Showing posts with label CCF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CCF. Show all posts

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Kiddos bored every Sunday? Give them ORANGE!

Hello friends.  If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you’d know that we are a church going family.  If your family is, too, the read on because I will give a fantastic solution on a pretty rampant problem among church going families, especially in this country (the Philippines).

Are your kiddos bored silly when your family goes to church?  Especially here in the Philippines, where the majority of the people go to the type of churches where kids have no choice but to sit with their parents, this is an all too common scenario.  Needless to say, Sunday mornings for most kids are usually not very pleasant, not only because of the boredom, but because they get chastised by expressing their boredom (squirming, fidgeting, complaining, etc.).

The church I go to invests heavily in children, and for many years I have been a very big part of serving these young people Sunday in Sunday out.  Well, earlier today, said church launched quite possibly the best curriculum we’ve ever had, called ORANGE…and as luck would have it, the Kids Church team that would launch it for the 7-12 year olds will be the team that I used to lead, a team that includes my daughters and my mom (unfortunately, I can no longer be involved because I now do Graduate School in addition to full time teaching).

The kids had an absolute BLAST…while learning about God and Biblical principles.  My blog will be all about today’s events, and if you live in any of the major cities of the Philippines, your kids can enjoy ORANGE as well (you'll find out how, later).  Game?  Let’s go.

Before I share ORANGE with you, let me share with you a quick video of why this is sooooo important.  Did you know that there is a great battle for the hearts and minds of our children?  Please watch this video, made back in 2011 but relevant today more than ever.  It’s a part of a bigger video here, but I just have a snippet of it to prove a point.  It’s not that long, so please view it before you go on further.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hayden Kho’s very heartfelt testimony. There’s redemption even for the worst of us.

I’ve you’re an adult living in the Philippines who’s even remotely connected to national or even showbiz news, I’m sure you’ve heard of Dr. Hayden Kho and his exploits.  For those of you who don’t, let me give you a short description of why he became so famous.  He dabbled into showbiz and became a minor celebrity, but he’s most famous for a series of sex video scandals that took the nation, and the internet, by storm.   This incident earned him nationwide scorn and infamy, as you would imagine…he was even voted the most hated man in the Philippines.

Well, he gave a very, very, VERY heartfelt testimony last Sunday, and I would like to share that with you here.  I was mind-blown.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Raised to Run – Dr. Ravi Zacharias in Manila

Dr. Ravi Zacharias at CCF
Last weekend, the Philippines in general and my main church in particular was blessed to host one of today’s greatest men of God, world renowned speaker and author Dr. Ravi Zacharias.  He and his team were in Manila to give an amazing conference called Unshakable: Standing Firm in Changing Times last Saturday; and the next day, he gave the Sunday message for everyone in the congregation, titled Raised To Run.

Because technology is awesome (and so are the wonderful people at CCF), the Sunday message was shown simultaneously via Livestream to the CCF churches all over the Philippines, and that includes where my family and I worship, CCF Cagayan de Oro (though my lucky eldest daughter was able to see him live as she’s there for a youth leadership conference).

This blog entry has the pleasure of featuring Raised To Run – by Dr. Ravi Zacharias in CCF Manila.  All you need to do is click on the video below.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

From rape and tragedy to forgiveness and victory: the Joy Tan-Chi story

I hope you all are having a great Holy Week / Lenten season.  As for me, it’s a staycation (staying home vacation) where I just simply rest—which I badly need—and catch up on good books and chilling with family.

One of the highlights of my Holy Week was watching the true story of Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza on TV yesterday.  She was a good, very innocent, teenage girl: never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, etc.  But then a group of thugs broke into the family home, tied up her siblings (their parents were away), stolen their goods…and then the worst nightmare happened: they (7-8 of them) violated her innocence by raping her.  That’s not the end of this tragic yet amazing story, because from rape and tragedy comes forgiveness and victory.  

