I was convicted by my own message last night.

We’ve been going thru a series at Victory metrowide – Abraham’s School of Finance.

Last night’s subject was on Tithing.

Tithing shows up in the Old Testament many times. And it is a covenant He has established with His people.

First mention was in Genesis 14 when Abraham gives a tithe to the King of Salem who is also concurrently a High Priest – Melchizedek.

Second mention was in Genesis 28:22 when Jacob makes a declaration to God that as God provides for his needs, he would give the tenth to God.  Both were pre-Mosaic law.

Many more mentions right after than in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. (Lev. 27:30-33; Deut. 14:22-29)

The tithe is…

1. First
Proverbs 3:9-10. Honor the Lord with your wealth…the firstfruits of all your crops…

2. Whole
Malachi 3:10. Bring the whole tithe to the storehouse…

3. Holy
Lev. 27:30. A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.

Now the question that follows…

Is tithing in the Old Testament? Resounding YES.
Is it found in the New Testament? BARELY. (Besides a few references in Matthew 23:23 and Heb. 7:8)

Should we even tithe?

I believe God did not talk about tithing explicitly in the New Testament because He wants us to ask a different question.

It’s no longer “How much should I give?” but “How much dare I keep?”

John Piper clearly explains it when he said,

“And it is irrational to think that giving ten percent of that money to the church settles the issue of good stewardship. In a world of such immense need, and in a country of such immense luxury, and under the (Great) commission of such a powerful Lord, the issue of stewardship is not: Shall I tithe? But rather, How much of God’s trust fund dare I use to surround myself with comforts?”

I love Jesus because He is such a radical teacher. He would take things a step further.

Adultery? If you look at a woman with lust, then that’s adultery.
Murder? If you hold a grudge against a brother, then that’s murder.

Luke 3:11 says, “He who has two coats let him share with him who has none. And he who has food let him do likewise.” Now, that’s no longer 10%, that’s 50%.

Matthew 19:11, Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler, “If you would be perfect, go sell what you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” Now, that’s not even 50%, that’s now 100%.

Luke 21:1-4, Jesus commends the widow. “All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”  All means 100%.

Giving in the New Testament takes a radical shift.  It’s not even about 10% anymore.

Why is that?

Jesus really doesn’t want our money, He wants our hearts. It just so happens that our finances has an invisible string connecting to our hearts. He says in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

He doesn’t want something FROM you. He wants something FOR you.  Remember, the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Ps. 24:1). He owns the cattle in a thousand hills (Ps. 50:11).  He doesn’t need anything from us.  But He wants our hearts.

So the question is no longer –
“How much should I give?” but “How much dare I keep?”

It’s no longer-

“Shall I tithe?” but “How much of the money that I hold in trust for Christ can I take for my private use?”

No longer-

“Can I afford to tithe?” but “Can I justify the lifestyle that consumes the 90% of my income?”

Remember the first principle of giving –
Everything that I have is HIS; None of what I have is MINE.

And as I said in my first statement, I was the first one to get convicted in my own message.





This question has been asked time and time again.

It’s a valid question that deserves a valid answer.

Different people approach it in different ways.

… Getting an upgrade for their iPhone 4.
… Finding a relationship that would make them feel significant.
… Relaxing through a nice movie with people you enjoy being with.
… Eating chocolates and ice cream. (haha, that’s me!)
… Receiving a promotion at work.
… Finally conceiving and having their first baby.

The list goes on and on and on AND on.

The problem though, which I myself have discovered, is that it doesn’t last very long.

Soon, there’s a new upgrade
… the relationship you’ve longed for isn’t working out so well.
… the movie didn’t turn out as nice as says.
… you feel bad because the chocolate and ice cream gained you a few more pounds (haha, that’s me again)
… the promotion was great but soon enough, you want a better job.

Satisfaction seems elusive. Contentment becomes noncommital.

I was reading Colossians 2 this morning and it all went back to the basics of life.

Sin has always and will continue to be the problem.
Greed. Pride. Lust. Selfishness. Doubt. Unbelief.
These will continue to plague us unless we deal with it.

“But how”, you may ask.

Listen to what the Apostle Paul says,

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

Key thoughts on this…


Sin has a way of ending life.



Two amazing words.

Only through Jesus can this happen. He is the resurrection and the life. Whatever is dead in your life, He is able to make it come back to life.


