HOW TO SAY NO BY SAYING YES

A few weeks from now, we are going to have our Couples’ Getaway, a retreat for married couples who want a refresher or even a tune up so their relationship can continue to honor God.

One of our ministry staff called me and asked how to communicate with a couple who was still unmarried and wanted to join the marriage retreat. For obvious reasons, it wouldn’t be wise for them to come along. But I assume that they wanted to strengthen their relationship with God and relationship with one another.

I went ahead and called  Jasmine (not her real name). I asked how long she has been coming to church with her boyfriend. In the conversation, I found out that not only did she want her boyfriend to know Christ, but they were going to get married in a few months.

After the conversation, I gave her a few suggestions. I told her that a good start is to attend our pre-marriage seminar entitled “Blueprint For Marriage”. Because they wanted to learn how to get started right in their marriage, the seminar would be a great help.

Since I also found out that she wanted her fiancé to know Christ in a greater way, I told her that I would be willing to meet them for coffee or lunch to help them in their journey.

Coming out of that conversation, I explained a few principles with our staff member to share how we can best serve our people in the church and even those outside.

1. GET CONTEXT.

Before saying “no”, it is important to get what is in their hearts. All Jasmine wanted was to get good teaching for their relationship. She also wanted her fiancé to know Christ which is a noble desire.

2. GIVE ALTERNATIVES.

Rather than saying “no” immediately, find ways to help them consider other options that would achieve similar results in the best possible manner.

3. GO THE THE EXTRA MILE.

After figuring out what is the best route to take during the conversation, serve by going the extra mile. Leadership is more than just influence. It is about serving.

It is critical that we learn to hear people out before saying no and find ways to serve them in the best possible way. We can say no, but not out of policy but out of a desire to serve. The principle is this: “people over policy.”

TOP 10 THOUGHTS ON BUILDING FAITH IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Last week, our pastors from Victory Fort, Victory Makati, and Victory Malate had a couples’ retreat. Allow me to share my top 10 takeaways from day 2 from Bishop Juray and Deah Mora’s session. (Thoughts from day one here.)

1. We are told that we are to be willing to pay the price to be successful. But we have to remember that we are not the only one paying the price when it comes to time. It includes our family as well.

2. When God put man and woman together, love was not mentioned in the equation in Genesis 2:20. We have over-romanticised love. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right –

“It’s not your love that sustains the marriage but it’s the marriage that sustains the love.”You have the marriage. Therefore, work on the love.

3. Marriage will make you better, stronger as you allow it to. It causes you to do greater things than you can ask or imagine.

4. Children are a blessing from the Lord. We’ve found out that as the kids kept coming, God kept blessing. God sets us up for greater blessing, not greater burden.

5. Our differences in marriage were intended by God. Our goal in our marriage is not to find the differences but to work with them to grow us through them.

6. When sin comes in, it eventually destroys exclusivity. God’s intention for marriage was to make it special and exclusive.

7. We are called to trust God and to trust each other in our marriage. We are to trust God in our spouse and trust that God is at work in and through our spouse. We may not understand each other completely but God is at work whether we see it or not.

8. We trust God for our decisions. And after we’ve prayed, sought counsel and considered God’s Word and eventually still make a mistake, He has the ability to cause all things to work together for our good. (Romans 8:28) Remember, God can rescue us from our mistakes. God is bigger than our mistakes.

9. The goal in marriage is not comfort and peace but faith. Peace and security will only come as we have faith in God. It’s not the size of our savings. Peace is not found in our retirement plan or insurance policy. Peace comes as we have faith in God.

10. At 20, the Bible is true. Even at 70, the Bible is still true. And it says, “the just shall live by faith.” A family budget helps us see where we are. But budgets should not set our limitations. God dictates our finances. He is the Ultimate Provider. Move in faith, not in fear.

PRIORITIES IN MARRIAGE

Today is the first day of our couples’ retreat for our pastors for our Fort Hub (Makati, Malate and Fort Bonifacio).

Allow me to share a few quick takeaways from today’s session with Pastor Juray and Deah Mora.

– “More than having a Christian president, one of the greatest contributions we can give to this nation is a marriage that works at home.”

– Our devotion to God is our topmost priority. As He takes the #1 spot, He alone has the right to dictate on which ones will be number 2, 3, 4 and 5. That now eliminates anything that is not according to His will like for example a second or third wife.

– Your values will dictate your priorities. And your values are dictated by your highest value – God. If God’s purpose is for you to be in the Philippines with your family, then migrating to another country won’t be an option no matter how huge the salary may be.