This indeed is the true to life Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza story, and I’m so glad I found the video on youtube.  It’s divided into four parts, and I will feature all of them here.  WATCH IT!!!  I know the story even before the TV reenactment of it, but it’s here where we see where the impact to the family, even many years later, is still so evident and poignant.  Enjoy—and prepare to be moved to the very core, as this is one of the greatest examples of the adage that God uses even the most horrible of events for great good.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

God’s design for marriage

February is always a very tough month to post blog posts, because it’s the 2nd to the last month of the school year here in the Philippines, and that means we’re approaching the finish line…and we’re approaching faaaaaast!  That said, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching as well, and there seems to be this huge force compelling me to submit a love or marriage blog post.

Okay, okay, so I will.  I don’t have time to post original content, but I’ll do one better: I’m gonna post a quick video from one of my favorite speakers on parenting and marriage, Dr. Peter Tanchi.  Here’s a clip of his latest message on the design of marriage:

If I’m not mistaken, this was his most recent Sunday message on the series For Best Results: Follow God’s Design.  Dr. Tanchi is the senior pastor of the church I go to, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (I go to CCF-Cagayan de Oro, the vid was taken in our main church in Manila)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Video of Nick Vujicic’s message in CCF Manila

Hello folks!  As you’ve read in my last post, international inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic is here in the Philippines (Manila, to be exact) to bless us with talks on UNSTOPPABLE FAITH in the CCF Center on May 18, and UNSTOPPABLE DREAM in the Smart Araneta Coliseum on May 20.

What I forgot to mention was that today, May 19, 2013, Nick Vujicic gave the Sunday messages in the CCF Center as well.  What a treat that was to the congregation there.  The previous two events I mentioned are ticketed events that charge for admission.  But the one today?  Hey, that’s just going to church…and the one giving the Sunday message is one of, if not THE most inspirational speaker on the planet. 

And CCF, delivering its usual awesomeness, already has the video up on youtube.  Boy, that was quick!  And so, for those of us who missed it, and those who want to be inspired, here’s the video of Nick Vujicic’s Sunday message in the CCF Center in Manila.  Enjoy!

Check out Nick’s book, Unstoppable, as well as his other books.  He truly is an inspiration to us all.  Thank you so much, Nick Vujicic, and congrats to CCF for a job well done.

(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parentingmarriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

International inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic is live in Manila this Saturday! Got your tickets yet?

One of the most popular and powerful inspirational speakers on the planet, limbless Nick Vujicic is live in Manila starting this Saturday!  Got your tickets yet?

This Saturday, May 18, he will be in Christ’s Commission Fellowship or CCF for short (if that sounds familiar to you as a follower of this blog, it’s because I go to CCF-Cagayan de Oro, and I often blog about the activities there).  On April 20, Nick would be in the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Here’s his promotional video of his upcoming Manila visit.

If you haven’t heard of this guy yet, you must be living under a rock.  For the past few years, he’s been taking Youtube by storm.  His videos have been giving hope to over 100 million viewers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

These amazing events could change your life, your marriage, and your children

Most people (wrongly) think that once you get married, you’d effortlessly live happily ever after.  Ditto with having children: you’d think that when the bundle of joy comes, he or she will always be, well, a bundle of joy.

But reality is quite different, isn’t it?  Those of us who are married with children know that both keeping the marriage alive and raising the kids well take lots of hard work.  So much so that you’d probably wish colleges offer marriage 101 or parenting 101 as subjects.

Well, I have good news for you.  I belong to a community that advocates family development and youth development quite strongly, and I would like to share some of our upcoming special events for you, in order of when they happen during the year.  If you live in Cagayan de Oro City and you want to enhance your married life or the lives of your children, then check out these events!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Awesome examples of changed lives

(Note: This blog post is quite video-heavy.  I suggest that before you read on, you scroll down to the videos and start the streaming by pressing play then pause so that you won’t have to wait.  I strongly suggest you do not miss or skip the videos, as they are very, VERY powerful and this blog entry revolves around them.  Big thanks.)

My favorite movie of last year was probably The Avengers, and one of my favorite scenes from that movie was when Loki, after shouting at the Hulk that he is a god and would not be bullied by a “dull creature,” gets totally and pathetically mauled, his deity made totally helpless by the latter’s overwhelming brute force.

