When one hears of the word ‘tradition,’ it can either be negative or positive.  However, in our context these days, tradition can carry a negative connotation – from the traditions Pharisees upheld so they can support their legalism to traditional politicians who corrode the very system that is supposed to take care of the people in a nation.

But this word is not necessarily wrong.

Traditions can be a tool to build memories.  And for a dad (or any parent for that matter), these are non-negotiables.

As Christmas hits in less that 2 weeks, let me share with you a few traditions that has helped up build memories as a family through these years.

TREE TRIMMING.  I remember growing up getting home from school and finding the Christmas tree already fixed.  While it looked nice and beautiful, I never really had the joy of putting it together with my family.

Our Christmas tree today doesn’t have a theme.  You see trees that have bells theme or apples theme or snow man theme.  Ours is rather eclectic so to speak.  However, each ornament has a special meaning and story behind it like the very first ornament we ever had (a freebie from Shakey’s pizza) to our kids’ first ornament as a baby to trips we’ve taken, to home made ‘ugly’ looking ornaments yet has a special meaning.

We do a Christmas countdown after setting up the lights and the ornaments – 10-1 while every other light in the house is off and turn on just the christmas lights.  The effect is rather magical for the kids shout in glee.

All this is done over pizza and Pepsi.  This has been the food during tree trimming time through the years which is why a lot of our ornaments are ‘oily’, I guess.

…to be continued…


Spoke to Mommy Academy this morning. I still think they made a mistake inviting. They got the wrong guy. They should’ve invited my wife, Jenn.

This is what I shared… here goes…

Remember the movie “Christmas with the Kranks?” Luther and Nora’s daughter went out of the country to serve in the Peace Corps. Thus, that particular year, they felt that Christmas would be without meaning because their daughter won’t be there. So they thought they’d “skip Christmas” that year and just go on a cruise.

How many of us have probably thought about ‘skipping Christmas’ because of all that this season entails. How do we actually simplify Christmas?

Here are a few thoughts.


Last week, Nathan gave our 6 year old, Ryan, a yoyo. I think he wasn’t sure what it was for he kept on tangling the string. I think he thought the purpose was to keep the string entangled.

But the purpose of a yoyo is for it to roll up and down and enjoy it.

Christmas was the time when God thought of the idea to rescue mankind from the mess he was in. The Bible calls that sin.

It is critical for us to understand why we celebrate what we celebrate. That is the starting point of untangling the clutter of Christmas.


First things first. To play with that yoyo, Ryan had to untangle the string before it can accomplish the purpose it was designed for.

Questions to ask ourselves… what is important to us? What is valuable for our family to do?

Our value systems drive our behavior.

Things vs. Traditions?

Traditions are not necessarily old school or bad. Traditions, especially in Christmas time build memories. Rather than focusing on the stuff, focus on fun times that can be spent with family.

A few ideas – setting up Christmas tree as a family instead of helpers doing it, singing Christmas songs together, watching Christmas movies together as a family over a bucket of popcorn, making ornaments together, walking around the village and look at Christmas lights, and on and on and on.


Think. Plan. Implement.

Fill your calendar because of if you don’t someone else will.

My wife prints out a calendar and we’re pretty deliberate about where and what we go to. Because if you let people pull you into this and that party, you’ll be running around like a headless chicken.

Bottomline, remember what Christmas was designed for. And primarily, 2 relationships are critical in this season – relationships with family and our relationship with the One who came, became like one of us so we can be reconciled to Him.

For God SO LOVED the world that HE GAVE…. (John 3:16)


Wow, I’m actually considering attending this seminar.  Because my eldest is now 13 and I’m sure it’s a different ball game.  Clem Guillermo will share his thoughts and experiences about raising up teens.



Devotions with kids over breakfast.

Drove kids to school.


Got the piano repaired and tuned.

Documents notarized.


Lunch with Jenn at Goodahh!

Shopped for running shoes with Jenn for Jenn.

Brought t-ball equipment bag to t-ball practice.

Picked up Nathan from Ateneo.

Brought Nathan to Ian Concepcion’s bday party.

Picked up Janina.

“Family time” at SM Hypermarket (grocery).

Cotton candy, taho, mango shake, siopao…

Helped kids print their homework… printer dying… breathing its last breath…

Read my Bible… (Sorry Lord for letting it get pushed back latter part of the day…)

Wrote this blog.



