Honor God with Moolah

Prov. 3:9  Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
Prov. 3:10  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Contrary to a religious mindset that money is intrinsically evil, we can honor God through our wealth. Maybe, the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about this is tithing. We definitely honor the Lord when we give the tithe or 10% because it is a reminder that everything comes from Him. Giving it is a way of saying to God – thank you and an acknowledgment that He is the source.  He does not need it. But the tithe is His anyway. We are merely returning what belongs to Him.
But guess what, it is not only the tithe that is His. The whole amount of our wealth is His.
Psa. 24:1  The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
The money in your bank account is not yours but God’s. Your house, your car, your clothes, your computer, everything that you own is really owned by God. He owns everything. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and yet He doesn’t eat burger. He does not need it. Yet He owns it.
What this is saying now is not only is our giving honoring to God but how we steward our wealth should be honoring to God.
God does not just look at our giving but even our spending, saving, investing, etc. We are not owners. We are stewards. God is the title deed holder.
Every time God gives us income, we have five uses for it.
–    Tithing
–    Taxes
–    Support a lifestyle
–    Debt repayment
–    Savings and investment
Three of the five uses are consumptive (tax, living expenses and debt) which means that money you use is gone or consumed. Only two uses are productive in nature (namely tithing and saving) which means that the money you use here grows exponentially. Savings earns through compounding interest whereas tithing is a seed that multiplies in the supernatural realm and will come back as a great harvest in the future.
God always looks at the whole pie and not just the 10% that we give Him.
First question, “Are we honoring God through our giving?”
Next question, “Are we honoring God in handling the remaining amount?”
More of these in my next blogs.

Source: Finances

Not Now I’m Busy

Have you ever felt like running out of gas in your walk with God? You’re doing a lot for Him and yet you feel so distant. It’s like riding a stationary bike – you are busy spinning and sweating but you are not going anywhere.
When a religious leader asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is, Jesus answered “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And he followed up and said the second is like it, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
Jesus used the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate how to love our neighbor (Luke 10:30-37). Then he used the story of the two sisters Mary and Martha to illustrate how we should love God.
Luke 10:41  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about MANY THINGS,
Luke 10:42 but only ONE THING is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
An insight that comes to mind when I read these verses was the difference between many things and one thing. When we find ourselves doing many things to please God, it is really born out of duty. But we need to just find the one thing to get to Him. That is born out of our pure devotion to Him.
Martha wanted Jesus to tell Mary to help her.  But He said that Mary has chosen what is better. God is not pushing us to do many things. He is calling us to do just one thing and that is to enjoy him.
Remember, ministry is just an overflow of our relationship with God. Not the other way around.
Matt. 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS will be given to you as well.
When we seek the ONE THING, then ALL THESE THINGS will follow.

Source: Faith

I Love You Three Times A Day

A happy marriage can be elusive to some but a reality to others. I married Shirley in 1990 at the age of 22. And God gave us wonderful children after almost twenty years of marriage- Bea, Jerome (+), Ana and Andrea. I am so grateful to God for the wife that He’s given me. We realize that marriage is not just something that we coast along with. It takes a lot of hard work in order to build a strong marriage.
We are called to honor God in our marriages. We need to protect our marriage vows. After God, the most important human relationship we need to keep and prioritize is that of our spouse.
What you honor, you value.  And what you value, you prioritize.
Eph. 5:22  ¶     Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
Eph. 5:25  ¶     Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Some of the ways that we can honor our spouse and help boost our marriages are:
•    Everyday you need to listen to the most important voice in heaven. Likewise, we need to listen to the most important voice on earth – your spouse.
•   Meet your spouse’s needs. Don’t just look at your needs.
•    Have a regular date night. Many of the conflicts can be avoided when you have a consistent time together just to bond.
•    Engage in meaningful conversation – one that has emotional connection. This requires talking and listening (on both sides).
•    Respect your spouse’s opinion. You don’t monopolize all the world’s wisdom.
•    Say “I love you” at least three times a day. No, its not a title to a movie but it’s one good habit that we need to have.
•    Kiss passionately. Yup! You heard me right. It bonds you almost instantaneously. Medical science gives several benefits of kissing. It releases tension. It aids in weight loss. It slows the aging process. It increases fitness. It boosts self-esteem. And it prevents tooth decay (I think you have to do it with brushing.) Just to name a few.
•    Have sex regularly. I’d rather not elaborate on this one.
A good, no, a great marriage not only honors God but is also the most precious gift that you can give your children.