But let me ask you something: is the God that we worship a “puny god”?  Is the brute force of our circumstances too overwhelming for Him to handle?

Short answer:  No.

Long answer:  No, but then many believers often (mistakenly) think so.  Yet, our view of Him, whether He’s big or puny, affects our actions and decisions.

I propose (well, I got this from recent Sunday messages) that our Heavenly Father is not a “puny god” but the God of the HOW MUCH MORE.  

Now, you may be saying, “Look, Mr. Lessons Of A Dad, you don’t know my situation.  It’s just too dire!  There’s absolutely no hope for me!!”

You’re right.  I don’t know the troubles you are going through.  But, I DO know that Jesus knows…and if you're His child, then He has promised you peace, because He has overcome them.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

To illustrate my point, allow me to show you the first video.  Ariel had it really rough.  He was frequently molested as a child, then he became a drug addict, then he became a prostitute, then…something beautiful happened.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lifeshapers assemble! Let’s give the kids another great time in church!!

To my awesome and supremely talented Lifeshaper team, it is our turn to once again host Kids’ Church this coming Sunday!  Let’s put our best foot forward and make sure our kids have so much fun they don’t wanna leave church! 

For those of you who live in the Philippines, I would like to invite you to visit any CCF church (I go to CCF-Cagayan de Oro) and have your children experience what a church should be: learning about God’s love and having a wonderful time doing so! 

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain.

A Lifeshaper is a volunteer in CCF’s Children’s Ministry (AKA Kids’ Church).  We train and work mighty hard to give the absolute best church experience to your child.  We do so through an entertaining variety show format that includes skits (my team tends to put extra hilarity in these), games, action songs, Bible memory drills, and other ways to make learning about God unforgettable.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I just LOVE the new CCF 28th anniversary teasers…I can’t wait for the conclusions

Christ's Commission Fellowship (CCF for short), the network of churches that I go to (CCF-Cagayan de Oro being the one I attend) is going to celebrate it's 28th anniversary later this month.

They often come up with a special Sunday for this event, and also put up very cool video teasers to whet our appetites.  Here are the first two of those teasers, and I especially like the 1st one.

Man, can't you just wait till the conclusion of both videos will be revealed on August 26th?  Arrrgghhh!!  I can't wait to see what would happen next.

I'd like to invite all of you to find out with us.  CCF-Cagayan de Oro (and all CCF churches across the Philippines) will connect with the main CCF in Manila via livestream.  Our senior pastor, Peter Tan-Chi, is one of the best Christian speakers in the country (and probably THE best parenting speaker) and he will give the anniversary message, not to mention telling us the conclusion of these two stories.

We are located right across the street from the Mallberry entrance, and our worship services are on 8am, 10 am, and 12nn.  Peter Tan-Chi will speak in all 3 services.  (If you ask me, it's best to come at either the 8am or the 12nn, because the 10am service is FULL)

Monday, August 6, 2012

If you’re a parent of grade school children and you live in the Philippines, you might wanna read this post.

My body is exhausted, my voice is hoarse, I’m dehydrated, and I’m extremely sleep deprived…but it’s all for something wonderful, and if you’re a parent of grade school children and you live in the Philippines, you might wanna read this post.

I showed the following video to you earlier this year, but I’d like to invite you to take a look at it again because it’s related to the rest of my post.  It’s a video of a wonderful kids event called Main Street that I took part in earlier this year.  Pls see it in its entirety before you read the rest of my post.

Since then, NxtGen, the Children’s Ministry of the church I go to, CCF-Cagayan de Oro, has really taken off (as well as all the CCF churches in the Philippines, which I will explain later).  The reason why I showed you the above video is because I believe that the kids who go to said church now are lucky recipients of that kind of quality—and ridiculously fun—experience  every Sunday.

