Recently, Forbes magazine and other tech magazines report that iPhone loyalty has gone down.

I’m no technology expert nor a leadership guru but I do have an observation I’d like to make.

This is the mistake we often make. When we build an organization around one leader, what happens when that charismatic, amazing, remarkable leader is gone?

But when we build an organization with dozens of amazing nameless leaders, the organization continues to grow without the one celebrity leader.

I realize that there are many reasons why an organization can take a downturn. But this is a major one.

This can be true with cellphone companies as it is true with ministries and churches.

That’s what we see in the book of Acts. The gospel continued to advance with ordinary people in the frontlines.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

Listen to what Jim Collins says in his book, Good to Great…

“…Our problem lies in the fact that our culture has fallen in love with the idea of the celebrity CEO. Charismatic egotists who swoop in to save companies grace the covers of major magazines because they are much more interesting to read and write about … This fuels the mistaken belief held by many directors that a high-profile, larger-than-life leader is required to make a company great. We keep putting people into positions of power who lack the inclination to become Level 5 leaders, and that is one key reason why so few companies ever make a sustained and verifiable shift from good to great.”

Ultimately, especially in a spiritual organization, there’s only one heroJESUS.

Something to think about …

Something to remember…

This was an original post by Brix Briones.

It’s quite a long one but deserving because of the man behind this story.  Tito Delfin, Mang Delfin, Lolo Delfin … however you might call him, he is well loved because of how thoughtful and caring he is.

Whenever we bump into each other before the 6pm service, where I usually attend, he runs after me to give me a hug, WITHOUT FAIL. Then the words would follow just like a script he’s memorized yet always as in ALWAYS would come from the heart – “Thank you pastor. Great to see you pastor. I love you pastor.”

 

Here’s the post by Brix Briones.

God commanded us to love one another, just as he loved us (John13:34).

In fact according to him, this is how people will know that we are His disciples, the love that we have for each other will be a clear testament that we are His followers.

This point is easy enough to understand, but the execution is another thing. Love for your fellow man (true and genuine love that is), especially in todays market-driven economy and Facebook oriented society, is a rare commodity.

You see I seldom feel Godly love, specially among men. Until I met this guy, he is an usher in our church, and he showed me that it is possible to give a generous portion of Godly love every week, something that I craved for. A genuine love that even my wife could notice, she would even ask me why she could not have something similar. It was a love that I thought would always be there, and that all I had to do was come back for more If I needed it.

But that was not the case, because that love came packaged in human flesh, and as with everything human, that love too was only temporary. Unfortunately I was only able to recognize that it was that when it was just about to go back to its source. A love coming from a total stranger, a love simply expressed by humility and a smile. The genuine love coming from an usher, my favorite usher, and now it seems that it will not last for long.

You see my favorite usher is dying. As I write this he is in the hospital battling it out with pancreatic cancer. When I heard the news yesterday, I wanted to see him so badly, I wanted to get a hug, I wanted to see his smile, I wanted to hear his voice.

But how could I? I barely know the man.

I desperately tried to get information and details so I could see him, but nobody could give me answers. And how could they give me details, I was not related to him, I was not part of his group, I was not an usher, I was not a friend, heck I don’t even really know his complete name. All that we had were little minutes during Sunday afternoons, smiles and hugs, and quick chats in rare instances when it was possible.

To him I was just supposed to be someone attending the service, and to me he is just supposed to be an usher named Delfin. But the reality was very different, I felt Gods presence and love in those short moments he engaged me. He showed me that it was indeed possible for us to obey Jesus and genuinely love one another.

And the strange part is, he did it to me without even trying. He did it by just being himself.

Our story began the Sunday that my wife and I decided to move back to VCF Fort about three years ago, just a few weeks after we got married. Weve been growing in our Ortigas Church, but decided to move back to the Fort for proximity, it was a lot closer to where we lived, and since we wanted to have more family time together, it was an easy choice to make.

