Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 Awesome Things to Do while Commuting

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I’m a candidate for an “I LOVE COMMUTING” shirt. How about you? Anyways, here are some things to do while in transit.

  1. Read Your Bible- Extend your devotional time by reading the Bible going to work or school.
  2. Listen to Music- Nice background or mood setters for the day ahead or relax you from a tiring day.
  3. Sightseeing-Specially a trip to the country side or a beautiful architectural designs in the city. You’re in for an eyeful!
  4. Talk to Strangers-make most of your commuting time chatting with someone. It will be great if you have this stranger who you frequently commute with.
  5. Give out gospel tracts- My friend does this on Sunday while on the way to church. Grab that opportunity to spread the good news on board a public transport.

Do you love commuting? Please post your comments.

The Right Response to an Answered Prayer (Part 1)

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(I preached this message during our Prayer Meeting last February 29, 2012. I hope and pray you’ll be bless!!!)

Acts 12:10-17 “ When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 

And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.”

Truly an answered prayer brings utmost joy to the believer and glory to God. As we ask God he will eagerly answer it. As we look at our text we can see that the Apostle peter was supernaturally rescued from imminent  death. The Jerusalem church fervently prayed for this pastor. God answered their cry, send an angel and took Peter out of jail.

Before we go on I would like to suggest some important thoughts on prayer. There are two of them that will help us in our prayer life, understand God and make the most out of this lesson:

  1. In prayer God is the first one who reaps the benefits of an answered prayer. It is He who alone is exalted in answering our petitions. Whether we like it or not the response (which sometimes happens) it is God who gets the glory out of it. Our human view point may look at it as unanswered or non-beneficial to us but to God your gain is secondary to Him. He and He alone gets all the beautiful benefits of your answered prayer.
  2. Prayer is not only asking and receiving. We should remember it is also acknowledging your dependence to Him. Whatever the outcome will be, we should hold on to Him because whatever His will or purpose it is for our own good.

Now that we clarified it we now move to our lesson titled “The Right Response to an Answered Prayer”. So what is the right response when God grants us our answers to our petitions?

  1. Expect it. Looking at verse 12, we should definitely expect the answered prayer. The Jerusalem church prayed earnestly for the release of Peter and boy they got answered. People who didn’t prayed for Peter’s freedom would not obviously get that answer. Peter won’t go to the place that no one is praying for him and expecting God to move. I maybe praying for a lifetime partner and of course our pastor will not get my answer from God because he didn’t pray for it or need it (by the way our pastor is married). Expect an answer for your petition to our God.

2. Don’t doubt it. Turn to verses 15 and 17. The Jerusalem believers try to paint doubt over their answered prayer. They accused Rhoda of being crazy or what she saw is angel. Its human nature for us to have doubts. Doubts may show up like in situation that is “so good to be true” or surprises. Another is that we really have little faith on what we are praying. Sometimes we have a pre-conceived idea on what God should do to our petition. In any case, we should not doubt if God answers. Don’t let your doubt say “Lord I don’t think you’re answer is good”, “Lord this could not be it” or “Lord I don’t believe you will answer my prayer”. Doubt creates a wall that hinders blessings. So please don’t let doubt have its space in us.

 

To be continued next week…

5 Essential Things to Remember in starting a New Hobby

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Do something delightful and worthwhile. Go have a new hobby. Check out the list of tips on how to have one.

  1. The resource-are the materials, place and budget available?
  2. Hobby Buddy-can you find someone you can share it with or if someone can teach you their hobbies?
  3. Benefits-will it enhance health, additional income or meet new friends are those the perks in your new hobby?
  4. Will you enjoy- will it stretch your smile from ear to ear ^_^?
  5. Will God be glorified-this should be the greatest concern of the hobbyist. Will I engage in this new hobby not just give me a spiritual boost but will I raise God’s glory here?

Any more tips on starting a new pastime?

Prophecy Mongers

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This month marks the 1st anniversary of the failed (and false) prophecy of Harold Camping.  As you would recall, he made a declaration that May 21 will be the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. The media got into the frenzy and social media got wind of this it became viral. Then as you know it, it failed. The problem is, not just the followers of Camping got a bad rap on this audacity, but those Bible believing Christians. All of us, in the eyes of unbelievers a bunch of nut case.

So we got the lesson or did we? I hope so. It’s not just the lesson of falling into a belief of some prophecy but getting crazy over it. What I mean to say is for those people who are into a never ending unwarranted speculation over end times. They are the Christians who looks at the headlines even in tiny bits and try to shove it to the Holy Writ. Eisegesis galore. Or those people who are constantly looking for conspiracy stuff or symbols about the 666 or the identity of the Anti-Christ or what have you. Worst they would tell it to public (rather speak of the gospel that saves) or make websites of their bogus claims.