Can you imagine if your child gets this kind of format every Sunday when he or she goes to church?  I don’t know in your church, but in most of the churches this country, the kids are dragged to the house of worship where they are bored silly and don’t learn much anything.  Even worse, the child would then equate going to church with tedium and boredom.  I’ve seen it way too many times.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Improve communication in marriage with Gary Chapman’s classic book, The Five Love Languages

Husbands and boyfriends of the world, don’t you wish you had the MANSLATER to sort out communication troubles with your leading lady?  (See video below…very funny)

Kidding aside, husbands and wives surely do experience communication problems…and it could drive us crazy!!  Of course, we love our spouses, but the big question is: do we EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE that love? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The 12 Commandments For Parents (who wish to turn their children into juvenile delinquents)

The following Twelve Rules For Parents (who wish to turn their children into juvenile delinquents) have been drawn by the Police Department of Houston, Texas and circulated in leaflet form.  You may find them interesting (note that I made some very small changes), and let’s just say that I hope this is not your parenting style:

1.    Begin at infancy to give the child everything he wants.  In this way, he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.  

2.    When he picks up bad words as a little child, laugh at him.  This will make him think he is cute.

3.    Never give him any spiritual training.  Wait until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself. 

4.    Avoid the use of the word “wrong”.  It may develop a guilt complex.  This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing the car, that society is against him and he is persecuted.

5.    Pick up everything he leaves lying around – books, shoes, clothes.   Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility to others. 

6.    Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on.  Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage. 

7.    Quarrel frequently in the presence of the children.  In this way, they will not be too shocked when their own home is broken up later. 

8.    Give the child all the spending money he wants.  Never let him earn his own.  Why should he have things as though he had to work hard for them?  

9.    Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort.  See that every sensual desire is gratified.  Denial may lead to harmful frustration.   

10.    Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11.    When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”

12.     Prepare for the life of grief.  You will likely have it.

Now I’ll segue to the material where I got this from, the upcoming 3rd lesson of our PARENTING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE study that my young couples group has been taking up every Friday night for the past month. 

The title for this session is HOW TO DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILDREN EFFECTIVELY, which is very apt for times like these where it seems so hard to do so.  It’s a great session with so much great content that we as parents oh so need.

Here’s the session outline, in case you’re interested to find out more:

I.    The Purpose of Discipline

II.    The Basics of Discipline

III.    What do you discipline your child for?

IV.    How to Discipline

V.    How to Spank Your Child
(hint: nearly all Filipino parents do it terribly wrong)

VI.    Training Young Ones

VII.    Training Teenagers

Yes, parenting styles vary, and there should be freedom for such variation.  However, the advice/lessons that Peter Tan-Chi gives are a huge help, no matter what parenting style we have.  So, we will know the ins and outs of how to discipline your child this coming Friday, September 30, 2011.  My group meets 7pm at CCF, and we rotate the responsibilities of serving a light dinner to the others. 

There have been many praises for PARENTING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE since we introduced it.  Guests say that it is far, far superior to anything they have encountered in their own communities, and they are so blessed by Peter Tan chi’s life and powerful example.  (Check out testimonies of his children here and here)

Here’s my blog post of Session 2
Here’s my blog post of Session 3

God bless you all.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Learn Parenting that Makes a Difference

This Friday, September 2, 2011 (just a few short days away) at 7pm, my young couples group is going to have our first session with our new topic, PARENTING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.  This is a 5 session (therefore five Fridays in our case) video study guide featuring one of the most powerful parenting speakers in the country, Peter Tan Chi (who many of you may remember from Parenting Winners a few years back).

Consider this blog entry as an invitation to join us in studying how to parent in a way that makes a difference at a time when it’s getting harder and harder to do so. 

The first session we will tackle in a few days is called The Big Picture.  I was able to get a little bit of the outline, just to whet your appetite a bit.  Here it is:

•    Introduction:  Where we learn parenting
•    What we should know about our children
•    What we should know about parenting
•    What we should know about the characteristics of effective parents
•    The goal of parenting

The next several Fridays will then cover other topics, like How to Discipline Your Children, and how to Positively Impact Them.  This is really a fantastic series that I hope you can join us in.

