparing for the finals week! 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Life Lessons

 

Never Too Young Part 1 – Vision

Young people are the future leaders of society. They are the movers and shapers of cultures around the world. We see the media, entertainment, and marketing industries across the globe being highly influenced by the needs and the wants of the young people. 42% of the world’s population is below the age of 24, almost half of the entire population. These facts alone should be evidence enough to conclude that the direction of the future of our society will be dictated by what will influence the young people.

I go to a church named Every Nation and in this Church movement, we believe in young people. This is our calling as a world-wide family of churches. We believe that it’s never too early for anyone to make a positive impact. I’m so happy to be part of a church that is highly invested in the youth, specifically students. To know more about Every Nation’s heart for the young people you may click on the link below and get a glimpse of our campus ministry.

http://www.everynation.org/our-mission/campus-ministry/

In the Bible, it’s unmistakably clear how God had used young people to impact society. We see this in the story of David, Samuel and Timothy just to name a few. One of the most well known verse in the Bible that talks about how big of an impact a young person can make can be seen in 1 Timothy 4:12. This is where the Apostle Paul encourages and instructs his young protege named Timothy.

1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

The reason Paul exhorted this to him is because Timothy was leading people older than him. Historians said that Timothy pastored a church when he was as young as 16 years old. Indeed, someone can never be too young to make an impact.

Last Saturday we had our triannual Shared Lives Discipleship Meeting. We do this so that they can have a time for fellowship and fun but also to cast to them the vision of Honoring God and Making Disciples in their campuses. I shared to them about having a heart for the lost people, prioritizing sharing the gospel and believing God to give them a vision for their campuses.

Shared Lives Part 1

VISION

I believe that God wants to give young people like them today a personal vision of how He will use them for his glory. I also believe that it’s no accident that they are there in the campus they’re in right now. I believe God wants them to excel in their studies but at the same time give them a vision on how he’ll use them to make disciples. Acts 2:17 talks about how God gives young people vision (Greek: horasis meaning the act of seeing)

Acts 2:17
” ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

THE POWER OF VISION

Vision is such a powerful thing to have. Never underestimate the power of vision. Bill Hybels said in his book Courageous Leadership that vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in us. I highly recommend reading Bill Hybel’s book: Courageous Leadership to learn more about vision and to see how big of an impact vision creates.

I remember that time when God gave me a vision of how discipleship can change the world. I said to myself that if we just made disciples one person at a time then we can definitely turn this world right side up. That vision wrecked my life (in a good way) my life was never the same again after God made me understand the power of discipleship.

Major movements, life changing events and other great episodes in history all started with a vision. The vision for those things originated from a single man or a group of people. I believe that anyone with so much vision can change and impact the world. I believe that this is one thing that young people needs:

A God-honoring and Biblical Vision

APPLICATION

If you’re here and you’re reading this blog, pray and ask God for a vision. What is the vision that he wants for your life that he wants you to see? He wants to give you a vision, maybe you just don’t know it yet. Ask him for a vision so compelling that you will not be able to sleep because of this. 🙂 Ask Him for a picture of what could be in your given situation and context. Maybe you’re part of an organization in school and something just doesn’t seem right. Maybe you are close to a group of people whose life are a mess right now. Maybe the culture of your campus is not pleasing to God i.e. (a culture of mediocrity, drugs, violence etc. etc.). What change does God want to see happen?

Picture in your minds what God wants to see materialized. Pray and seek God’s will. After you’ve confirmed the vision he’s giving you through the Holy Spirit, keep that vision in your heart. Don’t lose sight of it. That vision will disturb you (in a good way). It will lead you to proactively do things that will turn that vision into a reality one simple step at a time.

Young people… They’re never too young to receive a vision from God on what he wants them to do. Imagine if all young people today would receive a vision from God and commits to trust God to turn that vision into a reality. Imagine the impact it’ll make in our society, nation and the rest of the world!

