Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Birthday Jesus

Whose birthday is it anyway? Who is receiving the gift?

We often get lost in all the festivities. That is a common reflection we get during Christmas. It is always good that we get reminders that we keep Christ in Christmas.

But one common problem we tend to neglect during Christmas is the gift giving. We often have exchange gifts as part of our Christmas celebrations. We received gifts... big... small... food... novelties... wish list... dream gift... and more. We even enjoy wrapping the gifts we will give to loved ones.

How excited must have been the Father who was getting ready to wrap the gift He will give to save the world. That gift is more precious than any other gift in the world. That gift is wrapped when we received it. The gift is wrapped in baby clothing. Have we dared open the gift? Have we unwrapped the gift God has given us? Again, we have put Christmas about us. We have focused on the gift that WE will receive from God.

Whose birthday is it anyway? Who should be receiving the gift? Who should be giving the gift?

Friday, November 3, 2017

All Saint's Day 2017

How do you celebrate All Saint's Day or All Soul's Day?

It has been a Filipino tradition to celebrate on November 1 and 2 the rememberance of our ancestors. Filipino's are known to have a closely-knit family relations. Everybody is our relative.

In pure Filipino fashion, this November we celebrated the All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day to remember the early Filipinos who went ahead of us.

We celebrated the lives of the early Filipinos by visiting memorials. We went to the Japanese memorial in Ifugao to remember the early Filipinos in Region 2 and the people who offered their life during World War 2. We also had a visit in one of the 7 wonders of the world. It is important to teach the young generation about the culture and legacy of our Filipino Tribe and the richness of our history. We celebrate All Soul's Day not only to remember those we know but all those who have walked this earth and contributed to the richness of the world we live in now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

What are you fighting for?

What are you fighting for?

Sa Tagalog, "ano ang pinaglalaban mo?" Or, "para saan ka gumigising?" The question has had several versions over time. But the thought of the same age old question remains...

"What is the meaning of life?"

Philosophers centuries ago have tried to answer this question. Fast forward to the 21st century, it has become a question of spirituality.

What is the meaning of life... for a singer? To sing.
What is the meaning of life... for a mountaineer? To climb.
What is the meaning of life... for a Christian? To worship God.

The question does not only pose a theological or philosophical question. It becomes the basis and foundation of your life and life activities. If life means to sing, then you will spend most of your time practicing your voice and learning music. You will give importance to your voice when you get sore throat or vocal cord related-illnesses. I presume, your job or career will be either as a singer or related to music. It would be difficult to imagine if it were not. You would not do anything that is not meaningful to your life.

It should be the same if you are a Christian. Your weekdays will be filled with activities that will glorify God. Praying before meals will be a given. Reading the Bible is a necessity. Sunday morning will not be enough for a Christian whose life's meaning is to worship God. But not every Christian  will have to be a Pastor, Priest, or church worker. They would have other jobs that still glorifies God.

But what if you find meaning in other matters? What are you fighting for?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Martial Law

September is usually remembered in the Philippines as the Month when Martial Law was declared.

Different sectors are planning to stage a rally on the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. But the government is quick to tolerate the rally. This is a big difference to the usual response of the government years before.

What would be great to remember on this day? Two sides argue. The benefits that we gained from the declaration. The inhumanities and crimes committed during the declaration. There will always be two sides.

History will be decided by those who write it. What power is left then to the readers of history?

God has been a witness to this page of our country's history. God obviously played a big role before, during and especially at the end of the Martial Law. How does Christian will understand this story in relation to their faith? Was it good or bad? Do we take a pessimistic or optimistic view?

Waiting for the news story... history to unfold...

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Today is my Mom's birthday.

When we talk about birthdays, we think about the baby that was born. But we seldom include in the picture the mom who gave birth. Birthday's focus on the baby born.

As Christians, we often give thanks to God for the new life given to the family and celebrate the arrival of the newborn baby. What if we have a different perspective on birthdays? Why not celebrate the day the mother successfully endured the pain of birth? Why not celebrate the great accomplishment of nourishing the baby for the last nine months? Why not celebrate the day that the mother was able to give birth?

Those are reasons to celebrate. Those are reasons to be thankful to God.

Double the celebration if the celebrant is a mother.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Wife's Birthday

Today is my wife's birthday. She had gone through a lot... but she remains faithful.

