3 Qualities of a Champion

3 Qualities of a Champion

What does NBA Golden State Warriors 2015 Champs, Chicago Bulls of the 90’s and Joshua plus Caleb of the Bible have in common? They’re all champions. They all went through a lot of challenges and trials before they achieved the goal that they wanted. They went through tough oppositions but in the end they succeeded and won. I believe none of us wants to be a loser but we want to win the battles that we take every season of our lives. We want to win in all aspects of our lives – family, finances, relationship, academics and even in our spiritual lives.

Paul mentioned in his letter, Romans 8, that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. What are the makings of a winner, a champion or a conqueror?

  1. They all have a clear picture of the goal. For an NBA team, its the championship trophy and for Joshua and Caleb, the Promise Land. The clarity of your goal will determine the amount of strength, discipline and willpower that you will exude as you journey through life.
  2. They have resilience. Resilience is the ability to respond right and bounce back from discouraging and tragic moments. For Caleb and Joshua, though they were faced with rejection and stoning because the people were not convince they can claim the promise land, yet they responded with faith and stood up for what they believe what God promised them.
  3. They went through it as a team. I think the saddest idea in the world is that you can win this life alone. It may be possible, but it’s not complete. Life in its fullness requires people involved in your life. You need some who can encourage you and help you when all odds are against you. Steph Curry has Iggy and Draymond and the whole team. Michael Jordan has Pippen, Joshua and Caleb are fighting together. That’s why they win and claim the goal that they envisioned.

Which of the three do you think you need to have or improve to experience a life of a champion?

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The One Thing You Need to do When You Worry

The One Thing You Need to do When You Worry

I read a passage in the Bible about worrying found in Matthew 6:25-34. As I read it now, it speaks more volume to me than when I read it few years back. It seems like age is directly proportional to how many worries you have. But Jesus did talk about it in his time knowing that this is part of human nature and He wanted us to know what to do when it comes.

He said, But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

I believe Jesus was specific about the worries that people faced in their time. Basic needs like food and clothing, but I also believe that we can expand the application of worry to our careers, relationships and finances. Worry is a result of a misplaced trust. When we trust something and we realize that it will soon not deliver properly, we panic and we become anxious until we get frustrated. So Jesus’ solution is to refocus your trust in His kingdom and His righteousness.

  • His kingdom means his dominion or his control. God wants us to know that He is in charge and he is in control.
  • His righteousness means he will not wrong you and harm you. He desires to make you live the way he designed life to be. He wants you to live your life to the full.

And the bonus part to the solution is that God will show you how good He is as a provider and a Father. So when you feel worried, may you know and trust that God is in control and He desires to make you live life to its fullest. By His grace you will move forward from your worries and experience the best that God has for you.

 

Important Questions to Ask Ourselves as We Enter 2016

Important Questions to Ask Ourselves as We Enter 2016
As 2016 enters, we are aware about the direction we need to take as we start our year. That’s one of the reasons why we list down our goals, “one-thing” or resolutions. Maybe you haven’t listed your goals for 2016 because of the busyness of the holidays so, I would like to suggest these questions can help you arrive at your “one-thing” for the year or resolutions for 2016.
  • What would challenge my status quo?
  • What are my values?
  • What kind of person does God want me to be?
  • What legacy do I want to leave?
Hope these questions give guidance to you as you enter a joyful and peaceful 2016.
Happy New Year!

My Top 10 Encouragements that Inspired Me Through the Year

My Top 10 Encouragements that Inspired Me Through the Year

2015 is about to end and one of the things I want to look back are the encouragements that I received and inspired me to move forward and do what God called me to do. Leaving the Philippines to do campus ministry in San Diego is really a leap of faith and just like anyone else, I need encouragement when I feel discouraged and don’t know what to do. I’m glad it came at the right time, sometimes from people I don’t expect. But whether I knew them or not – I’m grateful it came. This list is not meant to disregard anyone who prayed and gave me a message of inspiration. But these people came in where I needed a boost and changed the way I see my situation.