Here are some videos that could interest you.  The first is a testimony of his eldest daughter, Joy.  The other ones are Peter Tan Chi’s talks on Sundays (CCF also has had a parenting series for several Sundays earlier this year, many of them taught by Peter, himself). 

And then, there’s his son, Paul Tan Chi in my previous post,which you can see by clicking here.

We meet every Friday night at 7pm at CCF.  CCF is in Papa Juanito’s Square, next to Generations bar or right across the street from the Robinson’s Car Park Entrance.  A light dinner is usually served by one of the couples (we rotate this responsibility). 

Since Peter Tan Chi’s talks are quite long, I’d appreciate if you’d come on time so that we can start on time.  There are also great discussion questions after Mr. Tan Chi’s talk that would help you digest the topic better.

So, Friday, 7pm at CCF…if you’d like to make a difference as a parent, please do attend.  Bring a pen with you, too.  See ya!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two great testimonies of changed lives

I’m going to feature two great testimonies from CCF’s website.  I feature them mainly because of two things:

1.  Today is CCF’s 27th anniversary, and I want to feature these as a testament of a church that does what it’s supposed to do: transform lives for the glory of God.

2.  This is a parenting based site, and these two testimonies show the grim ripple effects of parental failure in the home.


A House Right with God

“In our family, our father was considered the ultimate authority. What he says goes and one cannot answer back or reason out. If you want to make an appeal, you go to the 2nd in command, the mother, and hope for the best. It was not a problem when we were young, but when I started to attend high school, I felt choked because of my father’s authority. I noticed that my friends’ families were different; they were more liberal and they were having fun….”  Read on.

Alitha: Realizing Jesus’ Perfect Love

Since I was a young girl, I believed that time is the best way to show love. However in my family, I did not feel that. My parents gave me everything I needed materially, but what I needed from them was their time and attention…”  Read on

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy 27th Anniversary CCF…and you’re invited!

Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) is celebrating its 27th anniversary…the first CCF, that is (located in St. Francis Square near Megamall.  The church that I go to, CCF-Cagayan de Oro, has been around for 13 years). 

To celebrate, it usually holds a big worship service and celebration, held in a venue like Araneta Coliseum.  For the rest of the CCF churches all over the country, we are going to be tuned in to said celebration via satellite.  Cool right?  Man, technology these days.

And you’re all invited to this via-sattilite worship service:  August 14, 10:00 AM at Papa Juanito’s Square near Lim Ket Kai mall (across the street from Robinson’s car park entrance).  It will usually feature a message from Peter Tan Chi, one of the best speakers around. 

As the days draw near, CCF releases some videos that celebrate God’s greatness and God’s goodness to the church(es).  One of them, the one I will show below, features the amazing things God has been doing to the CCF’s growth in Northern Mindanao, CCF-CDO included.  Enjoy the video:

If there’s anything the CCF does very well, it is answering the call to disciple and equip its flock.  CCF is so focused in this area.  Indeed, many of the people who are featured in the video have mentored me, and so many others, tremendously.  As the video hinted, the CCF churches were not started by clergy, but by a mere handful of families who sincerely loved the Lord and had a strong desire to disciple others in their area.  That’s it.

Then God honored their hearts and blessed their efforts, and people came in droves.  CCF-CDO was started by, what, 6 or 7 families 13 years ago?  Now we’re about 700 or 800 or so, if I’m not mistaken…and I’d like to think that we’re all walking in the Lord wonderfully.

So many of my church friends told me that it is in CCF where they really, really, tremendously grew in their love and knowledge of God.  I know many whose lives have been changed because of the influence of what God has been doing through this church. 

I am a testimony of such a change, and such a growth.  It was a CCF missionary pastor who, despite his very busy schedule, took time out to have lunch with me during the darkest days of my life, and gave me the Savior who made, and continues to make my life make sense.

It was in CCF where I was challenged to serve others, starting with the children, then with being an announcer/facilitator, then the young couples, then with the youth

It was in CCF where God brought to me great mentors and friends, priceless people whose friendship and example would guide me to be what God wants me to be.  I’m still a work in progress, of course…but I shudder to think of what kind of man I’d be if the Lord didn’t bring me to CCF.