Whenever people celebrate their birthdays, we always think about how our life here on earth is a gift from God... that life is given to us. It is not our own and we remain to be always grateful to the Supreme Being who had given us this opportunity to experience this wonderful thing called life.

Thus, when we encounter illness that seems to threaten the life... the gift that was given to us, we wonder if it was ever given to us wholeheartedly for us to enjoy or not. We ask if life was really given as a gift or with conditions? We try to comprehend the sense of life in the midst of illness. Why give life if life could not be fully lived? And then we pause.

Are we privileged enough to deserve anything? If life was indeed a gift, then do we have demand that the gift be given according to our standards? Can we be choosy?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Birthday

On your birthday, Filipino government soldiers are sacrificing their lives in Marawi to bring the Philippine Flag up again. Lives of Filipinos, civilians, soldiers have been lost. Many more are dying still in the bondage of poverty. Freedom to live the good life has still been elusive for many. So, what gift can we give you?

People do not even know it is your birthday. Is it ungratefulness not to remember? Do we not give meaning to the life you offered? Is it our fault if our love for country could not measure to yours? What is the essence of celebrating a birthday anyway when your death was much more meaningful?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

"Let not your hearts be troubled"

I was honored to be the preacher on the 72nd Church Anniversary celebration of Cordon United Methodist Church last May 14, 2017. This church is a vibrant church that has a strong presence that ministers to the town of Cordon. Led by dynamic lay leaders and church workers, they have built a new church and is now expanding it's Kindergarten School ministry to include elementary education.

Visit and worship with the people called United Methodist in Cordon every 9:00 AM, Sunday.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day and I am thinking about the pregnant mothers who had to work for the future of their unborn child.

Yes, I am thinking about a future mother who is 8 months pregnant and still goes to office to work. Colossians 3:23 reminds us that "...whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..." There are many expectant mothers who are dedicated to their role as workers, public servants and environmentalist because for them, their work is their way of glorifying God. Despite expectant mother's desire to work, they are also limited physically by their condition. At some point, pregnancy will affect the laborer. When they are nearing term, they cannot exert as much effort as they want for they might go into premature labor. Heck, even some complicated pregnancy may need bed rest even on their first trimester. Then there is after giving birth. After the mothers give birth, they have to go back to work after a month and leave the newborn baby under another persons care. Thus, I am supporting the Bill in the Lower House of Congress that increases the paid maternity to 120 days.

This Labor Day, shouldn't the church advocating for the working expectant mother's health? Shouldn't Christians supporting this bill?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Birthday Party

I was on the road when the clock struck midnight. I was still on the road on the way home on the first hour of my birthday.  My life has been a journey. This year's celebration is just a Thanksgiving for the wonderful journey in life God has brought me.

The cake says it all!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Church Must Go!

Everything is happening so fast. School is out and summer is in. Exciting times ahead... especially in the life of the church.
I traveled to Jimalalud, Negros via Bacolod. It was a new route for me. It took me longer hours to travel but it was scenic route that I enjoyed. The Negros version of Chocolate Hills and Rice Terraces not to mention the beautiful landscape along the way.
I always enjoy reuniting with old friends and fellow church workers. We are all a year older in the ministry. But not everything is old this year. This year offers a fresh breath in the church. The new church fiscal year is beginning under new leadership. God is always good to lead us to new ministries that will bring good news to more people in the Visayas and Mindanao. I enjoy going to different places, as all Christians should. After all, that is what is asked of us. As Jesus charged the disciples before and so we are charged to, "Therefore... Go!"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New House... Same God

God is a God of love. When God is the center in the household of faith, then love is always there. Even if we move to a different location, God is always with us. And so...

...we are moving to a new place. Where God leads us... we will follow. It is not blind obedience. Faith. It is called trusting in God.

I always remember the story of the great trust in God that was exemplified by Abraham. When God commanded Abraham to offer his son, it was not blind obedience... it was complete surrender to God's will. Sometimes, we never understand nor can we see the logic of God's plan. But that is the beauty of trusting God. All we have to do is..."TRUST and OBEY."

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year

New year offer new hope. It gives us a fresh start. It allows us to realign our goals or set new ones. God is the God of time and new beginnings. This New Year is exciting. For us, everything will be new. New adventure. In Santiago City, Isabela. New addition in our family. In my career. In our business. In our health. In the kids studies. God places in our hearts new goals that will help us grow according to God's will.

God makes everything new and offers new hope with the New Year. Happy New Year.