Yes I would say some of them are true and sincere followers of Christ. Yes, I have some prophecy and end times ministries that I love and respect. And Yes I believe in rapture, 7 years tribulation, anti-Christ etc. In addition I also believe that Christians are entitled to speak on behalf what the Bible teaches and live for it so believers can see our testimony. Im talking to those Christians who are being over the top in presenting prophecies and those Christians who are scared of it. However speculations and fear won’t bring edification through the body of Christ and an exceptional Christian lifestyle that will get unregenerated individuals consider Christ, but will only bring shame and embarrassment to Christianity. Speculations that won’t help bring others to Christ but endless rabbits trail. So please if you’re a Christian handle biblical truth with reverence and care for others.

For us Christians we should remember the following:

  1. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, in context is not spook us out but to encourage us. Address to Christians scattered because of the ongoing persecution, the apostle John (being exiled because of it) it primary purpose of this entire end times vision is, over all tell believers throughout the ages that God is still in control. God is not blind to the suffering of His redeem but as He unveils future events, He is pointing out that no matter what; Christians win because God wins in the end.
  2. Since we know these end times (as it was written in the Bible) we must will our strength preach the Gospel. We don’t want our friends or family suffers in the tribulation so let’s reach them with the gospel.  Read my interview with Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries to get more insight of this.
  3. If properly use, prophecy can be use to prove the Bible is the Word of God to answer skeptics. Like what Nathan Jones in this blog interview, it is the best apologetics.
  4. Finally lets heed on what the late Herb Vander Lugt RBC senior research editor (and one of my favorites over RBC’s Discovery Series Booklets) wrote:

I started a more careful reading of the Old Testament prophets and began to see that God certainly does have an earthly program for Israel. I also saw that Israel and the church are distinct entities. Before long, the prophecies of the Old Testament began to come alive. The Word of God became more vital and real to me. As a result, I grew spiritually. I became more conscious of the promise that Jesus is coming again. My conduct improved and my desire to win others to Christ grew.

The study of Bible prophecy can be just a mental exercise—but so can a study of the attributes of God or any other aspect of Bible doctrine. The secret for success is our relationship with God. If we love the Lord, view the Scriptures as His message to us, and desire above all else to know Him more intimately and serve Him more perfectly, we will grow through the study of prophecy.

(Understanding the End-times, 2004 RBC Ministries pp. 70-71)

 

I think what Vander Lugt said nails it. End times prophecy will be coming soon but Christians should anticipate it not with hysteria but praise. Let’s all look forward for Christ imminent return with gladness and joy as we serve our God and others!

The Lion, The Witch and The Logic

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Last week I’ve brought 3 books of the Chronicles of Narnia series. Now I’m half way in C.S. Lewis “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”. The book so far unfolds lots of action and adventure that’s truly exciting. Not only it’s filled with that but some of the ideas from C.S. Lewis. For those who don’t yet know, C.S. Lewis wrote books on Christian apologetics (defense of the faith).  His works especially “Mere Christianity” is the most quoted because of its irrefutable arguments. Books after books on apologetics they include his famous argument when the deity of Jesus Christ is scrutinized. It great that you can find it also in his own fiction works. Let’s see if you recognize this line:

“Logic!” said the Professor half to himself. “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”

Familiar? Well let’s turn to his classic “Mere Christianity” for a clearer view:

“Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

In other words, if some is making an incredible claim, check if the evidence points to the truth. Then you must decide: is he telling a lie, or is he simply insane or is he telling the truth. As for the case of Jesus Christ, as Lewis points, Jesus may either be liar, lunatic or Lord.

Anyways, it’s great to know that Lewis intends to share some of his great thoughts even in his fiction works. I just can’t wait to read the next book of the series and find such great treasures.

6 Important Things to Prepare for a Youth Group Fellowship

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Being a youth group leader is a hard task but its fulfilling because you get to share yourself and most importantly God’s Word. So if you’re a novice on this ministry let’s look at 6 important things you need to prepare for this kind of fellowship:

  1. The time- We hold our fellowship after lunch or 1:30pm before our Gospel Hour. Set your time, be punctual and stick with it.
  2. The place-Of course it should be at church but on special fellowships it can be on another church or at our members’ home.
  3. Materials- Bible, notebooks, pens, stuff to be used in games or reflection, microphones, etc.
  4. Guest speaker- the guest speaker needs to be reminded beforehand the time and place of the fellowship. Also the topic he will preach.
  5. Everyone’s part –make sure you have delegated it to the group. Before hand they know who will be the opening prayer, games, reflection, special number etc.
  6. A devotional message- The most important in any fellowships is the preaching part. Know what topic your youth group needs (does it need topic about leadership or evangelism).  Prepare it a week before if possible.

