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Reaching Out to the Lost

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When I was in High School, a Junior and Senior student to be precise, I was so active inviting my classmates for our youth services at church. I guess most of my classmates would remember me as that girl who keeps on bugging them every week to go to the youth service. It was one of the happiest moments of my life – seeing my classmates and batch mates (plus a few students from the lower batch) sing praises to God and humble themselves in His majestic presence was priceless. I cherished two of my classmates’ words one night after the service, “Naiyak talaga ako habang kumakanta. Ganun pala ako kamahal ni God.” (I cried while singing Him praises. I didn’t know that He loves me that much.) and “Dito na tayo mag-reunion sa College!” (Let us meet here for a reunion in College!)

But since I went to College, things changed. I stopped inviting my classmates to youth services (partly because I couldn’t attend the youth services near our school, so why should I invite if I myself couldn’t go there). I can give a lot of reasons why I really cannot attend services that time, but I was so busy I lost track of my walk with God. I became so distant. I didn’t notice I was already trapped within a deep chasm where, I think, God couldn’t hear me. It was the saddest and loneliest season of my life – living without depending on Him. I realized how hard it was to live without Him when He has become a part of your lifestyle.

Despite of all the dreadful things that happened to me, God is still gracious. He brought me back on track. He gave me opportunities to reach out to the lost. But I felt like I should not (not that I should NOT reach out to the lost people at all, but I have not been reaching out, really). I did not go back to inviting my classmates to youth services. Instead, what He let me see recently is this: there may be a lot of lost people out there that we need to reach out to, but we also have to take care of the flock that needs to stay on track with their walk with God. I heard testimonies about how they struggled to keep their faith and to keep their fire burning within them. I saw how they went so cold in their relationship with God. I heard their plight and agony with themselves and especially with God. It was a sad scene to see. I was so sad hearing these stories.

We may be busy reaching out to the lost, but are we also encouraging our co-believers with love? Do we give enough attention to the believers who are struggling with sin? Where is the grace that God poured out to His people when the same grace and forgiveness He has lavished upon us cannot be seen within and through us? An argument can be raised here, saying, “But it will be up to that person or believer to help himself/herself. I did my part. I encouraged him/her, but he/she is still like that.” The question is that have you persevered until you can’t bear it any longer? Have you endured walking with them through thorns and nails, through the pain they are carrying, through the burden they bring on their shoulders every day? How long were you there when you said that you will be there for them?

Going back to the basic, discipleship is relationship (not my original idea). How is your relationship with the lost people you once fished? With the people God entrusted you with? Once a leader in the congregation, I feel bad and guilty about this. But I am really amazed with what God has impressed to me. It’s not that I will totally stop reaching out to the lost. I must bear in mind that I should also remember the believers who are in dire need of help in their relationship with God. But as I help the believers, I should see to it that I must be the head, and not the tail that shall slip any time as I help them get back up.

Galatians 6:1 & 9 (ESV)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted… And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

*The picture used in this post is not mine. Credits belong to the owner.


I Made a Mistake

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A couple of years ago, I had a serious problem with my faith. I struggled about my beliefs towards God, thinking if He is really true. I thought, “Maybe He’s not true. Maybe we people made an imaginary perfect being just to cover our own imperfections. Maybe God is not really true, just someone or something existing within the minds of imperfect moral beings.” I came to the point of not attending church anymore because every service means nothing to me. I closed my heart and ears towards what God’s messages through the preaching of the pastor and through worship. Attending church means being with my family and friends ONLY. Attending church became an obligation to me.

Until I met my first leader in church again. It was a coincidence in a way because she rarely goes there. She attends to a different church (branch). I told her about what I was thinking. I told her about my beliefs. She told me that she also struggled about God’s existence. But it was God who led her out of her own doubts about Him. I forgot the revelation she got from God that made her believe again. It just took a bold step to have faith in Him again that took her back, at least that’s what I remembered.

When I doubt His existence, I always remember this quote (which I guess is from Philip Yancey or John Piper, my two favorite authors in theology), “…It is like being grateful with no one to thank.” It is true. Living without God is like being grateful with no one to thank. You can’t thank the flowers for suddenly popping out of the field. You can’t thank the mountains for being there. Or you can’t thank the giants who could have probably formed those mountains. Everything is not as they are without putting God into the context, without putting God into the center of the world. It just seems too wrong without God in it.

After doubting the existence of God, it was not long when I started thinking ill of our church. I thought randomly that time. While the people were praising God with all of their hearts, raising both of their hands high, I usually thought, “LORD, you see the hands of these people. They cry out to you and then turn their backs to you. They just need you for their happiness and satisfaction. They just praise you when they’re okay. They just praise you when they’re in church. But when they’re out in the real world, they are very very different people.” Honestly, I didn’t know those people I was talking about, They were all strangers to me, and I spoke and thought ill of them. I thought ill of the church, the imperfectly perfect church. I defined it as imperfectly perfect because the church is composed of imperfect people, but bonded together by a perfect God, the body of Christ. Going back, I opened this up to a concerned sister from the church. She told me that she also had thoughts about the church as “hypocrites.” But we both concluded, “Aren’t we the hypocrites when we judge others as such?”