Source: Family

Michael Jackson Theology (Re-mix)

Shirley and I were watching the memorial service for Michael Jackson this morning. We were  touched by the eulogy given to him by his friends and family.  I was inspired to write something. Here goes:
We are called to HEAL THE WORLD, to make it a better place
It doesn’t matter if you’re BLACK OR WHITE
Whether you’re BEN or BILLIE JEAN
You’ve got to make a difference
But first you have to look at the MAN IN THE MIRROR
You want to start to make a change
Because you realize that you’re BAD
And that inside you look like a THRILLER
But that’s just HUMAN NATURE
Temptation says, “I want to ROCK WITH YOU.”
You’ve got to BEAT IT
Many times you want to say “LEAVE ME ALONE”
Because you feel like a SMOOTH CRIMINAL
You might respond, “LEAVE ME ALONE.”
Bye Mj. Thank you for the music.

Source: Uncategorized

When Cool Is No Longer Cool by Craig Groeschel

I am reposting a blog by Craig Groeschel. He is the Senior Pastor of Lifechurch.Tv in the U.S. – a cutting edge church that ministers using internet as a medium. They produce top calibre videos to make the gospel easy to understand and relevant for our times. He emphasizes that while the modern church needs to be relevant in its preaching method, it should not replace substance with style and dependence on the Holy Spirit with gimmickry. A good reminder for all of us who are called to pastor. The blog goes:
The [American] Church is not lacking for “cool” pastors. Like a single guy who is trying just-a-bit-too-hard to impress a girl, some churches are simply trying too hard to be cool.
I’m very encouraged to see a shifting in direction. For years, many of us seemed focused on:
* Designing relevant church experiences.
* Producing entertaining videos.
* Creating inviting environments.
* Crafting sermon series to draw a crowd.
* Writing sermons with shock value and plenty of humor or stories.
While all of the above can be effective tools, many of my friends are intentionally moving in a stronger direction. So many great Christian leaders are seeing far better results with:
* Bathing a sermon in prayer.
* Fasting regularly.
* Practicing personal confession and repentance.
* Preaching from the overflow of time alone in God’s word.
* Caring deeply for others in biblical community.
I’m thrilled so many leaders are placing less emphasis on being cool and more emphasis on being like Christ.
We are called to disciple, lead and preach. Not just to entertain people.

Source: Church

I Love This Church!

I am so grateful for this church. I got saved  23 years ago as a sophomore student and got involved in the life of the church. I’ve seen the church grow from a handful of people to now almost 40 thousand (in Metro Manila) in 13 locations. Back in 1986, we knew everyone in church by name (no kidding). It was so small that during a mid-week service if the worship team would go to the stage to sing, about five people would be left sitting in the congregation (a little exaggerated here).  I knew as a young believer that the honor of God is to be pursued at all cost – even in the way we do church.
By honoring God in church, it means that we build this church around God and not around a pastor or a group of pastors. We want to give God the credit always. We give God the honor by honoring one another – by not keeping offense and spreading it like wildfire. By God’s grace, we have not seen any church split after twenty five years of doing ministry. We may not agree on everything in a meeting in the conference room but when we go out (after a decision is made) we are in full support with one another.
We honor God in church by realizing that this is His body and that we need to walk united and connected with one another. Jesus will not come back for  mutilated bride but a glorious church without spot, blemish or wrinkle.
Eph. 5:27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Jesus loves His church. He gave His life for His bride. Let us honor Him by keeping the unity of the faith.
I love this Church!

Source: Church

Honor God

Had a great time in church service yesterday. The presence of God was there. We started with a new series entitled www.victory (The what, why and who of Victory). This month we are celebrating 25 years of Victory as a church. We are culminating it with a celebration in Araneta Coliseum on July 24. Get your tickets now. We hope to see you there.
Yesterday, we talked about honoring God. This is the ultimate motive of why we do what we do. We give God the credit. We honor God because He is worthy. We worship him for who he is and not just for what He does or give us. We are to honor God not just in church on Sunday but everyday in every way. We honor God in our marriage, in our family, in our work, in our finances and even with our body.
One of the verses that stuck to me is found in Malachi 2:2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. The Israelites were in a backslidden state and was warned by God through the prophet Malachi.
We are to set our hearts to honor God. Not because we fear that He will curse us but out of reverence and gratitude.
Before doing anything, ask yourself the question ,”Will this thing honor God?”

Source: Church

Don’t Wait to Say It Til They’re Dead. . . (4 Funerals and a Wedding)

This past week I have seen 4 funerals of people that I know. Two of them are family members of church members and the other 2 are celebrities – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.
One thing I notice about funerals is that friends and relatives would  honor their dead through eulogy which is a tribute to the person who passed away.
I was deeply touched by the stories and testimonies that friends and family shared about the deceased. Those were wonderful words of appreciation.
Eccl. 7:1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.