Our schedule was crazy, so we were attending different services, whatever was convenient for us. Then one fine Sunday afternoon, we came a little bit early for the 2pm service. As we were heading towards our favorite chair, this old man approached us, he was one of the ushers.

He came to us like a breath of fresh air, sharply wearing his Sunday best, together with the most wonderful smile I’ve seen from a man his age. He extended his hand, so I politely extended mine as well and tried my best to smile back and not be the usual grouchy me.

To my surprise, he grabbed me by the shoulder with his other hand after reaching for the handshake, and gave me a hug. It was the warmest hug I’ve had from a man all these years.

“Welcome to Victory bro! Kamusta ka na!”

Was he somebody I knew but could not remember? Was he a friend, someone that I failed to recognize? Who was this guy?

“Ok naman po, kayo po kamusta?”

Whew! Sure glad I quickly pulled that fast one out, why would I want to embarrass him and myself, surely I’ll remember who this guy is in few seconds…

“Ok lang ako!… cge, dito muna ako ha, enjoy the service.”

Then he smiled again, Then that was that.

After the free hug and the smile, he was out of my reach. Doing similar gestures to all the other people he was able to come across with. As I was observing him doing his rounds, the hug was still lingering and I felt something strange, I still had the smile he left me with, he was that contagious.

My wife was smiling at me when I looked at her, and was asking me who Grandpa was, and I told her that I didn’t know him. She didn’t believe me, and said that I probably just didn’t remember who he was. So I tried my best to google search him in my brain but couldn’t realy find him (and it really doesnt work quite as fast). And besides, I had to pay attention to the preaching of doc jun, so that was that for the usher and me, our very first encounter.

I told my wife the following Sunday that I wanted to do the 2pm service again because I wanted to get the continuation of the series of doc jun. So we were there again, same chair, same time, and of course, the same usher again.

“Hello bro, welcome!!!” was his greeting, but it was done in such a passionate exuberance as if I was attending a once year special revival service.

The hug was there again, the smile was there again, but this time I caught a glimpse of something special.

Believe it or not, I saw the Holy Spirit reflected in the twinkle of his eyes. So I knew right then and there, that this was no ordinary man. He may have been just an usher to everyone else, but to me he was a messenger from God, giving out generous portions of love, neatly packed in a smile, delivered door-to-door (face-to-face even) together with a hug, so one can get it with a dose of the warmth of Gods love.

So it went on and on, every Sunday it would be like that, it became sort of a ritual that I would be looking forward to. We would be attending the service to hear the word of God, and then I would get the added bonus of special smile and hug from this nice usher.

The experience came to me in perfect timing, as I was going through tough and difficult times, and it was very comforting to know that I could reach out for a dose of Gods presence and love if I needed it. I got so comfortable about it that I didn’t even bother to get the name of this usher, nor did I even try to make an effort to get to know him.

Then one Sunday came, it was volunteer weekend. The church was asking for volunteers in the various ministries, the ushering ministry included. Mister nice usher came to me and asked me if I would consider joining the ushering team. I told him I will think about it, and he said he would pray for me and hope that I would indeed consider joining them.

To be frank about it, the ushering ministry is not something I find attractive. You clean up the mess other people make after the service, you arrange the chairs that people mess up on purpose as they leave, you try to be all smiles and be very nice, and yet people don’t even try to notice you’re there. People ignore you when you ask them politely, people don’t greet back, people don’t smile back, and most of the time people are just nasty (just like me), who will not even bother to get to know you, no matter how nice you are to them. And I really didn’t want to be at the receiving end of that predicament, so I’m not really so sure if I want to be an usher just yet.

And as we were heading out, another friend greeted us. He is also a member of the ushering team, but this guy was totally different. He wanted me to join the group also, but his methods were totally different. He actually signed me up himself, he gave me a name pin, and told me that my schedule to help out the following week as already confirmed. No more training, no more briefing, all I needed to do was just to smile. Yeah Right…

Im sure he meant it in a nice way, and im sure that all he wanted was for me to help out. But doing things like that just don’t cut it like they used to. So I never came the following Sunday. In fact we attended the morning service from then on because I wanted to make sure that I will get no pressure to join any group. Never mind the free hug and the smile from my favorite usher, I will just visit back from time to time in case i wanted to see him.