– The saying, “Sacrifice today so you can enjoy tomorrow” only works with money but not with relationships. Whoever is sacrificed is always the one that is of lesser value no matter how beautifully we articulate it. Relationships suffer when we sacrifice no matter how good the reasons may be.

– Priorities reflect what we value.

18 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT JANINA


How did you turn 18 just like that? Time didn’t fly fast. It zoomed.
But as you celebrate your 18th birthday today, allow us to thank God for your life and list down 18 things we love about you.
1. The moment you came, we knew that you were God’s gracious gift to us. Your name, Janina, is precisely that – God is gracious. Thank you for being that, exemplifying that and exuding that grace in and through your life.

2. You’ve always loved dressing up as a princess. You did when you were a little girl. But more than dressing up like a princess as a little girl, you are one – in the family and in God’s eyes.

3. You are fearless. You try new things and are not afraid to do things that are unfamiliar to you. I remember you trying out the Supreme Scream in Knottsberry Farm. You didn’t go on another free fall ride since (and I remember you being in tears after that ride), but that didn’t stop you from trying out other rides and other things in life that required courage. Janina, you are brave.

4. You find fun in the small things. You and your siblings enjoy life together. Your mom and I are grateful for that simple yet fun loving spirit.


5. You are sensitive to God’s leading in your life. I remember when storm surge “Yolanda” hit Tacloban, before we left to help in the relief operations, you felt God was telling you to give your most favorite doll to a little girl who needed encouragement. I remember you took quite some time to look around when we got there and found the perfect one who needed the most precious thing to you at that time. You are very thoughtful and compassionate.


6. You are adventurous. I remember when we went biking and you fell. You kept a great attitude in spite of getting dirty and muddy. That has become your positive trait – the reality of falling doesn’t stop you from picking yourself up and still having an amazing day.

7. You’ve always been a vlogger since you were a child. We remember you doing a room tour when room tours weren’t even popular then. haha.

8. You’ve loved dancing since forever. By the way, on your debut party, I was proudly watching you. Buti na lang, nagmana ka sa nanay mo. hehe


9. Talking about dancing, you were such a perfectionist. You knew all the steps. And when someone misses it, you would ‘direct’ them and choreograph while you were performing. Your excellent spirit is a great trait. Don’t ever lose that.

10. You made funny videos. To this day, we don’t understand why you made some of them.

11. You were a super bibo kid. You had fun with songs, words and life in general. Never lose that. Life is too short not to have fun.


12. Craziness is your strong suit. Again, just like your mom, you come up with insane ideas and you find yourself in peculiar situations. But you end up laughing. You don’t take life too seriously. And that’s a good thing.


13. You are determined. When you set your heart onto doing a task, you never give up. I remember when we had Vanilla, our black labrador, you painstakingly trained her even though you had lots of scratches along the way. Don’t ever trade hard work for the easy way out.

14. You’ve always enjoyed performing. You’re desire then was to express your God-given talents but also coupled with the aspiration to be famous. You asked mom when you were 12, “Mom, when will I be famous?” But God changed that after a few months. You came back to your mom to tell her that wasn’t you’re no.1 goal in life any lonager. And when you had a heart change, that’s when God opened up your YOUTUBE CHANNEL for you and gave you a platform to add value and bring a positive voice into cyberspace.


15. You’ve helped us build great memories. Thank you for always participating in the photos, especially the one in Lake Tahoe. I can’t post that though when we stopped by the road and you jumped in the river without anything on. Haha

16. Thanks for making mom you’re best friend, shopping partner,car seat (like when you sit on her lap in the front to this day), mommy-ger, companion and kwentuhan partner. She’s always wanted to have a daughter that she can have fun with, laugh with and enjoy life with. You’ve been all that and more!

17. You’ve always felt a deep sense of purpose for your life. While you’re not the classic cross-cultural missionary, you have crossed geographical, cultural, ethnological, national, generational boundaries and used your platform to add value and bring significant impact in the lives of other people. All these at age 18. We couldn’t be more proud of you.

18. You’ve learned that God loved you way before you even loved Him back. Never forget that. In the times of highs and especially in the lows, an understanding of “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” will carry you through.