So, happy 27th anniversary to a wonderful, disciple-making church.  Thanks for being so instrumental in my growth as a Christian; and, due to your men’s conferences, parenting and couples seminars, my growth as a man.   

For those of you who are interested to get a taste of CCF, especially the via satellite service, see you on Sunday.  If you don’t live in CDO, then you can check out the website for a CCF church near you, or you can view the event online.

Here’s pics of past CCF anniversary celebrations:

Monday, June 27, 2011

JZone: a great partner in helping you raise your teenagers

Without doubt, the primary responsibility of the molding of a young person’s character is on the home.  I’m hoping that my past articles have made clear the need for us to be actively involved in the development of our young ones by being the type of person you want them to become, and to work hard in developing meaningful relationships with your children.

However, having great partners to help you on this parenting journey is a huge plus.  One such partner is the school you send your child to.  My boss always says that the school forms an important partnership with the home, and I take my role as a partner to the parents who trust their children to our care quite seriously.  Indeed, at The Abba’s Orchard, the Montessori system that it faithfully follows makes us more than just teachers.  We are often mentors.

If you belong to a churchgoing family like I do, then you have another great partner at your disposal…that is, if your church is a good one; and by that I mean that it has programs and activities that empower families and develop the youth.

The church that I go to here in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines is called Christ’s Commission Fellowship (or CCF for short); and it is one such church. It has strong advocacies for marriage and parenting, and it has great youth programs.  I blogged about some of the teens that go there in my personal blog site that I no longer update (see Teens Who Wait and M&M).

But later this week, something special will happen.  There will be an overhaul in the youth: new name, new vision, and likely a new level of awesome.  The new names?  JZone for the college students (formerly TOUCH-College), JZone High (formerly T.E.E.N.S.) for the high schoolers.

I will not explain what JZone means here.  That’s for your teen, should he or she attend, to find out.  And trust me, as a former youth leader some years ago, ministries like this are fantastic partners that you can have in helping you raise happy and healthy teenagers. When I led the youth, many of them came up to me after the messages and said stuff like “Man, I wish so-and-so was here to learn that,” or “this is really changing me.”  They also get to know teens with the right mindset, but who also struggle with the things all teens struggle with. 

The launching of JZone will be this Friday, July 1, 6 PM, in an event called JZONE CONNECTION.  It’s open to all high school and college age youngsters.  Best of all, it’s totally free!

The great people who run it tell me that it would be the start of great, great things to come.  They are super excited, and as a parent of a soon to be teen, I am excited too.  Looks like the youth of CCF will be as dynamic and as vibrant as ever.

If you live in Cagayan de Oro, and you are a teen or you are a parent of a teen, then consider this an invitation to this Friday’s JZONE CONNECTION.  I will certainly be there (see address in the video below; it’s right across from the Robinson’s Mall indoor car park), so I hope I’ll see you and your teen, too.

Just like the sentiments of the JZone leaders, this could be the start of great things to come.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


No, I’m not talking about the popular candy.  You’ll see what I mean later.

Listening to the podcast of a great role model, Paul Tan Chi, in my last post reminded me of a conversation I had with my eldest daughter, Lynn, a few days after she came back from our church’s SOLD OUT youth camp. 

We were driving, just the two of us, and I wanted to strike up a conversation with her about her first experience with the youth (remember, she’s only 11, too young to be in the youth but I let her join their camp anyway).  The topic eventually happened upon who she likes and admires in the group, which led her to mention several names, such as one student of mine who she became quite close to, and a daughter of the woman in the Garage Sale for A Cause blog I did a while back, among many others.

However, when I asked her who was the one person she wanted to emulate, without batting an eyelash she mentioned a certain girl’s name.  Smiling, I asked her why she considered this girl her hero, and Lynn started her reply with the overly clichéd, yet still meaningful, Gen-Y expression:

“She’s awesome.”

I smiled because that “awesome” girl, let’s just call her Angelica, was also my student.  Another reason why I smiled is because it brought me back to a time when Angelica was a few years younger.

