My Book Fair 2012 at SMX Experience

    The bad weather didn’t seems to stop the excitement and enthusiasm as we took a trip over SMX Mall of  Asia Convention Center for the “33rd Manila International Book Fair 2012”. This 5 day book fair (Sept 12-16) showcase local and international book publishers and of course their products. You can buy them in discounted prices and lots of goodies that comes along with it. We came (and counquer) last Saturday Sept 15 on its 4th day of the event. We have to pay an entrance fee of 20 pesos and once inside, man books, books and more books!

       Its my first time to go to that annual event and also my first time in MOA. The place was packed and crawling with bookworms like me that sometimes its hard to find a book your looking for. Our first stop was the Anvil Publishing booth reeking with Filipino literatures. Found new “Looking Back” books by Ambeth Ocampo but I hold on to my dear cash to buy Christian books (well his book can wait). After browsing it we immediately went to the OMF booth.Their booth as expected is swelling with great Christian books (saw Holliness of God by R.C. Sproul) but before I go dive in I have another mission on that book fair. I ask someone from OMF if they can help our small ministry for books to be donated in schools. He referred me to the Marketing Supervisor of OMF Literature, Gladys Calalang. We had an interesting chat, gave me her business card and told me to e-mail me a concrete proposal of our request. So please guys  pray for the project to push through and many will get to know Christ.Before I leave the OMF booth I grab “Knowing Scripture” by R.C. Sproul , a devotional book for my friends and a suprise. Well I got to meet Christian author William Girao. But before I go on I might as well save the encounter in another post. So wait for it guys it’s awesome!

We also check some Bible Societies in the Philippines who has booths there also. We went by CLC then Lighthouse (did we?).
Then to top it all off, we went to the loudest booth in the fair. Will all much hype not only for their booth but for  the whole book fair they should get an award. Church Strengthening Ministry’s with their “CSM Book Madness” Christians are in for a treat. For 100 Pesos you can buy anything as in anything you eyes can see in the booth. What a jaw dropping deal. So I brought “The Pleasures of God”
MP3 audiobook and “When I Don’t Desire God” book by John Piper. I couldn’t believe it cost that cheap I even ask them if its 100 pesos! As if I had enough, the Navpress Philippines booth is offering 99 pesos of Jerry Bridges title. I took “The Fruitful Life” and currently reading it.

I really had fun over that event and next year I will plan for it (bigger budget and more friends to tag long). By the way, did you come to that event too? Please post your story on the comment section. God bless you till next blog post!

Goal Setting

As the year 2011 ends, we should look at 2012 not just hope and optimism but a specific goal in mind. What do I want to achieve? What do I want to do that will make an impact to me as an individual and to others? More importantly is how will I put God in the center of my goals and plans for next year.

As we look the in the topic of goal setting let us look at the text we will study. Written for the believers James, an apostle and the brother of Jesus Christ, points out how we usually plan or set goals.

James 4:13 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”

We can see here that, using a usual business venture, a plan that has been made:

1.)    The duration of time

2.)    Target location

3.)    The methods they will use to profit

4.)    The main goal: to earn

As you can see its all set. I think they thoroughly studied, surveyed the market, considered if their goods are in demand etc,. Perhaps all they have learned from their business school (if they had one in those days) and life long experience are in place and are ready to take off. But something is quite wrong. Very wrong!

Turn verses 14 and 15, will give you why they are wrong:

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

What’s wrong? They left out two important things. One, the uncertainty of life. We are not secure on what will happen next. We don’t know what‘s waiting for us after we step out of the door. We don’t know what’s in store. Life is a vapor. A fleeting moment. As John MacArthur puts it “it is like steam from a cup of coffee”.  Don’t hold to dear life that made us plan and set those goals.

Second, they forgot God to be in their plans. Not that they are planning some ungodly activities or employ dirty tactics but they explicitly forgot God. It’s easy for us Christians to neglect God. Once we have this plan or goal in mind that we know we will benefit we set all our strength to pursue it. We make a map on what we will do and who are the right people to contact for our success. We even pray for it and see that it is godly. But no matter how beneficial or godly it may be if we neglect God in our plan or goal it will not be a success. Also remember success is not determined in your perspective but by God’s perspective. True success is seeing God in your goal. Acknowledging Him that He holds everything.

So why should we recognize those things found in verses 14 and 15? Well by reading the whole chapter we can see that:

  1. It makes us love our strength not God’s providence (v.15)
  2. It makes ground for boasting (v. 16-17)
  3. It makes us love the world more than God (v. 4)
  4. We reject submission to God’s will (v. 6, 7)
  5. We became a constant target of the devil (v. 9)
  6. It results in sin (v. 1-5,11, 17)

Verse 15: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

My goal for 2012 is to have Children’s library for our church. I’m targeting 100 children’s reading materials to minister those children in our Sunday school. Isn’t that great? But as I read our text in James, I should consider my plans and goals for this project that I don’t hold time and I should surrender it to my heavenly Father. Praying and seeking biblical guidance is more important than knowing where I could buy the books, the budget to allocate for the materials and how to take care of the books. Letting the Holy Spirit take control of this project is more important. It’s by God sovereign grace that will determine the outcome. Don’t search for a place where God can fit in the plan or goal. He is everywhere in it. Most importantly it’s His plan and goal. We are merely the steward of it. We should remember that.

So what’s your goal this year? I would like to hear it. Please post it on the comments.