The greatest need of man today is not more stuff, more friends, or more money.

The greatest need of man is to be forgiven.

We owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
He paid a debt He didn’t owe.


Imagine if you were in debt 20M pesos. Then the bank says, your debts have been cancelled.

How would you feel?

Our debt was more than 20M pesos. It was going to cost us our very life… life in hell for eternity.


The offended paying for the offense of the offender?
Unheard of.

But it was done.


There’s stuff we don’t see. There are those happening behind the scenes we don’t observe with our naked eyes.Jesus disarmed all these. No longer do these have power over us.


We are no longer victims but victors.
We are no longer whiners but winners.
We can now believe burdens to become blessings.
We are able to turn trials into triumphs.

All because of Jesus.

Yup, Jesus.

To feel good?

Well, that’s not the right question to ask.

Ride in the wave of His grace.
Nothing you can do but all about what He has done.

Feelings will just follow.


The perennial statement: “I need to go on a diet.”

Not sure if you’ve said this before.  If you’ve never, congrats.  You’re either a hunk or a hottie.

But to the ‘average’ person like us, we’ve said this time and time again.

Thus, the invention of ‘lite’ foods – Coke light, Breyers light, Mayo lite, Coffee Mate light, Spam light, Tuna chunks light plus all the other products you can think of.

Even iPad apps have them – from Angry Birds lite to Fitness lite.

Their tagline?
Same flavor; less filling.
Great taste; less ingredients.

But we carry that over, unfortunately to our life with Christ.

Same flavor; less filling.  Great experience; less ingredients.

Jesus just becomes one of the ingredients of our week – 1 cup of work, 2 teaspoons of friends, 5 pints of family plus a dash of Jesus to cover all bases.

No wonder why we see ‘lite’ transformation… ‘lite’ lifechange … ‘lite’ adjustment … in our lives.

Same person; just different packaging.

Now we to church.  We carry a Bible around.  We say the right words like ‘Praise God’ and ‘God is good’ (‘all the time’).

But after peeling off the veneer, it’s the same rotten, depraved, lost person.

Jesus doesn’t want to just be one of the ingredients in your near perfect life.  When He comes in, He takes over.  He is not just Savior (to get us out of the mess we got ourselves into).  He is LORD.  And that means boss, in charge and the One who calls the shots.

When we surrender our lives to Christ, we die … so that He can live in us and through us.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)


“I was introduced to the church but not to Jesus.”

This stuck with me when I was having a conversation with Toch. He grew up with wonderful Christian parents.  He was sheltered, protected and well taken cared of.

But when he moved to Manila to study, he was all on his own.  His family, friends, church mates were not there.  He was lost, became lost or got lost.

But whatever the case may be, one thing was missing – a relationship with Jesus.

He had been introduced to the church (the people, the organization, the ministry).  But sadly, he never got to meet Jesus.

Good thing, his college buddy, Crunchie introduced him to Christ.  While they were both getting high with drugs, Crunchie met Christ.

He then reached out to his buddy, Toch.  “Pare sama ka sa akin… eto, mas ibang klaseng high.” (This one, you’ll get a different type of high).

Both of them get discipled, trained and now making a difference where God’s placed them.

Toch, who is now our Senior Pastor in Victory GenSan, said,

“My prayer everyday is that we will build a church that will introduce people to Jesus, not to the church.  Church is great.  But introducing them to Jesus is way better.”


The word “follow” have been used in many different ways.  To some degree it has lost its meaning.

On Twitter, people follow Ashton, Britney, Katy, Taylor, Lady Gaga, Bieber, Barack, Selena…

Following these guys doesn’t necessarily convey a relationship with them – no commitment, no expectations, no demands nor requirements.

When Jesus gave a call, it was clear.

“Come follow me.” (Matthew 4:19)

He took it further by saying,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NLT)

1. Turn from your selfish ways.

There is a turning that is involved. It is virtually impossible for a ‘turning to’ without a ‘turning from’.

Who is at the throne of your life? Self or Jesus.

No one else can answer that but us.

2. Take up your cross daily.

Oswald Chambers says that it’s easier to be martyred than to die daily by picking up your cross.

To be martyred means to die for Christ and wake up the next moment in His presence.

