There’s one part of my life that not many people may know about me today. Almost a decade ago, my life went down a spiral of decadence. It all started when an obvious pattern of fits of rage, panic and sometimes even even a slight manifestation of Dementia started showing themselves. They ruined my relationships, my studies and even my ministry. (more…)
What’s the most dangerous thing that you’ve ever said to God? Was it “God, I don’t believe in you,” or “Jesus, you are no longer my Lord”? You’ll be surprised to know the most dangerous words I’ve ever spoken to God are far from that spectrum. (more…)
If you’re reading this post, there’s a possibility that you haven’t gotten to writing your faith goals/new year’s resolutions/whatever you wanna call them yet, or maybe you haven’t finished up on them yet. And that’s okay! Only one day has passed in 2017 and you still have 364 more to get more done this year than you’ve ever done before. But it’s got to start with a plan. (more…)
“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Of all routines, one of the most serene would have to be the time I spend running. I run inside our village which is very quiet and has a lot of trees and wide roads. But yesterday, while I was getting back from my regular afternoon run, I was startled by a loud roaring and banging from behind me. I thought I was going to turn around to see a huge truck or large SUV coming my way. But it wasn’t. (more…)
I’ve been reading through Exodus this season break and it’s amazing how such familiar stories can speak to you in completely new ways. As of this morning, I’ve arrived to the part where Moses and the Israelites had their first encounter with an enemy outside Egypt- the Amalekites (Exodus 17). (more…)
One of the biggest traditions surrounding Christmas is the belief that it’s also the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. I’ve so far counted as many as two-hundred “happy birthday, Jesus!” posts on my news feed alone.
I hate to be the grinch that stole the Christmas spirit, but Christmas isn’t really Jesus’ actual birthday. Scholars say that Jesus was probably born around Spring and not winter considering how impossibly terrible of a condition it would be to have a baby in a manger in the middle of winter and the timing of the Roman census which was the time Christ was born as well.
So where did Christmas start and why do we celebrate it really? This may sound kind of weird to begin with, but Christmas is actually more about warfare than it is about some worldwide birthday celebration. Yes, warfare.
Christmas celebrations are surrounded around so many pagan beliefs, characters and practices. December 25 was first a day of celebration called Saturnilia, a time of debauchery and sin for the people of Rome, who would worship the Roman god Saturn in a week-long festival. Gift giving was done for “good luck,” and in the 18th century, even “Christian” Christmas celebrations were topped with recklessnesss, drunkenness and rowdy behavior (sounds pretty much like today).
The Christmas nay-sayer camp will look at all at this and say, “Christmas is from the devil!” But is it really?
My view of Christmas is it’s a day of warfare- where God has come to reclaim things that the enemy has stolen, killed and destroyed and for Christ to give life to the full (John 10:10). In attempts to “reclaim” December from Saturnilia, the church established the celebration of Christ’s coming in December. Jesus came into a broken and sinful world to win it back from sin and death. Everything about Christmas is about winning back the world to Christ.
Christmas might not be Jesus’ birthday, but it is the beginning of a revolution against the kingdom of darkness.
If by anything, Christmas isn’t a birthday party, but a day to remind us the importance of the gospel and why it must be preached. Such a large chunk of the world’s population still do not know the Christ we proclaim come Christmas day, and God calls us to be His mouthpiece to proclaim the truth of God’s gospel.
Christmas might not be Jesus’ birthday, but it is the beginning of a revolution against the kingdom of darkness. It’s a day to commemorate the day a humble birth in a run-down manger became the mark of our eternal hope pinned on a baby. Pagan priests came to worship Him, despised shepherds came to adore Him, and all in a dying town where nothing good came out of.
Christmas isn’t as glamorous as we think it is in the natural, but in the spirit, Christmas is the birth of a glorious future for all mankind. Jesus may not have been born on December, but we are given this privilege to bear hope for many come this day. Let’s not forget that Christmas is that opportunity to win back this world for Christ and to win back the fallen parts of us and surrender it back to Him.
It’s been almost a month since my last blog, and I feel so bad about it, but I just have to admit that I have been extra hectic the past few weeks- 4 big projects, so many changes to be made in the ministry come this 2017, a big gift giving program (where 300+ kids were the beneficiaries) and as many as 7 Christmas parties. Whew!
I have to say that 2016 has gone out with a bang, and I hope that the same can only be true with you. And yet everything boils down to these last few days- the dusk of the year and the closing scenes to what has yet been another great chapter to this life we all have the privilege of walking together.
Before we get to our Noche Buenas (and if you’re reading this), I hope to take the last few moments blogging and sharing just one thought with you before we all start the most awaited celebration of the year- Christmas is the best time to live out the greatest commandment ever given.
Jesus once urged us to live a life of love saying: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
It’s virtually impossible to live out the true meaning of Christmas- Christ- without living out this great command that He gave to us. Here are two simple ways to make the most of the Christmas season through the greatest command.
Make Christ the Center of Your Celebration
As we did our small gift-giving project for three-hundred plus kids with Camp Sonshine Center last December 17, I was reminded truly of what this season is all about- bringing glory to Christ. I was reminded of this once again as we joined all three hundred kids along with benefactors and missionaries in worshipping the name of Jesus together in a song in our native dialect.
Here’s a video of that event.
I have to admit that my eyes were “sweating” at the sight. It reminded me of the examples the heavenly hosts set for us in Luke 2:13-14: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'” We are all given this opportunity to lift Christ’s name this Christmas.
Enjoy Relationships More Than Anything
We were made by God to be relational beings. At one point, I thought that my life was destined to be alone until God opened by eyes to the reality of the blessing of relationships and how He calls us to enjoy them. We are surrounded by family, friends, church community and colleagues who care deeply about us and in return we are given this privilege to be God’s extension of love and grace to each other.
Christmas is so much more than just the gifts and food. It’s about whom you share them with. Let’s not forget to truly express our joy, gratitude and love for our neighbors- our family and friends.
A few days ago, I walked into the newly opened H&M and came across this really nice blazer. (show picture) I was so attached to it, but it was just out of my price range. I wanted it so bad I thought about it for days. (more…)
If you’ve been following the presidential election or just have a social media account of any sort then you have probably heard that we now have a President Donald Trump on American history books. The reactions on my news feed have been mixed so far- some are agitated, others funny, while others hopeless. (more…)
Last Sunday, I was with my family at SM City after attending the 11AM service at Victory Iloilo and was killing time before our 2:30PM Victory Group with some couples at church. Me and my wife decided to pass by an ATM to withdraw some money so we passed by one and my wife (who handles our finances) put in the card. After a few minutes of waiting I got curious why it was taking my wife so long to withdraw. (more…)