uno stackoWhat are we trying to build?

I spoke to a leader of a church this afternoon.  There were certain accusations that were being thrown at him.

First and foremost, I told him, that that’s to be expected.  As a leader, people will comment, criticize, applaud, scorn and say stuff.  Comes with the territory.

Second, it is important to understand clearly what God has called us to do.  He did not call us to be successful.  He calls us to be faithful. (read a recent post I made here)

And as you’re certain about the call God’s placed in your life, be secure that as long as you’re doing what you’ve been called to do, then all that matters is not the applause of man but the applause of heaven.

Criticism may hurt.  It will hurt.  But what are we building?

Are we building our reputation or are we building His kingdom?


hmsg_SmallGroup_logo_colorAfter attending Sticky Church conference with Ferdie and Crickette, Ferdie had a good top 10 blog to summarize our time there.  Click here to read his post.

Here’s my top 5 why I like Ferdie’s no. 10 in his post (sermon-based small group).

1. People who come to church tend to be more attentive since the message is going to be discussed in the small groups that week.

2. Because it will be a point of discussion during the week, there’s increased note taking during the message.

3. At the small group meetings, interaction and discussion will crank up because they’ve listened in to the message and had the time to process it.

4. Although the small group material will not be a regurgitation of last weekend’s message because it will focus on a different set of verses to study, the more important focus will go to application and making sure the Word is lived out.

5. Because we meet at our local churches for the Word during Tuesdays and again with the Metro Manila Pastors on Wednesdays, the sermon kitchen is full with ingredients to come up with an excellent Word for the weekend coupled with a small group material to boot.

Really looking forward to what God will do in the next several months.  God is phenomenally good.


10202009084Bringing kids to school is definitely an interesting adventure.

Brought Ian Concepcion, Yodo Galvez and my son, Ryan to school this morning. Their conversation went this way…

YODO: Do you like Christmas?

RYAN: I don’t really like Christmas because of the gifts.

IAN: Why don’t you like Christmas?

RYAN: I like Christmas because it’s God’s birthday. (Need some tweaking in his theology)

IAN: Oh yeah! I like Christmas because it’s God’s birthday!

YODO: Well, I like Christmas because it’s God’s birthday and because of the gifts!

Smart kid. I like the way he thinks.



Just read an excellent blog by Steve Murrell about discipleship…


Got the following questions from someone I do not know who is writing a paper for a class about whether discipleship “has value in today’s context.”

Here are my quick answers to his questions:

Q: What is a disciple?
A: A disciple is someone who follows Jesus, “fishes” for people and does this in fellowship with other disciples, while carrying a cross.
(Discipleship is not complicated. Difficult, yes. Complicated, no. It is so simple that a carpenter described it to uneducated fishermen 2000 years ago in one sentence – Matthew 4:19.)

Q: Do you have to be saved to be a disciple?
A: Yes. But since evangelism is the starting point of making disciples, the discipleship process starts long before one is saved.

Q: Are all Christians disciples? If not, what are the differences?
A: All should be, but unfortunately not all are following Jesus, fishing for people or fellowshipping with others. And not all are carrying a cross.

To read the rest of the article, click here…


lego-noahMany define success today as ‘bigger is better’.

Unfortunately, I’ve been sucked in by that pressure many times over because I want to be able to keep up, join in, belong and feed my ego (if I can be so honest).

But when we look at the life of Noah, after 100 plus years of building the ark combined with calling out repentance, only 7 people listened to his message and got in the ark thereby being rescued from the Great Deluge.

Now church growth experts will look at a church of 8 people (Noah plus the 7) and probably will not look at it as very successful.

But in God’s eyes, Noah was faithful to who God’s called him to be and what God’s called him to do.

Bottomline: Success is to stay faithful to who God’s called you to be and what God’s called you to do.

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’


church-of-facebook-3d-cover2Ran across this book entitled, “The Church of Facebook.” by Jesse Rice.

Interesting read.

Fellowshipping online is now happening. In fact, there are small groups that meet online primarily because people travel and move about. Interesting concept.

As more and more people get into Facebook, here are a few things he mentions in his book.

1. Practice regular check ins.

It’s easy to mindlessly go through the daily rut, even as we scroll through the status updates of friends. Check in and do personal reflections within the day so that our day won’t just fly us by and not know what actually went on.

2. Make the intention not to go online immediately before bed and immediately after waking up.

Not this is a trap for me, if I can be so transparent.

3. Practice mindful Facebooking.

Jesse Rice says to “make the intention to pay attention to how you spend time (or waste time) in Facebook.”

It is so easy to go online and realize you’ve been in front of the computer for a couple of hours. Guilty as charged!

4. Practice authentic Facebooking.

Authenticity is what people appreciate. Exaggeration is always a temptation and ‘over sharing’ can be a trap. But staying authentic and real is absolutely refreshing.