I love to hear thoughts about this topic. Please post your comments.

Basta Advice ni Kuya: Delighting Grace interviews Kuya Kevin Sanders of Basta Love Life

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Love, sex and relationships. These three grabs the Pinoys interest. You don’t believe me? Well check out tons of Mexican and Korean telenovelas out there. Or your neighborhood sari-sari store pocketbooks for rent. Or try to tune in the radio to hear Joe D’ Mangos wannabes. Filipinos love talking about these topics.

Delighting Grace recently got a hold with Kuya Kevin Sanders, a campus minister, author and host of the radio show “Basta Love Life” and asked some questions about his blog, books, radio and campus ministry.

Delighting Grace: How did all this things happen? Did you plan all this? When did you start being a kuya?

Kuya Kevin: I became a Christian when I was very young.  A few years later (my teenage years) I felt that God was calling me to serve Him.  It didn’t make much sense to me at the time because I’m more of an introvert (shy type).  But God has continued to confirm this decision.

To make a long story short, I got interested in missions when I was in college.  I told God I would be willing to go if He would make a way.  He eventually did, and I ended up here.  One of the reasons I chose Manila is I really wanted to work with college students.  There are hundreds of thousands of them here, so I have plenty of work to do.  This is my dream job!

Delighting Grace:  There are lots of people especially in the media that has this love advice segments or columns. Dr. Love copycats are like mushroom here. So tell us what makes your advice different from those gazillions out there who wants to take a stab on someone’s relationship problem?

Kuya Kevin: The show was started in part as a response to some of the shallow, worldly advice that seems so prevalent on some shows.  Erwin (my co-host) got the idea while on a late-night bus ride.  He heard this radio “counselor” telling a caller that same-sex relationships are OK as long as you are in love (definitely not what the Bible teaches).  We started talking about doing our own show–a show based on biblical principles.

I think what sets us apart is the biblical approach.  We stick to the Word and try to make it very practical and relevant.

We are also careful to avoid legalism.  The Bible gives us some clear guidelines (such as saving sex for marriage), but I’m afraid some Christian teachers and authors go a little overboard.  It makes me think of Paul’s words: “Do not go beyond what is written” (1st Corinthians 6:4).

Delighting Grace:    One question that rises is: you are American, so how can you give advice to Pinoy considering the culture background?

Kuya Kevin: Well, part of the answer is this: many of the issues I deal with are common among youth/singles all around the world.  Sometimes I find myself personally relating to questions I’m asked–things I’ve experienced myself when I was a student in the States.

But culture does play a role.  I had already lived in the Philippines for a few years before I started doing purity seminars–I didn’t start this as soon as I stepped off the plane.  In other words, I had a pretty decent understanding of Filipino culture by the time this aspect of ministry developed.

Delighting Grace: Wow. So what can you say about Pinoys and how they handle their love life?

Kuya Kevin: I think Filipinos tend to take courtship very seriously.  The process is a little more formal than what we do in the States.  We Westerners, for example, only use the term “propose” to refer to a marriage proposal.  We don’t make a formal proposal for courtship.

I hate to admit this, but the Filipinos’ biggest problem is they are starting to act like Americans–having premarital sex, having children outside of wedlock, cohabitation (living together outside of marriage), etc.  The traditional Filipino values more closely match the biblical teaching on love, sex, and marriage.

Delighting Grace: What do you think makes good advice?

Kuya Kevin: First and foremost, good advice is based on the Bible.  Beyond that I think keeping things as simple and as practical as possible is the way to go.

Delighting Grace: In your experience as a campus minister, what are the challenges you face daily as you minister to students? Do you have an unforgettable story you can share with us?

Kuya Kevin: The ministry I do is kind of unique in that I spend a great deal of time outside the church.  Most of my ministry happens in schools, with students that may not have any spiritual background.  The greatest challenge is reaching out and being patient with the students’ responses–even those who are not interested in the gospel.

I’m not sure that I have one favorite story–there are so many.  Celebrating victories is important, so I make sure to reflect on every life I see changed by the power of the gospel.

Delighting Grace:   I’m also a campus minister and I learned a lot from listening to students when they pour their hearts out. It’s not just to connect to their generation but to share what I experienced. How about you? What is the most important lesson you have learned while these college kids express how they feel?

Kuya Kevin: The most important thing I learn is whatever is going on in that particular student’s life.  It is a great honor to have someone share his or her life with you.  I’ve learned that just being willing to listen goes a long way in doing ministry.

