My eldest son and I had a conversation about a book that he read entitled Subliminal:How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.  In the book, the author Leonard Mlodinow, he cites a study on how expectations and words affect our children.

In one of the research, teachers that spoke positive words, expected good performance from their students and placed under the gifted group, they actually ended with better grades as compared to those who were in an average category.

Long story short, our words matter.
People who have authority in our lives, their words make an impact, for better or for worse.

Years ago, I read a book by Gary Smalley and John Trent entitled The Blessing. They wrote about how powerful the words of a parent, especially of the father’s. They talked about Brian, who spent a lifetime seeking his father’s approval. At his father’s deathbed, Brian pleaded one last time, “Please say you love me, please!”

It is interesting how we see this in the Jewish culture where patriarchs practice blessing their children consistently like Abraham and Isaac, Isaac and Jacob, Jacob and his children. It has become part of their daily life. No wonder you see men who grew up in that culture achieve extraordinary accomplishments in their lives. These men include Steven Spielberg, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Ben Shapiro, Irving Moskowitz, Mortimer Zuckerman. I don’t mean that they are all followers of Christ or God-fearers, but because they come from a culture that patriarchs bless their children, they grow up with these words that impact their future.


As I have learned this principle, I remember asking my dad to bless me.
He must’ve thought I was weird or have lost it.
To those who are unfamiliar, I didn’t grow up with my dad. The first time I met him was when I was 16 years old after my parents broke up before I turned 1.

But when I met him and after reading the book, I took the opportunity to ask him to bless me.
That was a weird conversation and such an awkward one to say the least.

He asked what he should say.
I told him to simply say “I bless you, son.” And whatever else he felt telling me, he can add to that statement.

Awkwardly, he did and more.
Guess what happened that night?
Thunder. Lightning. Everything changed.

Well, not really.
Actually, not much happened that night.

But in the next few years, I realized that something turned that night. I did not just feel I was blessed by my dad. I felt complete as a son and a young man.

As a result, when I got married, I had asked God for grace to bless my children as often as I could.
There was a book my wife and I purchased that helped us pray prayers over our kids while we would tuck them in bed. It was entitled Bless Your Children. It provided us with words directly from Scripture framed as a prayer and a blessing to our kids.

Dads, bless your children.
Bless them with your words.
Bless them with meaningful touch.
Bless them with love and acceptance.
Bless them with words of life that speak of a special future.
Bless them with your genuine commitment.
Bless them with affirmation.


Julie Brasington gives 20 Life-Giving phrases we can release to our kids:

* “I see God working in your life.”
“I love you and Jesus loves you most of all.”
“God is always with you!” (Matthew 28:20)
“You are a beloved child of the King!” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
“You are a gift from God.” (James 1:17)
“You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength!” (Philippians 4:13)
“God has a good plan for your life.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“You are strong in the Lord!” (Ephesians 6:10)
“With God, all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26)
“You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
“You are loved – no matter what.  There is nothing you can do that will change that.” (Romans 5:8)
“Jesus loves spending time with you and so do I.” (Luke 10:38-42)
“Let me pray for/with you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
“Trust Jesus with (insert here – this situation, this fear, this desire, etc.).” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“I love that God helped you (insert here something that your child did – be creative, work hard, think of others, do the right thing, bless someone, sacrifice something that meant a lot to them, be kind to a sibling) today!” (Psalm 28:7)
“God is concerned about every detail of your life.” (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 10:30, Psalm 139:1-3)
“There is so much grace for you.” (Hebrews 4:16) I say this one while hugging a child who is broken over his/her sin.
“I’m sorry – will you forgive me?” (1 John 1:9) This is for when WE make mistakes and sin against them – our kids NEED to know that we are sinners and in need of a Savior – just like them, and “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
“Thank you, God, for this precious boy/girl!” (Isaiah 43:4)
“I am so happy/proud/honored/blessed that God made me your dad/mom.”


After taking a walk around our neighborhood tonight with my family (which we haven’t done in quite a long time), I remembered a composition my daughter in law, Pauline, sent me.

It is apparently written by Chinese pastor to a brother in Christ in Istanbul. I am uncertain about the veracity and accuracy of the author’s information, but the composition is worth the read and will cause you to consider the author’s insights nonetheless.



The hustle and bustle of China finally quiets down, the restless society comes to a still, and the restless Chinese people gradually calm down.

The wild animals that were once held by humans in cages finally managed to keep humans in cages.

Humans finally lower their proud head and have begun to think quietly: Are we still the king of the earth?

Mankind finally feels the power of nature once again….

In the face of the threat of death, human beings have only begun to reflect seriously, only to realize that a lack of awe-inspiring social atmosphere will lead to more harm and more risks.

The greedy heart is being purified by the virus, and the mouth that loves to eat is being punished by the virus. The people who have been soaking in the bright red and green places all day have been driven home by the virus, saying…. “Go home!”

There are fewer and fewer people on the street, few cars on the road.

The air is getting fresher…. the haze is gone…. the sky is getting bluer…. the sun is getting brighter…. family lives are getting warmer, harmonious, and cordial. People’s hearts have become more and more calm.

People who haven’t read for years have picked up books at home. Parents and children who had no communication, couples who couldn’t speak a few words a year have opened up the conversation box. Children who do not know how to respect the elderly have begun to be filial.

The virus teaches human beings a vivid and profound lesson. It makes us understand awe. It also lets us know what is called “good times.”

It also makes us feel true love on earth. It makes us gradually fall in love with “Return to the Road.”

We really should be grateful for this “enemy.” We need such an enemy to give us a “reminder” and give us “empowerment.”

The virus will not leave so quickly. It needs to see the cultivation of human good habits. The virus will not continue to rage, because human love will gather more power to keep the virus away. Time will tell us everything. Time will also prove what is right.

The virus reminds us that THERE IS AN ALMIGHTY.

And humans are just humans.


“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds

Let’s keep praying for our kids and the next generation.



Why did I even do that?

It was a quick turn around trip to Singapore.

My son, Ryan, had a basketball tournament for he was selected to be a part of the 15 and under team for the 7th Asia Pacific Youth Cup in Singapore. I flew on a Thursday morning to watch his games. Friday night, I flew back to Manila because our church had a Marriage Retreat my wife and I were supposed to teach in Tagaytay.

We drove up to Tagaytay for the retreat and I packed again that night to run to the airport at 1 AM to catch the red-eye flight back to Singapore. I had someone preach for me at the services I would normally be in – the 10 am and 12-noon services at Victory Fort.

I was so thankful for my younger sister who works for an airline that gives travel vouchers to family members. But since it was a travel voucher, I was merely on chance passenger status.

I got there 2:15 am and was told that the flight was overbooked. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get in. To top it, there were 2 other chance passengers trying to catch the flight.  I was told to come back 45 minutes before the flight was to leave. Long story short, I was anxious, exhausted and grumpy.

When I got to the line 45 minutes, I was grateful that there were 25 no-shows for that day. I secured a seat! And I was able to join my son again for the rest of the Singapore trip.

Why did I do that? Why come back to teach and then go back to Singapore?

I reckon that our church can have many pastors but my son can only have one dad.

It has been my prayer to never sacrifice family on the altar of ministry.

Here’s a video scrapbook of our recent trip:


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.


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.


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


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.”


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.


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.


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.



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.






Here’s a Christmas activity you can have with your family and friends as the holidays kick in high gear.

Merry Christmas!