I was serving in the youth ministry that time and Angelica, if I’m not mistaken, had just entered high school, maybe a year or two older than Lynn is now.  While we were hanging out after one of our youth ministry gatherings, in comes a friend of hers, a former member of the group and an alumnus of the same school, back in town for a week long break from one of the country’s top universities.  Let’s just call this girl Katrina.

As Katrina was saying her hellos to the girls in the group, Angelica told me, “You know, sir, I want to be just like Katrina.  She’s so awesome!”  (There’s that cliché again)

Well, Angelica has recently also gone on to graduate, and indeed she ended up much like her hero.  Both got into the best universities of the Philippines.  Both led the school in championship winning endeavors.  Both have earned the respect and admiration of peers and faculty alike (Katrina is still being used as an example by our boss, years after she’s been gone).  Most importantly, they both loved and served God passionately.

Katrina was a greatly positive influence to Angelica, whose character and excellence then became an inspiration for Lynn.  Surely, they are far from perfect, but I hope one day Lynn will be able to follow in their footsteps and be an “awesome” role model to younger girls.

It goes to show how great an impact M&M could be.  What’s M&M you ask?  Modeling and Mentoring.  I have my own “awesome” M&Ms in my life, and I think we all need that.  More importantly, for our own children and for the glory of God, we need to BE that.

So what are the characteristics of a great model and mentor?  I have some answers for you, coming from our 2nd module of our Parenting That Makes a Difference study.

First off, modeling is lifestyle teaching.  The adage “Do what I say, not what I do,” doesn’t work because the truer phrase is “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you’re saying.”

No bones about it, kids and teens can sniff out hypocrisy like a bloodhound, so you yourself have to be what you want them to be.  If you don’t walk your talk, then don’t talk!!
Philippians 3:17 – “Brethren, join me in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”

For the mentoring part, here’s the Law of Relationship: the closer the relationship, the greater the influence.

I remember Angelica writing a note to her teammates on Facebook after the girls’ varsity soccer championship win, which ended up being her very last match. Here’s a small part of what she said:

“I am so proud to be a part of this team and I will truly miss you. Keep playing for God and always remember that it’s for His glory and His alone. I love you guys. :’) “

Not only was my heart warmed by her urging them to play “for His glory and His alone” (not the glory of the school or their own person), but also by the flood of heartfelt comments on the note, thanking her for her leadership and example, that things wouldn’t be the same without her, that they’d be lost if she weren’t there.

She was obviously a large part of their lives…just like a mentor should be.

Parents, here’s a warning: biological relationship does not automatically mean a good relationship.  Sadly, many kids are closer to their friends then they are to their parents, and a lot of it is because of lack of time and lack of relationship nurtured by the latter.  No wonder there’s so much rebellion.

Remember parents, “our values become their values if they like and respect us.  If they don’t like us, they will oppose our values.”

Both Katrina and Angelica were very close to their dads, both Godly men who served Him in great ways…and their daughters followed suit.   Furthermore, Angelica becoming so much like Katrina is due in part to their friendship, having been friends since they were young kids and lately sharing a tent in the aforementioned youth camp.

How about you?  Are you a role model to your kids?  They will follow you whether you’re a good example or a bad one; and that’s true whether you like it or not.  Furthermore, do younger kids consider your children as role models?  These are big, heavy questions, and I hope you’re honest with your self assessment here.

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”

Personally, I have decided to give my professional life and much of my personal life to the effort of mass-producing these “awesome” role models, be they teens or peers.  Some, like Angelica and Katrina, don’t really need a whole lot of work, but there are lots of broken young people out there who do need someone to turn to…a hero.  May I be used by God to be one such person.

Man, I think I should be a Life Coach, hahaha!

I’ll close with one of my favorite songs…it’s as if it was tailor made for how I feel about this.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fun can obviously change behavior for the better

I don’t know if you’ve come across a video going around in the internet lately about how fun can change the behavior of people for the better.  It’s a fantastic video that we all should watch, especially leaders of young people.  Here it is, and watch it in its entirety before reading on:

We can all apply this very simple, yet important principle in our everyday lives.