5. Adopt one or two Facebook friends for one month.

Rather than just sporadically go through statuses and pics, building a relationship/friendship with someone online i.e. a friend you haven’t seen in a long time is definitely a fantastic idea.

Pray for them, share verses, give encouragement… not as a public message for everyone to see but maybe something personal and private.

As a result, Facebooking can become more intentional rather than just a drive by waste of time.


ar360I was reading a book by Mark Sanborn entitled “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader” in a public library yesterday called Barnes & Noble (haha!) and came across an interesting story that illustrates the power of focus.

Here it is…

Bill who lives outside Kalamazooo, Michigan bought a new house on the edge of a lush wooded area. Bill likes to feed birds, so upon moving in, Bill put up a feeder in his backyard. But before the sun even set that evening, squirrels were swinging off the bird feeder and chasing the birds away. Bill realized that he had to do something or the birds would soon be too scared to come near the feeder, so for the next two weeks he declared war on the squirrels. Bill isn’t a mean guy and wouldn’t do anything to hurt the squirrels, but he was willing to use any peaceful method necessary to keep them out of his bird feeder.

He tried greasing the post the bird feeder was on, but that didn’t work. Stumped, Bill visited his local hardware store and bought a “squirrel-proof bird feeder”, an odd looking feeder with wire mesh wrapped around it. The label said it was guaranteed, so Bill took it home and put it in his backyard.

But by sunset, the squirrels were once again swinging off the bird feeder. Bill was now really upset, and the next day he took the feeder back to the hardware store. He asked to see the manager, demanding a full refund.   “Calm down,” the store manager told him. “I could have told you when you bought it that there is no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder.”

Bill looked at him in disbelief. You mean we can land a man on the moon and send instantaneous messages via satellite to anywhere around the world, but our best and brightest scientists and engineers can’t design and manufacture a bird feeder that can outsmart an animal with a brain the size of a pea?   “Yep,” said the retailer.

“Why not?” Bill persisted.

“Let me ask you something, sir,” the man replied. “How much time on average have you spent in the last two weeks trying to keep the squirrels out of your bird feeder?” Bill thought it over for a minute and responded, “Maybe ten to fifteen minutes a day.”

“And how much time do you think the squirrels spend each day trying to get in?”

The power of focus.

“The more responsibility you have, the more hats you wear, the more likely you are to become more inefficient.”  (Dave Crenshaw, Myth of Multi-tasking)


Desert-Oasis-1Don’t you just love the book of Psalms?  It brings about awesome insights from extreme emotions.  David understood what it means to pour his heart out to God in both the highs and lows.

Random thoughts on Psalm 84…

v. 4. Blessed are those who dwell in your house…

  • Obviously we can’t be in church 24/7 yet the blessing is knowing that we can be in His presence 24/7.

v. 5. Blessed are those whose strength is in you…

  • Those who find strength in Him alone gets strength unceasing.Why?  Because as they go through the Valley of Baca which is a desert wasteland, one’s life will be far from dry because they will go from ‘strength to strength’ (Ps. 84:7)


a-prayer-for-times-like-theseI met with a young man the other day.  He was downloading a few things to me about what he’s been going through.  He gave his life to Jesus a couple of years ago.  While his walk is not perfect, there is remarkable progress every single day.

He was telling me how God was showing him a couple of things he needed to adjust in his life.  When typhoon Ondoy hit, he went to his closet to check out things that he could sort and give to the victims.  As he was sorting out his shoes, lo and behold, in the way back, he found a brand new pair he bought a couple of years ago that he had been looking for a looooooong time.

At that moment, he felt God was talking to him (not audibly but in his heart.)  He said that he felt that it was a picture of his life.  There were several things he had been dismissing, i.e. anger and unforgiveness.  Yet like his pair that was lodged deep into the recesses of his cabinet, the icky stuff in his heart surfaced as well.

At the end of our talk, I asked him what I could pray for him about.  His immediate reply, “I just want to know Him more…”

I was blown away.  How many 20-year olds these days have that kind of prayer?

If someone asks, “What can I pray for you about?”, what would be the normal reply?  Blessings?  More of these and that?  Promotion?  Salary increase?  Better grades?

These are obviously not wrong in and of themself.  However, it just blessed my socks off to hear this young man say what he said.

It reminded me of Paul.  Toward the end of his life… after planting many churches… after visiting cities and being an apostle for Christ, what was his one main desire?

“I want to know Christ…” (Philippians 3:10)

Didn’t he know Him already?  What did he mean?

At the end of it all, it wasn’t more churches to be planted or more stuff to accumulate or more souls to preach to.  It was to know Him better.

May that be the same prayer of my heart!


This week has been eventful, to say the least. But Victory in Metro Manila responded to the call and it’s such an honor to be part of what God is doing in the nation in the midst of calamity. To all the volunteers who took part, sacrificed, donated and helped… THANK YOU!