Today was also Real Life Foundation’s annual graduation celebrations. Real Life is Victory’s benevolence arm. The picture above is with high school graduates from Taguig City with Lynn Nawata (on my right), Real Life’s Executive Director. Also in picture is Ethel Neo (on my left) of Deloitte, Singapore who is a Real Life volunteer and supporter.
A total of 19 university graduates and 14 high school graduates.
Photo above is of Emman Camcam and her mother Kourtney, both Real Life volunteers and supporters. Also in picture is Real Life’s Sony de la Calzada. The video below gives you the latest update on Real LIfe. This one is a must see.
Thank you Lynn, Sony and the rest of the Real Life team for all the work you do.
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world.” 1Samuel 2:8
At 8:30 am today we inaugurated the newest branch of Coffee Bean – the chain of cafes that’s famous not just for the quality of their coffee, but for their breakfasts, sandwiches, salads and deserts. What makes their food great is they are prepared by the restaurant and not by suppliers. Personally I recommend the salads – value for money. I have tried each one and they are great!
The new branch was at the fourth floor atrium of the award winning Ecom Tower 2 at the Mall of Asia. Interestingly this morning US Ambassador Harry Thomas (second left) who was special guest decided to treat the embassy’s model employees for breakfast at the restaurant. Together with Patrick Wall (beside me), US Counsel for Commerce and Industry, the employees sampled Coffee Bean’s breakfast menu.
Also in picture: Walden Chiu, extreme left, President of Coffee Bean. Manong Nards Jimenez, center, Chairman of the Board.
Top photo shows the men behind the Bean. Paolo del Rosario, extreme left, VP for Marketing and Business Development. Jay Ong, extreme right, VP for Strategic Partnerships and Project Development. Others in picture: Joel Jimenez (GMA 7) and James Ong Of East Asia Trade.
How did I end up in this company? Manong Nards along with his family and Walden are members of Victory Fort. For some time Walden and I went to the same small group.
Coffee Bean is also a big fan and supporter of the Real Life Foundation, Victory’s arm that is responsible for our feeding programs for the marginalized and our educational scholarships.
Congratulations to Coffee Bean, may the Lord continue to grant you success. My message this morning was a reminder that:
“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:1-2
Zach Sycip second from right is a spiritual son. He celebrated his 28th birthday today, two days before David’s my second son (extreme right). In my mind’s eye I can still see Zach and David in strollers together, as classmates, in field trips and the countless times at home and elsewhere with us. A few years ago I had the honor of doing this young man’s wedding to Rinka (nee Romero) the lone girl in the photo. Photo also shows the rest of the gang: from left: Joshua, Enzo Marcos and Paolo Valenciano. Below is a picture with Zach’s mother, our dear friend Dorris.
Rinka thanks for having us at the impromtu surprise party. It was good to see your parents and meet your grandmother. It was great to reconnect with Omy, Rosanne and Charlie. And Rosanne thanks for the book.
Happy Birthday Zachy boy. I pray that you will continually have a revelation that:
“…you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:2
The picture of Steve Murrell winning this race is a classic shot. Thanks to his father (I think) and a good camera.
For many years I have grown up spiritually under Steve’s teaching gift. Steve has always had a way of unpacking God’s word in a way that I could relate to and understand. More importantly be able to apply it to my life. Now that he spends most of his time traveling for the Every Nation world I don’t get to listen to Steve as often. Thankfully last Wednesday Steve spoke at our monthly staff meeting in Manila – and like the picture above, true to form Steve delievred another classic.
I’m meditating on his message for my Sabbath today. I was so convicted by what he said, I knew I had to review it and internalize the words of Philippians 2. Paul starts out with an appeal to unity and likemindedness. Then he explains how that can be achieved:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
Four things will cause disunity: selfish ambition, vain conceit, devaluing other people’s contributions, concern only for one’s interests. More than just a teacher Steve is an intuitive leader who knows what to say and when to say it. With the growth of Every Nation particularly in Asia he cautions us on how enticing success can be and how it can lead to blind ambition and vain conceit – surefire causes for disunity.
Steve explained that….”When God does something in us our response should be one of humility. When He does something for us our response is gratefulness. When He does something through us we tend to get full of ourselves, our natural human response is one of pride.” It is here that we must look to Jesus.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:6-8
At the end of the day the issue of our hearts is sin. In this case – the sin fo pride. Pride is the combination of our fears and insecurities that we learn to cover up with our well fabricated lies (mainly to ourselves). Through constant practice we perfect our pride. Fortunately there is a remedy. Look to Jesus.