Delighting Grace:  Who do you seek for encouragement and advice?

Kuya Kevin: My parents have been a source of support and encouragement for me.  They’ve always told me to do whatever it is God is calling me to do.

I have some great friends, and each of them encourage me in different ways.  Some of them may just hang out with me for coffee and a movie.  I have a friend in the States who has known me since college.  He’s the one I usually email to talk about issues in my personal life–I can pretty much tell him anything.

I’ve also been blessed with some great mentors over the years.  I still keep in touch with most of them.

Delighting Grace:  Let’s get to your books, you wrote two of them. Can you tell us about the books? How did you get the idea to put out a book?

Kuya Kevin: It all started with the blog (KuyaKevin.com).  I was looking for a way to connect with students I met in seminars–a way to keep sharing my thoughts with them once the seminar was over and they go back home.  I started blogging as a way to share advice.

Students were responding to my blog articles, so I kept writing.  I contacted Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM, my publisher) after a year or so of writing–it seemed publishing was the next logical step.

That’s how Basta LoveLife came into being.

I’ll give you a little more background on Basta LoveLife.  I noticed two things when looking at relationship books in the Philippines: 1. Most of the books here were simply imported from the States.  2.  It seemed many of the locally authored books were written by women.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I figured it was time for something written from the masculine perspective.

This first book is basically a collection of my thoughts about love, sex and relationships–from a biblical perspective, of course.

The second book, Learning the Hard Way, also started on my blog.  I was seeing a lot of sad stories in my email inbox–testimonies of those who were making terrible mistakes and paying the price. “What if stories like these were used to warn others?”  I asked myself.

I started a “Learning the Hard Way” section on my blog, and it was a big hit.  It seemed like it would make

a good book, so I approached my publisher (CSM) about it.  The end result was book number 2.  Erwin designed the cover and artwork for it.

Delighting Grace: Those are things that a Christian Pinoy looks for. You know Kevin “Basta Love Life” book is very Pinoy. What are some reaction of people who read that book?

Kuya Kevin: It’s funny you mention that.  One of the greatest honors I’ve received is hearing Filipinos tell me they can relate to what I’ve written.  It puts a smile on my face because I know I somehow managed to reach my target audience.

Delighting Grace: Your radio show/podcast is great. You and Kuya Erwin make a good tandem. So tell us how do you prepare for the radio show? Have you already made your response to the questions that you received? How do you pick the questions you will discuss in the show?

Kuya Kevin: Thanks–I’m glad you like the show.  Erwin and I jokingly call ourselves the Philippines’ most unprofessional broadcasters.  Don’t get me wrong–we are very concerned with quality.  But neither of us really come from a broadcasting background, and both of us have full-time ministries off the air.

Here’s how we usually arrange the show:  I choose the topics and questions, and Erwin is responsible for the music and production.  You’ve heard the show, so you know he also gives his own insights during counseling segments section.  This arrangement works well because Erwin is the musician/artist.

Or different cultural backgrounds are also a big asset.  Erwin is a Filipino.  He grew up in Manila, moved to the States as a teenager, and moved back to the Philippines a few years back.   I’m an American who moved here about eight years ago.  I think it gives us a pretty good balance in terms of cultural perspectives.

Delighting Grace: You have a blog, books, radio podcast and you minister to students. I think many are curious; do you still have time for your own love life?

Kuya Kevin: Well, it can be challenging to balance full-time ministry and a social life.  But the biggest challenge for me has been finding the right person, not finding the time.  I can always make time for the right person.

I’ll add something here–something I find a little amusing.  People have asked me how I can write a book on love when I’m not married.  Here’s my answer: my books are not about married life.

I think it is great to hear from those who marry young and had relatively few romantic troubles.  But what about the rest of us?  I think we need to hear from those who, like me, have experienced rejection, breakups, blind dates, and all the other trials of single life.  Basta LoveLife, for example, has a chapter or two on breakups.  I included this because I noticed this kind of thing was mysteriously absent in some Christian books–as if Christians never experience broken hearts.  Believers need to know God is with them in the midst of their most trying moments.

Delighting Grace:  In closing, please give a message to those who follow you in Twitter, Facebook, read your blog and books and listen to your podcast. Most of them really benefited with your advices for sure.

Kuya Kevin: I would probably refer back to the “two commandments”: be pure and be wise.  Keep yourself sexually pure and use biblical wisdom in your relationship choices.  Do this and you’ll avoid most of the disasters.

Delighting Grace: Bro Kevin thanks for giving your time for this interview and God bless as you minister to students.