Weeks passed, it turned into months. Hadn’t realized that it was more than a year already since I last saw my favorite usher, and by this time I actually got to know that his name was Delfin; and this was because yesterday, pastor joey mentioned him in his preaching. That he visited one of the leaders of the ushering team at the hospital, and he was dying of cancer.

All pastor joey had to say to confirm that it was indeed him, was that you will surely know this man when you meet him because he wears the best smile on a Sunday. That surely was my favorite usher.

My heart was crying when I learned that it was indeed him. Had trouble sleeping, had trouble eating, had a hard time focusing on the things I was supposed to do.

There were so many “ifs” in my mind: If only I joined when he asked me to, if only I gave him more of my time and attention, if only I was a little bit more nice to him…

I honestly don’t know what to do to make up…

To all the ushers, in my church and in others, I encourage you to continue what you are doing. It may seem trivial, the work may seem mundane; but I’m very sure that my experience with Delfin will be as true and genuine to others, as it was true and genuine to me.

The smile, the handshake, the hug, the attention, the simple act of kindness to a total stranger, all of that has a tremendous and profound impact in the life of someone like me. People may not be able to repay you, nor will they recognize your efforts and honor you for it, but I’m sure that our Father in heaven sees you, and your every little act of kindness and generosity does not escape his attention, and ultimately God will be your reward.

To you Lolo Delfin, (if you will permit me with the honor to address you that way, because you seem to be that to me, a lolo that i never had…) I want to thank you, with all my heart. My wife and I want you and your family to know that we appreciate you so very much. It was both an honor and a privilege to have you in our life, even for just a few moments. We will never forget you, your smile, your hug, your love.

If I can have even just half as much of the kind of humility and grace that you were able to exhibit in your life, I know I will be a better man.

Be assured that we will be with you in faith and prayer, we will ask all of our friends to be with you in prayer and faith as well. We serve an Almighty God and nothing is impossible for him, and we will continue to believe for your healing and recovery.

Reading through the book of Nehemiah for our recent series “Ako, Ikaw, Tayo,” I noticed a shift in chapter 8.
Nehemiah takes a step back and Ezra steps in to read the Book of the Law to the people of Israel.

It’s interesting that Nehemiah didn’t step beyond what God called him to do – to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

As the church continues to grow by the grace of God, many have come suggesting that we need to focus on this more, teach on that better, prioritize this more and concentrate on that a bit more.

Hinging from what we read in Nehemiah, not understanding the call and stewardship God has given may lead to confusion.

Lesson? Know what God’s called you to do and stick to it. Well meaning people with wonderful intentions may come and suggest which will inadvertently distract you from what God’s called you to do.

So what is it for Victory? HONOR GOD. MAKE DISCIPLES.

 

 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

As Steve Murrell would put it, it’s the same ole’ boring strokes.

While the method may change, the message has remained the same throughout these years: Preach Christ and Him crucified.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

 

 


There’s  a lot of hype going on these days because the iPhone 5 is coming out soon.

Because of all the iGadgets, our life has never been the same – from music to movies to reading books to social networking. Steve Jobs and Apple have successfully revolutionized how we live our lives.

Or has he?

Why did he have a measure of success?
He was crazy enough to believe that he could change the world.

I remember when he was trying to get John Sculley to join his team. John Sculley was the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Pepsi Cola Company. He was trying to convince him to come on board.

Here’s what Steve told John:

Because of this, John Sculley was able to successfully apply his marketing prowess in the personal computer market.

Steve Jobs had the audacity to believe that he could change the world.

Here’s my question to the church:
How dare Steve Jobs have a greater vision than the church of Jesus?

