WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?

As I was preparing for our message this weekend, I came across an article that listed down the different Bible characters and how they could’ve come up to God and made an excuse why God can’t use them.  Some of them actually tried.

I was reminded of one of my most favorite verses in the Bible that says,

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)

Here are some of the Bible characters God used mightily yet had their flaws…

Noah got drunk.
Abraham was too old.
Joseph was a daydreamer.
Jacob was a liar.
Leah was ugly.
Moses had a speech problem.
Gideon was a scardey cat.
Samson was a womanizer.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah & Timothy thought they were too young.
David had an affair with a married woman and murdered her husband.
Elijah was suicidal.
Isaiah thought himself unworthy.
Jonah ran away from God.
Naomi was a widow.
Job went bankrupt.
Martha was a perpetual worrier.
The Samaritan woman who spoke with Jesus at the well was five times divorced.
Zaccheus was too small.
Peter denied Christ.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
The little boy only had 5 loaves & 2 fish.
Paul was a religious fanatic.
Timothy had ulcers.
Lazarus was dead!

How about you?  What’s your excuse?

SIGN POSTS BEFORE A CRASH

I had the privilege of listening to Stephen Mansfield as he spoke to Victory pastors all over the Metro. His message was on the Signposts in the looming crash of a leader.

Here they are my notes on that talk.

1. View of authority became isolated.

They begin to set themselves apart. They isolate themselves.
The beginning of isolation starts from view of authority.

2. Lost connection with friends

Trusted friendships of transparency.
Your fans will get you killed. Your fans will overlook your mistakes.
Accountability groups don’t work. Walk closely with other men.

3. Relationship with God became mechanical.

No passion. No heart transformation.
We trade our relationship with Jesus for ministry.

4. Lost the poetry of what they get to do.

Heart becomes cold. Moral decline follows.

5. Having no fun.

Men need beyond work. Life after work.
Planned of distraction.
Rest. Family time. Planned distraction.
Lack of manly release can be translated to another I’m not supposed to be with.

6. Schedule had become a tyrant.

Leads to resentment
Leads to burn out.
Leads to secret time. Then moral failure.
No reason why we can’t be happily busy.

7. Men and women exchange roles.

Women are more superior in all ares except in Abstract thought and aggression.

8. The home life is opposition or demand.

Wife is the ball in chain. The dragon lady.
When this sets in, destruction looms.

9. Defining episodes from the past.

Nixon: abused in high school came up during watergate scandal.
The soul has a memory like an elephant.

10. Ministry had to be perpetuated at all costs.

The ministry on the pedestal.
Ministry becomes one of your ‘kids’.

“EVEN IF GOD DOESN’T ANSWER…”

Testimonies from the recent Prayer and Fasting keep coming in.

Here’s one which is probably in my top 3 most favorite Prayer and Fasting testimonies shared by Noemi.

Why fast? More than praying for things to happen, it was an encounter with God.  All of a sudden my lifestyle changed. I have finally finished the New Testament, which given my Bible reading pace, I would have for 6 months. My eyes were opened to people other than myself. I began to see prayer requests in the hearts of others without them telling me.

My prayer started to sound like an intimate conversation with God – like I was talking to a long-time friend. His words speak to me like no other. I appreciated the things that I have and realized that I don’t lack a thing. I was going through something personal at the moment butI was filled with peace – the kind that the world cannot give.

Why fast? Because to deny yourself of a pleasure in its simplest form (food) for a greater purpose is to see who God really is in His greatest splendor. When we draw near to Him, He will make Himself known.

With all that I gained from those 7 days, I will never be on the losing end even if God doesn’t answer my 10 faith goals. I am already a winner in every sense of the word.

“It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

PRAYER ANSWERING GOD

Stories of God’s faithfulness keep coming in.

He is indeed a prayer answering God.

Here’s one from Leng G. who sent me a text this morning.

Hi. Ptr Paolo, wud really like to thank u for prayin healing towards the sick people last worship night before the fast. I was not really prayin for myself but to those people around who raised their hand somehow my body conformed to the pain on my legs due to sprain and I just totally ignore the fact that it was painful it was then when u pray that I felt the difference between there is pain or not. I m really refresh and until now the sprain didn’t come back..thank u so much…… God keep u and ur family always :)….