So here’s my top ten this 2015:

Sheryl Price (a nurse from Cook County) – she approached us and prayed for us as a family and said “Your ministry will be fruitful and you will be calling people from the dark…”

Nixon Ng – my pastor from Victory Malate. At the time I needed encouragement after being discouraged about my visa he said “We’re here for you.”

Gregg Tipton – Ten Days Director from Nashville, we met in an event in Florida. He told me, “I admire your faith going to one of the most expensive cities in the US. You need to be a man of faith for you to stay there.”

Robert Hern – my pastor in Victory San Diego, at one of our conversation he told me, “It’s always better to stay in the Philippines, but we cannot missed what God is doing here in San Diego.”

Joel Monsalud – one of our friends here in San Diego, a retired Navy told us when we just newly transferred to our apartment in San Diego and we practically have nothing but clothes, “It’s ok, we all started like this, just pray to God and He will provide the things that you need.” Indeed, it happened slowly but surely.

The woman in the grocery – I don’t know her, but she paid our groceries after the cashier encoded it. She just said “I got this.” It reminded me that God does miracles whenever he wants.

Joe Bonifacio – we just had a short conversation after they arrived in San Diego, he told me after I shared my ups and down experiences here, “You can do this.”

Dahlia and Lars Lone – they sent us gifts that helped us start here in San Diego and in the note that came with it says “Hope these gifts help you as you follow God’s calling. Isaiah 65:24”

My Wife – she always tells me that she’s proud of me. “I’m proud of you and we grateful that you lead us well. I love you.”

Jesus – Nope, I haven’t seen Jesus yet, but I get encouragement from His words when He said, “I am with you always…”

I know the list can be as long as how many friends I have. I am grateful to everyone who spoke life to me and to my family. It was a great 2015. I am excited what God will do this 2016.

Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25

 

When You Feel Christmas is Not for You

When You Feel Christmas is Not for You

Christmas is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year. For most of us, it reminds us of fun and good memories of our childhood. It excites us to think that we give and receive gifts from people we love and maybe even from strangers.

But not everyone shares the same sentiment when Christmas comes. For some, it is the saddest part of the year because it reminds them of the things that they don’t have or relationships that they will never have. Christmas somehow acts as an amplifier of what has been brewing in our hearts. But when you feel that Christmas is not for you, I encourage you to think about this…

Christmas is a celebration of someone who came to redeem us and brought joy and peace to us. Jesus came so that in our darkest moments we can experience his light which helps us see and understand his purpose in all our suffering and pain. Jesus came to break the power of the evil one, he came to set the captives free from condemnation, guilt, depression and false burdens. He came so that we will have life, even in the midst of a loss of a loved one, a financial breakdown or a personal melt down.

Therefore Christmas is a celebration of the hope that came more than 2000 years ago. It means that waiting for the ultimate meaning, hope and life has come to an end. The waiting is over. We don’t need to look for it from stuff, people or events that come and go. All we need to do is to believe that Jesus was sent by our Perfect Heavenly Father for us, to redeem and bring joy and peace to us.

If you are discouraged right now, remember that Jesus can come at your darkest moment so He can bring the joy and peace that you need. All you need to do is believe that He is willing and able to do it in your life.

Merry Christmas and a faith-filled holiday to you!