Sunday Night Thoughts…

  • Scores surrendered their lives to Jesus. THAT never gets old.
  • Tried to mix up the order of the services. Wonder how that went.
  • Fred did an excellent job co-leading with Mayen. A question we need to often ask, “Who’s next in line?” We want to continue to build a culture of empowering.
  • Enjoyed teaching from Hebrews 6. Tough topic yet it got fun as we got into it. Hope people got something out of it.
  • Big preaching blunder… sharing something too specific. I was sharing about playing CALL OF DUTY (video game) with my 13 year old son. I said we teamed up to invade a city (World War 2 scenario) to kill all the Germans, to wipe them all out. Guess what?! After the service, Rob Johnson comes to me laughing and introduces his friend from Germany! I am normally 6’1″ tall. That moment, I shrunk to 3 feet tall.


c and cWhile having breakfast with my kids this morning before going to school, we read a verse that talks about humility and character.  Then the topic of trust in the area of leadership came up.  We talked about why some of our nation’s leaders are losing the trust of the Filipino people.

I told Nathan and Janina that there are 2 things that build the trust of the people we lead.  When one of them is lost, trust is potentially lost as well.

I was talking about CHARACTER and COMPETENCE.

1. Character.  Some people are very competent.  They are skilled, talented and have abilities beyond measure.  They even have the charisma to lead thousands if not millions.  However, if character is not present, I told my kids, people will always be suspicious in the back of their heads if things are being done out of selfish gain or for personal achievement.  That is why character is critical in leadership.

2. Competence. There are those who have great character.  They are very sincere.  They have great hearts.  However, even if the person has a great heart and yet drops the ball often enough and doesn’t deliver, trust is potentially lost as well.

Psalm 78:72 tells us that King David “shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”

Integrity of heart (character)…  Skillful hands (competence)…

And what envelopes all these is the grace of God …  for without Him, we can do nothing.  (John 15:5)


Ryan played T-ball last year. Because they were still teaching the kids the basics of the game, the league decided not to keep scores and forget about win-loss cards.

While I understand the reasoning behind it (to encourage the kids and not worry about winning and losing yet), I thought each game at times became pointless.  Why play a game when you don’t know who will win?  Why play against another team if you don’t know who will end up on top?  It’s probably the competitive spirit in me but that’s how I felt.

In the book I am reading, “Creating Community”, there were 3 questions that were posted that we need to answer as a church family.

1. What do we want people to become?

2. What do we want them to do?

3. Where do we want them to go?

For us in Victory, our leaders made it clear.  The goal is to make disciples.  A disciple is a person who follows Jesus, fellowships with other believers and fishes for men.  And finally, what is the venue where they will be discipled and make disciples? Small groups.

1. What do we want people to become? DISCIPLES.

2. What do we want them to do? To honor God and make disciples.  A disciple is a person who follows Jesus, fellowships with other believers and fishes for men.

3. Where do we want them to go? At this point, the best possible way to make disciples and be discipled is in the context of small groups.

All for now…


Bernard Marquez introduced me to a young girl who’s story gripped my heart.

Arlene (not her real name) is 12 years old.  A couple of years ago, her mom was stabbed with a knife.  Unfortunately, the knife went in too deep that it reached the heart that caused her death.  Sadly, the man she got into an argument with was her husband.  Now, Arlene has no mom and dad’s in prison.  She currently lives with her grandmother.

But since then, she has found hope.  She met Jesus.  At a very young age, she gives her life to Jesus.  With the KC bucks she gets as prize in Kids Church, while everyone saves up for a nice toy or gadget, she saves it to buy her very first Bible.  She devours it and reads it day after day, walks to church every Sunday and gets her life radically changed.

She attended our Boot Camp (preteen camp for 10-13 year olds) a couple of weeks ago.  While her situation remains the same, her faith has been amazing, focusing on her relationship with Jesus who alone can bring hope, security and identity.

Reaching the next generation has never been easy but hearing testimonies like these inspire us to continue to do whatever it takes to bring the gospel to young people like Arlene.


Taking a three-year-old for ice skating can be a major workout. We went ice skating because it was our prize for our seven-year-old daughter who did very well during her first quarter in Grade 1. Since she was going, our ten-year-old and three-year-old sons wanted to come along as well.

Our three-year-old slipped and slid the whole time until he figured out how to balance. It wasn’t easy for him (but neither was it for me, a thirty-five-year-old). Each time he would slip, I tried to be consistent in giving both encouragement and instruction. As parents, we need to ask God to help us learn the ability to see failed attempts as praiseworthy efforts. After encouragement, we need to help them do better by giving further instruction.

The Bible says in Proverbs 25:11 (CEV), The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver. It is possible for us to say the right words at the wrong time. On the other hand, it is also possible for the timing to be right and yet miss out on that opportunity. As parents, we can either build up or tear down what’s inside our kids. Let’s always choose to build them up.