Although being God, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He did not use His super powers to his own advantage. Instead He humbled Himself and became a servant who obidiently obeyed the Father unto death.
Lord, thanks for the reminder. Thank You for Your example, may we learn, apply and find victory over our own fears and insecurities. And may we learn to be truthful about ourselves.
I’ve always thought of her as Victory Fort’s secret weapon. She makes all of us pastors look good. Mae Perez runs the Worship Services group at the Fort. She is the forerunner who slowly developed the initial systems and practices of the group that has now evolved into what is being practiced in the over 90 Victory services that go on all over Metro-Manila.
Mae at one point was in charge of ground customer services for Northwest Airlines in Manila (now a part of Delta) before going into full time ministry.
Whenever people from other nations visit Manila I always make it a point that they have some time spent with Mae. Only a few weeks ago we had visitors from Michigan and Moscow. At the end of their visit I usually ask them what were their most memorable learnings and just like the two visitors they often say “it was our time with Mae.”
But what makes Mae outstanding is not just her professionalism and reliable execution of services but the fact that she is an avid disciple and maker of disciples who loves and builds people. Happy birthday Mae, Marie and I love you. May His grace abound to you in greater measure, I am certain He is pleased with you, I can almost hear Him say:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.a Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:23
Picture above is of the leaders and staff of LifeBox after the graduation ceremonies doing “the box.”
They were engineers, nurses, educators, business, accountancy, information technology graduates – each one responding to a call from God to reach high school and university students. Today, Every Nation’s School of Campus Ministry in the Philippines held its graduation ceremonies. A total of 23 graduates from Metro-Manila and 12 other cities in the Philippines. Brining the number of full time campus ministers to over 200.
Campus Ministry is where Victory and Every Nation traces its roots. I am grateful to God for allowing us to stay true to the vision of reaching the next generation. And that after 27 years the vision has not waned, instead it has gotten stronger.
Fact remains that the majority of people who get saved receive the Lord at campus age or below. The other fact is many of the significant turning points in history were spearheaded by the youth.
My brief message to the graduates is taken from 2Timothy 2:1-7. Here Paul captures the 3 common yet distinct pictures of the call to ministry: that of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer.
Above is the picture of all the graduates as our apostolic team prayed and commissioned them to go and make disciples. Congratulations guys, we’re mighty proud of you. Thank you for responding to the call of God in your lives. Through your ministry some day our nation will be transformed. Picture below, pastor Keith Deloria (right) with graduate Francis Rodel Cordova both from Iloilo. Great to see you again Keith. Congratulations Rodel.
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,b but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan.” Isaiah 9:1
A movie that disturbs and gets you thinking. What made Hunger Games so popular? Its reality TV on steroids. It has the outwit, outlast, outplay of Survivor, the thrills of Fear Factor, the conspiracies of Big Brother, the cult following of American Idol, the no holds barred appeal of Jerry Springer with tinges here and there of every reality tv show you can imagine. And let’s not forget the devious plot of The Truman Show.
It is a scary sketch of man’s lost ways without God. Take God and His sovereignty from our world and what can you expect – Hunger Games. We are a desperate bunch without God. The thing I like most about it is it gives a peek at real life in the real world where man is put in complete control without God’s rule in their hearts. Life becomes about entertaining oneself at the expense of others.
“While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.” Judges 16:25
The Sun is the largest thing the naked eye can see from the earth. It is no wonder it has often been looked upon as deity. The Egyptians had a god named Ra – “the Sun god” – one they looked upon as second in rank only to Pharaoh – “the living god.”
The Sun’s radius is about 700,000 kilometers. That’s massive compared to earth’s – about 6,300. This radius creates an enormous mass. It’s so massive NASA estimates that about 1.3 million earth sized planets can comfortably fit inside the Sun. As massive as the Sun is it is but one of billions of other stars out there. In his heart the Psalmist correctly declared:
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Psalm 139:6
I am left with one appropriate response – humility, dependence and gratitude.
“My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. Psalm 131:1
This translates to worship – a lifting of my eyes and look to You. In You rests all my trust for You alone are worthy.
“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26
Enjoying my day-off with Marie – run, swim, movies: “Hunger Games.”
Saw this post on facebook of Joseph comfortably napping on the edge of Mount Pulo and thought “What in the world…?” Oh, well I guess boys will be boys.
Then I saw this picture with his wife perched on this mountain top – only to find out that they were there the same day she was graduating from university. The beauty of the Philippines. Nice mountains with time enough to climb and do everything else. Nice pics guys. Glad to see you enjoying times together.
“Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” Psalm 24:3-4