5 Steps to Jump-Start Your Bible Reading

Bible and Coffee
Bible reading with a hot coffee at the side — perfect combination.
As a follower of Jesus, the Bible is really an essential part of my relationship with Him. I believe reading the Bible is not to gain the favor of God (as if we can on our own…) but for us to know Him more in all circumstances of our lives. But there are times when we skip reading it. For many of us, the reasons are really lousy. Let’s admit it. But for some, the reason of skipping are valid. Nevertheless, not reading the Bible will certainly kill our passion for His words and that is dangerous. I find it difficult to come back to my Bible reading after skipping one or two. For some of you, you are just starting to read the Bible but you find it too overwhelming to read. These are some of the problems (sometimes excuses) I face when I don’t “feel” like reading the Bible or would like to skip it.
  • I have no time.
  • I can’t understand it.
  • It’s boring.
  • I don’t know where to start.
  • Checking Facebook and other media first.
Maybe you experienced at least one of these problems. But I would like to share some wisdom I got from people I follow and through the years of reading it. Here are my 5 tips to jump-start your Bible reading.
  1. Pray. Need to say more? I believe left on our will we will not enjoy reading God’s inspired words. Prayer is a declaration of our dependence on God. Apart from His Spirit our minds and hearts will not be inspired to go to His words. I believe this should be first among the 5 I know. The rest will follow.
  2. Get a plan. Get a devotional book or plan from youversion.com. When I was in high school, I used My Daily Bread as my guide in reading the Bible. This helps me follow something. I think when there no plan of reading God’s word, our passion will dwindle along the way. Today, there are a lot of good reading plan found in the internet. It can even help you finish the whole Bible in a year!
  3. Go small portion. Momentum is the key. After a couple of missed, the hard part is to get back in the habit of reading. Just like exercise, it’s difficult to go back to the same intensity where you left. I believe the wise way to get back is to read small portions of the Scripture until you feel the momentum.
  4. Start reading when your mind is fresh. Usually in the morning or whenever you start your day. I believe there is something at stake when we don’t read and meditate it when we start our day. I believe our minds are in trouble if we put something else aside from God’s word. In effect, our faith is affected because faith comes from hearing God’s word (in this case you hear it in your mind as you read). Whatever we put first in our day will affect our heart and mind.
  5. Pick a place where you can read and concentrate. It can be a couch, or a place in your house where you have your own table. My personal favorite is our dining table, when no one is around with coffee on the side. That’s a great time for me to read and meditate God’s word.
Jesus quoted a verse that says “Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” If we want to live and experience its fullness, His Word is essential and cannot be neglected. If we decide to skip reading it, let’s remember, there is at stake — our faith. Hope the 5 tips help us to jump-start or jump back in our love for His words.

MayPac lesson I learned from the fight.

maypac

May 2, 2015. The date almost everyone is looking forward to.  People have been waiting for this fight for about 5 years and finally it has happened. Although the turn out wasn’t really what most of the people were expecting. Some said it was a boring fight, some said it was a waste of time and money, some congratulated the winner but many cheered for the loser of the fight — Manny Pacquiao.

It amazed me when Floyd was declared a winner, the majority booed him and didn’t appreciate what he has done. But Manny got a lot of cheer from his fans not just from the stadium but all over the media and the world. My question then is why did they still cheered for Manny (in some social media site, they said Manny should have won) but booed Floyd? What is the back story?

I believe what Manny had resonated beyond the boxing ring. He is more than a boxer, he is a great fighter and a great man in many respects. He really made a difference not just in his career but beyond it. He overcame many difficult situations in life that inspired many people. And the biggest thing that turned him into an unstoppable force is when he knew his Savior, Jesus Christ.

Floyd on the other hand, as he has spoken in one of his videos fought for money, record and legacy which I observed as very “me” centered.

I think the universal principle here is the more unselfish and humble we are the greater impact we’ll create. The opposite is also true, when we are self-centered and prideful, the little impact we’ll create in this world. I saw it after Manny lost and Floyd won the boxing match.  I observed these impacts that Manny Pacquiao made in his generation.

1. Whenever he has a fight, he is able to make the Filipino people (even other nationalities) watch and unite to support him. The immediate result of this is like having a holiday celebration with families and friends with lot’s of food on the table, not to mention zero crime rate and no traffic in Metro Manila for a day. Cool!

2. He inspires a lot of people to rise up from ashes to greatness.

3. Because of Manny’s exposure in the media, we hear a lot about his faith in Jesus Christ and Bible verses.

After 12 rounds of boxing. Manny lost the fight. But Manny’s life is not confined in the boxing ring that’s why after the match, people still cheered for him. His life made an impact to the world because he made a point that it wasn’t about him.

What can happen to our world if our lives  that makes positive impact to others? I believe we don’t need to be a Manny Pacquiao to make a difference. But we all need to refocus our lives from our selfish ambitions to Jesus. That’s how a person change the world.