To die daily is a more difficult task.  But that’s what we’re called to do.  Picking up our cross daily, not weekly or yearly, but daily is a consistent dying to self.

3. Follow me.

When we’ve done the first two, then following Him becomes a reality.

If Jesus had a twitter… will you follow?  How?


Parents have many job descriptions – from driving to disciplining, providing to preparing, teaching to training, changing diapers to changing flat tires of their teen’s car.

But of all the different things a parent has to do, the most important thing is to make sure that they point their kids to Jesus.

All the education, food on the table, discipline, travels around the world, and every provision a parent can admirably give to their kids are in vain if they don’t meet Christ.

And I say that unapologetically.

Nothing else will compare to see your kids walk with God.

Our kids can get athletic gold medals, make it to the dean’s list, get academic scholarships, land a good job, generate millions in income but if Christ is no where in the radar, all of it is useless.

Paul says to live is Christ but to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21)

To live for anything else is in vain because to die will be a major loss for we cannot bring any of it to the next life.

I brought my 12 year old to the Ignite Youth conference hoping she can encounter Christ in an amazing way. Hope she did.

What then is my goal? To point my kids to Jesus so they can encounter Him and have a living and loving relationship with Him.

Worship Time during IGNITE 2011


Jesus is found in every book of the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation.

In every book, chapter, season and century.

Can He be found in your heart, ways, season and chapters of your life?

A good question to think about.


When we think of Christmas, we usually think of a baby born in a manger.

But that wasn’t the goal.  It started in a manger but ended on a cross.

And THAT reminds me of how much LOVE was shown as a result.

It reminds me of the story of Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian explorer and statesman.  He lived Norway between 1861-1930.

He tried to measure an extremely deep part of the Arctic Ocean.  The first day he used his longest measuring line but couldn’t reach the bottom.

He wrote in his log book. “The ocean is deeper than that!”
The next day he added more line but again had to record, “Deeper than that!”

After several days of adding more and more line; He gave up without learning its actual depth.

All he knew was that it was beyond his ability to measure it.  How ever hard he tried, his conclusion was “Deeper than that!”

You may have an idea of how great His love is… but it’s deeper than that.
You may have experienced a moment of His love… but it’s deeper than that.
You may have heard of how awesome His love is … IT’S DEEPER THAN THAT.

I pray that you will all the more experience the love of Christ this Christmas season.

Eph. 3:18, NLT. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.


“It is finished.” (John 19:28)

This is probably one of the most powerful statements in the Bible if not the most powerful.

Paid for… Accomplished… Done…

No need to add to what He has done.  We can’t and we shouldn’t lest it would be an insult to the sacrifice offered.

He didn’t say, “I am about to finish” or “It’s in the works” or “Being processed.”

He said, “It is finished.”

Paid in full.


Still chewing on that.

As you and I live out this week, let us walk this truth out.

We are not marching TOWARD victory but we are marching FROM victory.

Simple truth yet life altering.


I was speaking to a man one afternoon. Hearing him, I could figure that he was getting the filter for all his experiences from media – particularly movies and current TV series. He patterned his values from certain characters from specific movies and tv shows.

It’s interesting how we can get ‘discipled’ by our culture.

Bill Hull defines culture as “the belief systems of a society and its outworking of those beliefs through music, painting, writing, films and television.”

He says that the typical person today spends 8 hours on the job, 7 hours sleeping and nearly 5 hours absorbing media messages.

Media is discipling many today, both old and young. The media today is able to erode the moral base of our land, desensitizing you and me to what is sinful and blurring the line between right and wrong.

Hull further continues his thoughts,

​”The people sitting in the pew are products of television more than the Word of God. Their worldviews are not scripturally based; rather they are disciples of their culture. When the media mentions responsibility, they are not talking about moral responsibility, but about using contraceptives. Termination of pregnancy (murder) is the woman’s right; being sexually active (fornication) is all right as long as you practice safe sex; having an affair (adultery) is expected sooner or later in normal, uninhibited people…

​The Christian community is slipping away from moral absolutes. What the pastor declares rubs against the cultural grain. The Word of God is abrasive when clearly presented in the present atmosphere…”

Please don’t get me wrong. Media is not necessarily wrong. I’m actually using one right now. But the role of the church is to influence culture and not the other way around. If we let that happen, then we’re in trouble.

Jesus declares in Revelation 2, “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”