Better yet:
How dare us allow Steve Jobs have a greater vision to change the world than God’s very people?

And iPhone or iPad will last you 3 or at most 5 years…

The Gospel of Jesus will last for eternity. It will transform a life, a family, a city and a nation.

I know it has changed mine. And I bet my life (if I were a betting man) that it is going to change this nation only if we continue to honor God and make disciples, advancing His kingdom in every sphere of society.

Steve Jobs was crazy enough to believe that he could change the world with gadgets.

Do we have the audacity to believe that the Gospel of Jesus is potent enough to change my world, your world, our world?

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

So… who’s crazy enough?

BEING A PASTOR IS A STRANGE THING by Julian Freeman

We proclaim a message with the power of God to change people, but we can’t even change ourselves. We call others to perfection, as Jesus did, but our lives are full of imperfection.

We must shepherd like the Shepherd though we’re just one of the sheep.

We seek to make Christ increase (though he’s invisible to human eyes) as we seek to decrease (though we stand in plain view week-by-week).

We say numbers don’t matter, but long for many to be saved. We labour to grow the church, even though we realize each soul increases our accountability before God.

We try to express the Infinite and Eternal in 45 minutes or less; obviously we fail, so we try again next week.

We spend our lives studying a book that we’ll never fully grasp and we labour to explain it to a people who can’t understand apart from the work of a third party. The more we study, the more certain we become of the wisdom of God and our own foolishness; and yet we must preach on.

We are told that not many should be teachers and that there will be stricter judgement for those who are, and yet, we cannot fight off the compulsion to preach.

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We call people to something they can’t do, with an authority that is not our own, and then at the end of our lives we give an account to God for the souls we pastored.

We are called to toil in the word of God and in prayer; yet there is nothing our enemy opposes more actively.

We work to build a community where people are connected, while occupying an office filled with temptations to isolation.

We preach a gospel of joy, but preachers are hard pressed with temptations to depression.

We must preach with passion but pastor with patience. We must be gentle with the sheep and fierce with the wolves. And we must somehow discern the difference.

We must plead with people to repent and believe all the while knowing that it is God who must save. We plead with God in prayer until our wills align with his. We must earnestly seek the presence of the Spirit, knowing full well that he moves where he pleases.

We must labour with all of our strength but never, ever trust it.

We are paid to satisfactorily do a job that never ends: When have I studied enough? When have I prayed enough? When have I mentored enough? When have I counselled enough? We who are never finished are called to lead others to rest in the finished work of Jesus.

Ultimately we labour and long for results that we can never achieve. Being a pastor is a lifelong journey to a place of utter dependence.

This is strange work, being a pastor. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

(taken from http://www.churchleaders.com)

This weekend, we start a new series in Victory all over the Metro entitled, Wikichurch.”

Wiki in Hawaii means ‘quick.’ In 2000, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started an online encyclopedia called Nupedia. The goal was for it to include contributions written only by experts. Before an article could be posted on Nupedia, it had to go through an extensive scholarly review process. The strategy proved to be painstakingly slow. When Nupedia unplugged its servers in 2003, only 24 articles had been posted, and 74 were in the review process. There were not very many articles, but they were scholarly and professionally written!

In 2001, one year after Nupedia launched, Wales and Sanger started Wikipedia as a feeder system for Nupedia. The idea was to allow non-scholars and non experts to write articles that the Nupedia scholars would review. By the end of 2001, volunteers had submitted more than 20,000 wiki articles.

The experts took three years to create 24 articles and the non experts on year to create 20,000 articles. Now there are at least 17 million articles, most are as accurate as traditional encyclopedia entries written by experts.

Jesus will build His church and He does it through people, imperfect and flawed.  The goal of the ministers is to get ministry out of the hands of the ‘experts’ and hand it over to ‘non-professionals’.

“We are called to empower imperfect people to spread the most important message around the world.” (Steve Murrell)

Here’s a 700 Club interview with Pastor Steve that explains what a WikiChurch is.