Again, I say to you, that if two of you are in agreement on earth about anything for which they will make a request, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:19, BBE)

PF D5

Wow it’s 1-11-11.  Cool date.

Today’s was a long day.  Full of meetings.  His grace was sufficient.

Lots of great stuff today.

Met about “Strong” series.  Message no. 2 on the way.  Message no. 1 here.

Great to meet with men (metro manila pastors) who are passionate for God and His kingdom.

Afternoon staff meeting was good. Every department positioned for a great year… by His grace.

Good ‘passionate’ discussion on certain things.  I’m thankful for men who will say what they feel is the right thing to do and are not just “YES” men.

Prayed for a guy who is believing God for restoration of marriage.

Lord, I pray for all the marriages represented.  Heal, restore, strengthen.

Prayed for the nation tonight.  Awesome.

P Manny shared a powerful message.  “Don’t have a grasshopper mentality.”

“How you see yourself is how others will see you.” – Manny Carlos.  This principle was taken from Num 13:33 which says, “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

We cry out for this nation.  Lord, heal our land.  Heal us, your people.

PF D4

Need to stay open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Praying for the nations tonight.  Ps 2 – Ask and I will give the nations to you.

Rest day.

Praying for future church plant in Paranaque.

Lots of distractions but will keep my eyes on Jesus.

They say after day 3, it gets easier.  I’ve heard that many times in the past years.  I still have to wait for that to happen to me.

Weakness before God.  When I am weak, He is strong.

More toxins coming out… physically and spiritually.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Cor. 12:9, NLT)

PF D3

Random thoughts on Prayer and Fasting Day 3 (PF D3)

PF D1 and PF D2 here.

Gunk coming out.  I’m not just talking about toxins.

Stuff in my heart that needs to rectified, changed, adjusted.

My wife showed me things I need to adjust in my personal life, leadership in the home and life in general.

Hurts when that happens.  But pruning is necessary.

Fasting is good.  Brings out the best… and the worst in us so that God can move.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

PF D2

Random thoughts on PF D2 (Prayer and Fasting Day 2)

PF D1 HERE.

Still feeling strong.  A bit of weakness.

When I am weak, His strength is made perfect.

Learned from Nathan’s blog.  Find it HERE.

Thankful for my family.

Thankful for Nathan who is growing in his faith leaps and bounds.

Thankful for Janina who is a blessing to us and our relatives.  Loves to bless people with her singing.

Thankful for Ryan who is such a clown.  Always brings joy to us.  Makes us laugh.

Thankful for Joaquin.  Just his mere ‘cuteness’ blesses us.

Thankful for my wife, Jenn, who is God fearing, prayerful, thoughtful, patient, understanding… my best friend.

So many things to thank God for.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (1 Chron. 16:34)


PF D1

PF D1 (Prayer and Fasting Day 1) Random Thoughts

Strong.

Excited for the new year.

Need to just stay focused on Him.  Not His hand but His face.

Felt a question asked in my heart, “If I don’t answer any of your prayers…

if I don’t give you any of the breakthroughs you are believing for, will you still TRUST me?”

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Ps. 105:4 (KJV)

STILL A MIRACLE WORKING GOD

We kicked off our 7 day prayer and fasting last night with our WORSHIP NIGHT.

Carlos started off with the verse, “This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

It became a celebration from beginning to end.  A celebration of God’s faithfulness.  A celebration of His goodness.  A celebration of hope for the coming year.

We prayed for people God to move and He did.  Here’s a lady who shared what she experienced last night.

hello ptr paolo,

just wanted to share…

i would have wanted to raise my hand to share while you were going around earlier during worship night, for the healing right after prayer. but i had some quite a number in the list, was thinking it would be long to enumerate.

1st, i had migraine. after the prayer, it felt so light, like my head was ballooning.

2nd, i came with backpain. right after, i felt like my back was being lifted and stretched and i didnt feel the pain anymore.

3rd, i had grumbling tummy mid of the worship night. i was already hungry. after the prayer, i didnt feel full but it wasnt hungry either.

it was just amazing! one of the best worship nights. just keeps on getting better & better!!! and oh by the way, my first to speak in tongues too. and ptr joey is right, when you cannot contain it, it simply overflows!

B.T.