Growing up, you were insanely crazy like your mom. That meant life was to be an expedition to trek, a journey to enjoy and an adventure too short not to have fun. And you had fun. And you still do to this day.
Don’t lose that.
Your smile brings joy to others, your insanity is contagious and your buffoonery is communicable. But underneath that craziness is a young lady that is tender hearted, kind and thoughtful.
Don’t change that.
Your loyalty is unmatchable. To your family. To your friends. To the people you that are dear to you. If this means sacrificing your own comforts to demonstrate your loyalty and love, you don’t think twice to let go of personal benefit.
Don’t alter that.
You are talented like your mom, smart like Nathan, active like Ryan, funny like Joaquin. Unfortunately, all you got from me is good looks. 😂
But as you turn 18, you are transitioning to a very significant season in your life. your mom and I have done our best to get you to where you are today by the grace of God. But as you will discover and are discovering, you will have highs and lows. And there’s nothing more important we can pass on to you than our faith.
Education is critical. Life skills are substantial. But what will get you through the hardest and darkest moments is your relationship with Jesus. The great thing is, you’ve grown in your relationship this past couple of years as we have observed. There’s no greater joy for a parent than to see his or her child walk with God.
Money won’t satisfy.
Fame can’t fulfill.
Even relationships won’t bring ultimate meaning.
Rapunzel is fearless, self-reliant, determined and adventurous. I now know why you like her. You are her.
But you just not her. You are more.
This discovery of who God designed you to be will unfold in the coming days. Get ready for it. You will see that what you have seen now is nothing compared to what He has in store for the future.
The best is yet to come.
I love you.
Happy birthday, Feener.

FINDING SOME FAMILY TIME

 

It really gets busy during Christmas time for our family. I’m guessing that it would be for your as well. But there are times when we would need to unplug, get out of the city and have a simple, good, quality time with family.

Here’s a quick video to explain what I mean.

 

 

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF PARENTING?

 

 

What is our goal in parenting?

Many books, experts and seminar speakers give us varied objectives. But allow me to propose one vital goal we need to have as parents as we train our children to become fully functioning adults. Hope this video helps.

YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER

blog-banners-001(Snippets from Carol Mkize’s message at the Every Nation World Conference 2016 Day 3)

Ukunqoba is a word that means overcomer.
You are an overcomer because God abides in you.
Intimacy with God will drive you to continue when you are no longer with other people.
You will overcome because God’s word abides in you.
Chaos is fertile ground for Christians.
Everything we learned we can now apply in the campus.
1 Samuel 17:38-40: Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
To (Spiritual) Fathers:  
What God used for you to overcome, it might be time to put it down.
The armor you used may not be the armor the next generation will use.
To the Next Generation.
Try it on first.
Don’t deny it right away.
Obedience and submission are not out of the question.
Don’t assume first that it will not work.
We have to walk with this God our fathers walked with.

DRONE PARENTING

Drones are very popular these days, especially in taking photos and videos during weddings. They’re cool, fun and take amazing shots.

But when it comes to parenting, it can become uncool, not fun and unamazing when done in the wrong way.

Drone parenting is hovering around your kids and staying with them as much as you can so that you know their every move and hear their every conversation.

Just to let you know, when your kids are infants, toddlers and grade school, you have to hover over them. They need you to guide, lead and point them to the right direction.

However, when they get older, it won’t be as feasible and practical.

Drone parenting is when…

– You go to every high school party they attend.
– You listen to every conversation they have with their friends.
– You try to read every tweet, sms, Instagram comment, telegraph app message and the like.
– You watch every viral video that they watch on Facebook or You Tube.
– You filter every reading material they come across with.

To be clear, I am not saying to detach yourself from being involved in your children’s life and leave them to figure things out for themselves. But at the same breath, we have to know that we can’t hover over them 24/7.

From 0-6 years old, our kids are in the telling stage.
We tell them what they should do most of the time.
“Brush your teeth.”
“Time to sleep.”
“Eat your vegetables.”

From 7-12 years old, our kids are in the teaching stage.
We teach them to start making small decisions on their own.
“Blue shirt or red shirt?”
“Batman or Superman?”
“Cheese fries or Barbecue fries?”
But obviously in major things, we still have huge inputs.

From 13-18 years old, they are now in the training stage.
We train them to become more and more independent.
“Just take Uber going to your friends house.”
“Study for your exams on your own.”
“Determine how much you’ll save and how much you’ll spend.”

From 19-adulthood, they are in the coaching stage.
Our role as parents is to just coach them when the have a question.
But since they’re adults, they have to be empowered to make their own decisions.

The older our kids get, the less dependent they will be on us.
However, our goal is for them to be more dependent on God.

Allow me to pray for all the parents reading this.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the honor of raising, training and discipling the next generation right in our home. We don’t always get it right and we end up doing dumb things. But, Lord, in our hearts, we desire the best for our children. Teach us to be sensitive to Your leading, obedient to Your Word and teachable in our moments of inexperience. By Your grace, we will be the best parents for our kids and by faith, we will see a generation rise up that will please You with their lives.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.