Solomon said that death is better than birth because death is the summation of a person’s life. What will people say about us when we are finally lying down in our casket?  What would you like them to say about you? The words spoken are dependent on how you live your life NOW and how you will nurture the relationships that you have.
While I agree that words of honor should be said about a person when he is dead to summarize his life’s accomplishments and celebrate the relationships that he made. We need to take the time to honor our loved ones while they are still alive.  Let them hear how much we love and appreciate them.
Do not wait until they are dead before you say those beautiful speeches.
Say it while they can hear it.
In contrast, a wedding is an ocassion where the couple openly say what they feel for each other.
I like going to  weddings. It’s a celebration of a couple’s love for each other.
Tonight, I am officiating a renewal of vows ceremony for a couple in church. They have been married for 25 years.  They will be expressing their commitment to one another. And they will do it publicly before friends and family. They will say how much they love and appreciate each other and will make a promise that they will be faithful to the other until the very end.
Of course, words of affirmation should not just be said during the wedding ceremony but should be a regular part of the married life.
1Th. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Source: Faith

The King of Pop meets the King of Kings

I was checking my facebook yesterday when I saw many of the status notifications say that MJ is dead. I asked myself, who’s MJ? Michael Jordan? Magic Johnson? Mick Jagger? Then I turned on CNN and saw the breaking news. It was Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson died at 50. He was supposed to start what he termed as “The Last Curtain Call”- a 50 day concert tour. He accomplished a lot in terms of being a “genius” of an artist. Received numerous awards and accolades. He re-invented pop music and funk. Thus, getting the title King of Pop.
But the sudden death of MJ has sent a lot of tremors in the entertainment/ music industry around the world. Millions of fans are grieving because of the demise of their idol. As the different TV networks are giving their tribute to the king, you would realize how much he shaped the music world in the last 5 decades. But there were also negative things that were said about him. On June 27, 2009, the final curtain did close on Michael Jackson. The King of Pop met the King of Kings.
I realized that no matter how famous or infamous you are, we ALL have ONE SHOT at life. Life is short. Our life on earth is limited. Our time is ticking away. Everyday, we are closer to our appointment with death.

Heb. 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
The question is, “Are you living your life to make a positive impact in this generation?”.
Next question, “Are you ready to meet your Maker?”
Don’t be a fool. Live life to the full.

Source: Faith

What’s the Difference Between School and Life?

I want to share something that Shirley wrote in her journal. I am publishing this article with her permission.

What’s the difference between school and life?
In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test.
In life, you’re given a test that teaches a lesson. – Tom Bodette

One of the most difficult lessons in life is how to accept loss. – Kerry & Chris Shook

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.
We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy. – Tim Hansel

These are just some of the sayings that I read and found true in my life.  And with these I would like to add the top 2 lessons I have learned so far in life:
1.  We can take on anything that happens in life as long as we are in unity.
Unity does not come easy.  In marriage, we need to constantly fight for it.  We strive to live by it.  We nurture it.  And we guard it.  Aside from passion and purpose, peace is a fuel that keep us going where God has destined us as a family.
There are millions of reasons and ways to ruin unity;  misunderstandings, miscommunications, misconceptions.  Not to mention the difficulties and challenges all married couples face as they go through life.  These will either make or break a relationship. These hard truths are capable of strengthening or destroying marriages.
And the sad fact is, much of those turn relationships sour, bitter and many a time, utter cold that lead to seperation. Choose to be in unity in the midst of trials.  This is our weapon.  Our husband or wife is not the enemy.  He or she should be our greatest ally.
Ariel and I may not agree on every issue at hand, but we agreed on resolving all conflicts!
We may not see eye to eye, but we can walk hand in hand.
2.   We can recover from losses in life, in time, if we are in the vine.
I have heard, read and encountered countless stories of marriages that resulted in divorce because of considerable loss:  loss of a loved one, loss of trust because of unfaithfulness, loss of something of value.  I attest, it is tough to lose someone you can never ever replace or something you can never recover!  It is devastating.  It is mind-altering.  It is awfully painful!
One night, at a party, after the death of our son, a friend asked me how I am doing.  I responded by saying,  “I don’t think I can recover from this loss.  The grief is overwhelming.  It is too painful.  It has seared my soul.  It has cut me to the core of my being.”  Then she said, “No, you will recover.”  At that time, I did not believe her. I thought, “You don’t know what you’re saying.  You don’t have any idea how much I’m hurting!”
They say time heals. No, Jesus only heals.  Time naturally, in its course, helps heal wounds.  But it is Jesus who makes us whole and complete and gives us the ability to run again.  It is not enough to heal, it is also important to get back on track.
We need to be always connected to the vine if we are to recover from any losses.  The daily outpouring of our deepest sorrow to Jesus is able to heal and transform us emotionally.  The daily expression of our trust and faith unto His loving arms, despite what happened, is able to grow us spiritually.  And only He is able to restore us completely.

Source: Freedom