Praying that you’ll receive a God-Honoring vision soon if don’t have one yet. God bless! 🙂

Shared Lives Part 2

UP NEXT: Never Too Young Part 2 – Reality

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Leadership

 

Pao Santi testimony (Get Wired to the FULL LIFE)

Last week, we had our recently concluded event titled: LIVE – Get Wired to the FULL LIFE. It was a great event which hosted 160+ LaSallian and St. Scholastican students. We hold events like these to invite first timers to Church and help them get to know how to live LIFE to the FULL. People had fun at LIVE and at the same time got to know about the one true light of the world: Jesus Christ.

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Another thing that happens whenever we conduct events like these, is we see students maximize their giftings and talents for the sake of advancing God’s kingdom. Many new student’s talents were discovered during the planning and execution of this event. Students also grow in their leadership skills since they had to deal with other people together in accomplishing a goal. One person whose leadership skill was tested the most is Paolo Santillan.

Pao Santi Final

Pao was the overall project head this time around. That means he had to lead different committee heads for this event. Pao did an awesome job for this LIVE and has grown tremendously in character, skills and leadership. I’m really so proud of him and you would be too if you just knew more about his story.

Pao’s Story

I met Pao around 4-5 years ago at KFC near our church in Victory Malate. His sister introduced him to me and was totally NR. I tried to engage him but he wasn’t responsive, it felt like he wasn’t interested in meeting new people in Church. I got his number so that I could invite him to our discipleship group, however, he didn’t reply to me that time. 😦 Siguro may pinagdadaanan siya back then. (Hi Pao Santi!)

Everything Happens for a Reason

After that initial encounter with Pao 4-5 years ago, I didn’t see him as often anymore in Church. I’d catch him once in a while but he’d still be NR to me. Little did I know that he was undergoing a tough time during that season. How’d I know? Check out his testimony below:

As Pao said, those were the times where he started to walk away from God because he blamed him for all the bad choices he made. He had so many unfortunate events that happened in his life, he started to drink, stopped going to class and hanged out with people who couldn’t help him. Pao would later drop out from DLSU and transfer to CSB.

God of Second Chances

For many people, that could have been the end. Getting kicked out from a school would probably make you feel like a failure. The good thing though is that life’s always full of second chances. Failure is just an event, it’s not a person and God will always give us another shot of getting it right with Him. We’ve all been there, we’ve all failed at one point but we thank God for the continuous outpouring of his forgiveness and grace.

Pao started to go back to church back in 2012. He mentioned to me that he saw church as an opportunity of trying to get back in good terms with his family. He attended a youth camp with his sisters and the rest was history. In that camp, Pao encountered God and finally took his walk with Him seriously.

The youth camp was summer of 2012 and when the school year came, that’s when he started doing 121 and growing in his walk with Jesus. By 2013, he started leading his own life group in CSB and people started to notice the gift of leadership in his life. He started exhorting in our youth services and discipleship meetings encouraging others students with God’s word. The gift of wisdom is very evident in his life. He also started leading and organizing discipleship meetings for our campus ministry in DLSU and CSB.

Last March 11 he was able to lead a successful event: LIVE. One of the biggest he’s ever handled. From the person who didn’t like making new friends in Church to the person that he’s now become, clearly this is one unique turnaround story by God. 🙂

Also, as much as he’s leading events in our campus ministry, he doesn’t forget his other priorities. Pao today continues to disciple others, grow in his relationship with his family and excel in school. A few weeks ago he told me how he got the highest grade in class from a subject that’s known to be difficult in Benilde. God is indeed gracious and can help turn around someone’s life 180 degrees. It’s really true what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

We have millions of stories whose lives has been turned around by Christ. Pao’s story is just one of them. The reason why Pao Santi’s life has turned around is because of one person: Jesus Christ.

LIVE – Get Wired to the FULL LIFE isn’t just a nice title for an event so that we can get people to go. It’s an event ran by students whose lives has been personally changed by God himself and are all now living life to the fullest. 🙂

I know that Pao still has a long way to go. There’d still be more challenges to face but I just know that as long as he continues to walk in Christ then he’d always be living life to the full. Pao is one of many world changers who’d continue to affect other people’s lives one person at a time. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Discipleship