Judging others won’t do anything good. They attend church because they are not okay. They attend church because they acknowledge their wrongdoings before God. They are honest about who they are. They don’t cover their dirt. They surrender who they really are to God. They attend church because they are in need of a friend. They attend church because their souls are so thirsty. They read their Bibles because they want to seek who God is. It is not about their imperfections anymore. It’s about who God is in their lives. This is how it should be. We need to focus on Who God really is. The problem with humanity is our tendency to be too selfish and close-minded, looking at then judging others before looking at their own wrongdoings. Thus, God led me to reading this passage in Matthew 7:3-5 (CEV):

You can see the speck in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the log in your own eye. How can you say, ‘My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you don’t see the log in your own eye? You’re nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend’s eye.”

picture in this post is not mine.

Make A Decision For Your Future Self.

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🙂 “Make it the one you want.” Have fun going through life’s journey!

J.S. Park

If you’re not sure how to make a certain decision, consider how you’ll look back on what you decided. Look back on it from your future self.

If you want to take that memory with you, then brave every risk and climb every cliff — do what it takes to get there. Give your future the best hope of nostalgia.

If you know your decision will be a burden of baggage, then hold on to what you must and let go of what controls you. You have just the one story to tell, but most importantly, it’s the only story you must one day tell yourself. Make it the one you want.

— J.S.

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Mistaken Identity by Ken Wong

Mistaken Identity by Ken Wong

As a person, I have a lot of insecurities… Maybe as a lady, too.

Maybe a lot of my friends think that I don’t have any insecurity issues in life, but the truth is it was natural for me to be insecure in a lot of things ever since I was a child. Yes, since I was a child.

I used to be insecure towards someone else’s hair, eyes, lips, figure, and everything. I tend to be insecure towards the friends of my closest friends. I used to be very insecure towards those who can draw really well (that’s why I gave up my dream of becoming a manga-ka). I also tend to be insecure towards those who seem to be very cool in terms with how they express their thoughts and emotions.

But despite of all these insecurities I have in my life, I always think about this:
What if the people I’m insecure with are also insecure with me?

I’m not being vain. I just thought about it. If we stopped comparing ourselves with other people, how beautiful will we treat one another? If we celebrate others’ successes in life and stop the secret competition happening maybe in our hearts or minds, how many true friends can we gain out of it?

Personally, it is very hard to be not insecure even for a bit. But my life would be better if I stopped comparing myself with others and appreciate my own uniqueness. But lastly, who am I?

His 46th Birthday

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images (3)

Disclaimer: Picture not mine!

I feel sad because I do not have any more words to say for his birthday this time, so I guess this post will be short. Once again, it’s Hyde’s birthday last January 29, and it was neither a good nor bad day for me. I was trying to be happy, but I didn’t know why I couldn’t.

I have been a fan of Hyde and his band for almost eight years now… I don’t know why I posted in my Facebook that I have been a fan for only six years! Haha. I like Hyde for being an inspiring songwriter. His voice is also dreamy. Whenever I hear him sing, especially in their live concerts, I say to myself, “His voice is very wonderful. He smokes yet he is still gifted with such a voice.” I still really like him, and I hope that he’s doing well with his family – that’d be my birthday wish for him. Being a musician is very hard, especially if you have world tours and you’re busy with your band. You might not have time for your family. I also thought about that when I watched a live concert through YouTube, when they played “Sweet Dreams”. In the end of the song, he sang, “I’m sorry” with tears from his eyes (?). Those words were not found in the song, so it really made me thing about how he really was backstage because I believe that he is not the same onstage and backstage.

It seems that this post has a lot of sadness in it. It just made me think about him, and such things make me don’t want to be busy in the future when I’ll have my own family because I want to be with them all the time. But I don’t know his life story, so I hope he’s really doing well now: being happy with his family AND band mates.

I Salute You

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I made the meme, but the picture is not mine.

This should have been posted months ago when I was caught in a heavy vehicle traffic at Commonwealth Avenue because of the SONA (State of the Nation Address). It happens all the time. I waited almost an hour and a half for an URVAN, and was stuck in the heavy traffic for two hours. A thought passed through my mind during that long journey to school, “It’s awesome how these drivers still continue to serve the commuters despite of this traffic!” It’s really hard to earn money nowadays, but if you really need to do it for your family, you will do it no matter how hard it could be. Whenever I see these drivers (may it be in the jeepney, tricycle, pedicabs, fx or vans), community workers, garbage collectors, janitors, security guards and the other people who do such hard work, I am really amazed. Without them, the surroundings won’t be clean, the grass won’t be trimmed, there would be no order, and the commuters won’t be able to go to their chosen itineraries. I’m very thankful to have these people.

And to this thought, I remembered my classmates when I was in 4th Grade who were talking about the salaries of teachers and janitors. I only realized the logic of their conversation when I was in College. They were thinking why janitors get lower salaries than teachers when the janitors actually do a harder job. I think like this towards the construction workers. The owners of the soon-to-be establishments are richer than those who do a harder work. But going back to my grateful heart to those awesome people who work so hard for their families, I really salute you. I guess I should also commend our soldiers here.

Quote: Loving Someone

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Words. ❤

J.S. Park

— Hannah Brencher

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