Never really grew up reading. Never liked it. Never enjoyed it. I know, I’m such a bum.
While my classmates would read Hardy Boys and Sweet Valley High (yes, they were boys… I know, weird, right?), I would be out playing basketball, tumbang preso, baseball and getting smelly.
However, through the years, I’ve ‘forced’ myself to like reading because I realized I can’t grow (spiritually, intellectually, leadershipically… making up words now) if I don’t read. Started as a “have-to” but now becoming a “love-to”.
I still read veeeerrrrryyyyyy sssslllloooowwww, but I think I’m making progress. Much of reading is a discipline, not really a natural inclination, at least for me.
But if I read 250 words a minute, this would mean that in 20 minutes, I could read 5000 words. An average book has about 400 words to a page. So in 20 minutes, I could read about 12 1/2 pages. So if I discipline myself to read 20 minutes a day, six days a week, that would be 312 times 12.5 pages for a total of 3,900 pages. If an average book is 250 pages long, this means I could read 15 books in one year.
Achievable? Definitely. Now all I need is discipline. So help me, God.
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.
Key thoughts from Day 2 of our Biblical Preaching Seminar by Nomer Bernardino.
1. The preacher needs to be convinced of his calling and the awesome importance of his task.
It is important to be clear on this. Otherwise, what we do becomes a ‘have-to’ rather than a ‘love-to”.
2. The Preacher needs to cherish, grow and guard His own love affair with God.
The more full our souls, the more we can preach without running dry. (Haddon Robinson)
The pulpit is no place for borrowed blessings. They must flow out of the minister’s fellowship with God in order to be fresh and exciting. (Wiersbe and Wiersbe, The Elements of Preaching)
3. The preacher needs to immerse and delight in the Word of God again and again
Psalm 1:1-2. Meditate on God’s word day and night.
Psalm 119:97. Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all day.
4. The preacher needs to have a genuine love for his flock.
5. The pastor needs to take care of his family
While it is true that God does not looks at outside appearances but the heart, the congregation does not see as God sees. What they see is the pastor’s personality, the way he raises up his family and how his children are doing.
It’s very easy for pastors to unconsciously neglect their families, who are longing to be discipled and cared for by the pastor, while waiting, suffering silently.
Some pastors are only awakened when there’s a tragedy. It is not accidental that Paul wrote that leaders should manage their households well.
Our families are our first line of defense and encouragement from the enemy and from the pressures of ministry. But when neglected, they may become the pastor’s waterloo.
6. The pastor needs to take care of himself and his health.
While bodily disciplines are not as profitable as the pursuit of godliness, there are obvious advantages in taking care of our physical well-being, and more importantly, this is the will of God.
Preachers are gross violators of sabbaths.
7. The preacher needs also to learn to hear the voice of God and discern the work of God through other people.
Listening in Pastor Nomer Bernardino’s teaching about Biblical Preaching, I gathered so much. There’s a renewed passion and fear of God in delivering His word.
He lays down 2-fold task of the messenger:
1. To present the true and exact meaning of the biblical text. We have to be able to say, “Look at what God is saying.”
2. To present God’s truth in a manner that is relevant to the contemporary listener. We have to be able to say, “This is what God is saying now, to you…”
Thought I’ve learned this lesson many years ago, I still need to keep learning it…
Conflict doesn’t just go away when we ignore it. Unfortunately sometimes, when left unaddressed, it even gets worse.
A couple of days ago, I had to sit down with a few people to work on a specific situation. No biggie. But it was snowballing and unless it was confronted, things will get out of hand.
That awesome part was that everyone had a great heart. That’s a big plus when dealing with conflict. Both wanted to honor God in their lives and in this particular situation and decided to resolve the issue. It ended with the situation getting fixed.
Another lesson re-learned… We can’t wish conflict away. There’s no other way but to confront lovingly and truthfully in the hopes that God by the Holy Spirit will step in to soften hearts and allow us to understand the situation for what it really is.
I missed preaching 2 consecutive weeks at our 5 and 7 pm services. The other week, I was in Cebu with my family for our vacation. Last week, for Mother’s Day, Ms. Coney Reyes shared from her heart a message for mothers, fathers and even children.
I’m glad that our church is not built on personalities. We’re not trying to build the ministry on a person but on JESUS alone!
The kingdom of God will continue to grow with or without us. So much for egotistic ministers. In fact, the funny thing is, the Kingdom of God will continue to advance INSPITE of us. Inspite of our dum decisions and mistakes, God’s grace is greater than all that… swallows up all our shortcomings and silliness.
Rememeber, it’s His name we’re lifting up, not ours, the church’s or anyone’s name at all.
Our new series with the title “LUPANG HINIRANG” (Chosen Nation) is amazing. I can just feel it. Many lives are going to be touched by God through His word.
It is a series on the book of Nehemiah. It was God who incited a burden on his heart and it is only He who can do the same to us. During his time, Israel was a nation ‘in great trouble and disgrace.’ Know any other nation of the same description? I know one. I live in one.
But that’s not going to remain the way it is. What didn’t happen 141 years can happen in 52 days. The nation of Israel in ruins for 141 years yet Nehemiah was able to accomplish the rebuilding of the wall in 52 days.
God is bigger than our situations. God is bigger than our nation’s problems. He can and He will if we humble ourselves and pray!