Apply it in parenting, for example.  I remember this kid, or this toddler (I don’t remember anymore) who absolutely refuses to drink his milk, to the exasperation of his parents.  Then one day, the dad decided to make this into a game.  The next day there were two glasses of milk instead of one, and the child was challenged to a milk-drinking race.  After narrowly losing to his father, the kid gave a very determined stare and exclaimed, “let’s go 2 out of 3!”

This can be applied to eating vegetables, doing chores, you name it.  My kids are all vegetable eaters because I made eating vegetables fun when they were in diapers (two words: colored rice…plus theatrics from yours truly).  This morning, my kids washed the cars…although they were more thorough “washing” each other than the cars, themselves.

As much as possible, I try to apply this to my work as a high school teacher.  I have lots of gags in my lectures, and I try to put as much humor as I can in my exams (in some a. to d. multiple choice questions, one of the choices is something really silly, which the kids appreciate, and some even add their own jokes; “e. Chuck Norris” being especially common).  Hey, one of the biggest reasons why Francis Kong is one of Asia’s most respected and sought after speakers is because he makes his talks so much fun.

But I think the area in our lives where applying this principle is needed most in these trying times is on spiritual matters.

A fellow church goer was once asked, “how come your church is so full of such vibrant, devout, and Godly young people; while the youngsters in our faith’s churches wallow in sin, apathy, even contempt?”

Immediately, the reply came, and it was simply that the church, through the youth ministry, speaks their language and gets into their world.  If you ask me, a large part of their language and world is, in the words of the great Rebecca Black, “FUN, FUN, FUN, FUN, FUNFUNFUNFUNFUN…FUN!”

Give them that, and, like the video so clearly shows, they’re completely yours.  Of course, you also have to make it relevant, God-honoring, and life-transforming.  But, like the pictures on the menu, fun is what’s seen first.

I cringe when I heard the question above and so many others like it (and the ones given by young people are quite venom-filled, such as “I get absolutely nothing from going to my church,” and “If I had a choice between going to church or a dentist’s drill, I’d chose the dentist in a heartbeat”).

The video above shows the easy solution.  Get into their world; speak their language; make it FUN!

A very good example of this is our recent youth camp our church’s teen youth ministry has held in Dahilayan, called SOLD OUT.  Lynn begged and begged me to let her join, but I found her too young (she’s 11, not a teen yet) and didn’t allow.  But I know she prayed really hard for it and God set it up that I had to be in the venue as well, for work reasons.  So she joined…and had the best time of her life.

For four days, 150 teens (and pre-teens like Lynn) were exposed to:

great games like Amazing G-Race (haha, catchy), 4-way tug of war, some weird type of hockey, and much more;

Go Lynn, Go!!

Lynn and Charissa...ready to take 'em down!

Uh...broom hockey?

tug of war x 4

God-honoring talks by stellar speakers (“A Father’s Love,” “What’s so bad about sin?” among others);

Dr. Allan Melicor

One of the materials

Chris Barrameda

and amazing camaraderie with like-minded youngsters, all set on being “completely, totally, unashamedly SOLD OUT to JESUS!”

Victory for the blue team, oh yeah!!

The participants

Are these teenagers perfect?  No, of course not.  Teens, especially teens today, have great struggles, and these guys are no exception.  In fact, many of them are downright broken.  However, if the church and church activities are made for perfect people, than you and I, and these teens for that matter, cannot enter nor participate.  But there has to be environments set up to enhance their lives; environments that effectively and inspiringly bring them to the One who loves them, despite their faults and all that they’ve done.  I hope CCF is that church, and that the environment that the guys in the TEENS ministry work so hard to set up is that kind of environment.

Lynn just came back from a fun-filled SOLD OUT Reunion at The Abba’s Orchard.  The summer is not yet over, and for teens, for kids, for college students, you name it…there’s more where that came from.  I will use this website to invite you to whatever these are, if you don’t mind.

All for His glory and for the service of these precious young souls.

Share this to friends!