“THANK YOU” – Joaquin

 

Just wanted to let you know that I’m back home.

My doctor, Dr. Cheng of Medical City discharged me noon today. The symptoms of Kawasaki are gone. My coronary artery is slightly enlarged with some water in it. But we are trusting God for complete healing. We were told that it usually resolves itself. It won’t resolve itself because God will…

Good thing is that we can do the 2D echo to monitor my heart as outpatient so I don’t have to stay in the hospital and eat hospital food which is not my most favorite.

To all who prayed with mommy and daddy and helped us through this challenging time, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

God is awesomely good.

SMALL GROUP? WHO NEEDS THAT?

We switched to small group ministry model at Victory some time ago because we realized that discipleship cannot happen in a crowd.  Back in Shangri La days, the church grew by huge numbers yet we weren’t sure how many were effectively being discipled.

Even Jesus had his small group of guys he was coaching and mentoring.

It has been the strategy we felt was applicable and effective.  Strategy is defined as a plan of action inteded to accomplish a specific goal.  Any strategy should be simple and easy to implement.

Understandably, we are open to other strategies if we see that something will work better but at this point, small groups is the way to go.

Why do we feel it’s applicable and effective?

1. Small groups help us engage people for Christ.

  • Many are willing to first attend a small group environment before coming to church.  “Some want to belong first before they are willing to believe.” (Andy Stanley)

2. Small groups equip every member to be a minister.

  • Ministry is not limited only to those who are in “full-time”.  Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us that the full time ministers job is to equip the people to do the works of ministry.

3. Small groups empower more people to serve.

  • Church has looked like a basketball game all too often – 10 players badly needing some rest, while 10,000 people who badly need some exercise, watch .

4. Small groups help establish authentic community.

  • Discipleship is relationship.  We’ve heard that all too often.  It’s relationship with God, with other believers and with the rest of the world.  Small groups help establish authentic community with fellow believers.

5. Small groups offer maximum flexibility.

  • Small group meetings can be anywhere – Starbucks, Pancake House, basketball court, office, at home… anywhere!

6. Small groups allow us to be better stewards of what God has given.

  • With small groups going on in many different locations, the need to have huge facilities will be at minimum so we can re-channel the funds for other ministry opportunities.

7. Small groups remove major growth limitations.

  • One of the major limitations to growth for churches is venue limitations.  Our Ortigas church meets in a very small space in a mall yet has more than 8,000 people.  How can this be?  Small groups!

So… what do you think?…  Let’s go!

FIGHTING BACK

joaquin-bp3For some divine reason, I just know that God has something in store for our youngest, Joaquin. Found to have 2 big tumors in his brain when he was 4 months old in his mommy’s tummy which miraculously disappeared within 2 months and now to this – suffering from a condition doctors call “Kawasaki”. God really must have something for this kid.

With the ongoing ordeal our youngest is going through, I remembered Pastor Jim Lafoon’s statement years ago that never left me. He said, “When the devil attacks my camp, I go into an all out war against him and I bombard his camp with everything I’ve got!”

Jenn asked me this afternoon at the hospital on my way out if I was going to preach at the 5 and 7 pm services. I said, “Yes. You bet!” Did I have I have a well crafted message prepared? Not really, but I was absolutely ready to fire away!

On my way to church today, I was fired up! I wasn’t going to take things sitting down. When the enemy attacks our camp, I am going to go on all out war against him – I will pray, preach with all my heart, serve God with everything I have till the very last breath.

“Paolo, are you not afraid announcing an all out war against the enemy?” Absolutely not! You can give this blog link to him to read, send him my podcast and tell him personally for all I care but what I know is that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

My favorite kids pastor, Bill Wilson once said, “Hit the devil with whatever stick you have in your hand. Whatever he throws at us, we can use to throw it back to him.”

PERSONAL GOD IN AN IMPERSONAL WORLD

It has become an impersonal world…

ATM’s, automated response email, electronic toll booth, E-pass, internet banking, automated telephone receptionist… whether out of a desire to reduce cost in personnel or to improve systems, something gave.

While the world is going that direction, Starbucks has gone upstream realizing something important to humans – “we are in a culture craving for relationships.”

A card promoting career opportunities at Starbucks reads, “Create Community. Make a difference in someone’s day.” Further, it reads, “When you work at Starbucks, you can make a difference in someone’s day by creating an environment where neighbors and friends can get together and reconnect while enjoying a great coffee experience.”

What Starbucks discovered, some churches have forgotten. It is really nothing new since it really is a Biblical concept. God Himself said that it is not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). While this applies in the context of marriage, the implications go beyond the marriage union.

We are in the midst of a vast ocean of humanity yet we end up missing on the benefits of regular, meaningful relationships.  Haven’t you noticed that bars and coffee shops are mere fellowship halls where people can hang out and talk?  Something we can capitalize as a church.

In the next several entries, I will try to write down some of my thoughts from reading CREATING COMMUNITY by Andy Stanley.

OPERATION OVERDRIVE 2009 TEASER

Operation Overdrive is our Prayer for the City event this coming Saturday, June 6, 2009.

Come join us pray for our city and see God do amazing things!

PERSPECTIVES

I saw this picture the other week and it intrigued me a lot…

First, I thought it was a painting of black camels.  Then I realized that it was a real picture which was taken top view.  If you look closely, you’ll see the brown camels and the black camels resemble their shadows.

Amazing how different perspectives give us another view of things.  What looks like a simple bunch of regular camels become an awesome sight when you see things from another angle.

Reminds me a lot about life.

There are lots of stuff that you see as plain, regular and ordinary but looking at it from a fresh perspective, something pops out as amazing and special.

“God help me to see things from a different angle today so that I see awesome and amazing things that you have put together, orchestrated and arranged.”

VICTORY @ 25 TEASER 2

This one you can’t miss!  This is our 25th Anniversary as a church.

Registration starts 9:00 am through TicketNet, SM branches and Araneta Coliseum.  Php 150.00.

See you there!

COTTON CANDY FOCUS

I took my 5 year old son, Ryan to a professional basketball game (PBA).

He was enjoying the game for the first 2 quarters. However, when half-time hit, there were hawkers that were selling all kinds of stuff – from Pizzas to Pepsi, ice tea to ice cream.

One particular item caught my son’s attention… cotton candy.

He asked me to buy it. Wanting to be a kind and generous father, I got him one so he can enjoy the game while eating it. But as the game progressed, I noticed that he was more consumed about his cotton candy than the game that was actually pretty exciting.

I thought about how sometimes we start off wanting to live our lives for God but along the way, we get distracted. We’re excited, we’re focused and we know why we’re there. But stuff comes along and we lose our focus.

I guess that’s exactly why God, no matter how generous a Father He is, doesn’t give us everything we ask for right at the moment we ask for it. He knows we’ll end up focusing on the blessing more than the Blesser.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2)

VICTORY @ 25

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