Showing posts with label ministry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ministry. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This weekend, start on the road to Financial Freedom and gain a Heart of A Champion

This Saturday will be a huge day in enhancing people’s lives in Cagayan de Oro.  I will talk about two events, the first one is for us grown-ups, and the second is for teenagers.

Okay, first of all: How is your relationship with your wallet?  When you think about your finances, do you smile, or do you cry? 

If you’re often having an out-of-money experience, and you feel the need to manage your cash better, then you’re in luck: a FREE seminar (yup, that’s not a typo, it’s free) on managing money.  It would be given by a fantastic speaker in Rito “Bong” Saguing, Jr. who was very into fishing for lots and lots of cash in the business world before God called him to fish for something else.

If you believe that the Bible says money is the root of all evil, you’re mistaken.  If it was, then why did God bless so many great men of His with great wealth?  Here are just a few examples:
  • He blessed Isaac with great wealth even in famine:  "Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him."  (Gen. 26:12)
  • He blessed Joseph to be, in the greatest power of the ancient world, 2nd only to Pharaoh: "Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou." (Gen. 41:40)
  • Solomon was easily in Bill Gates' territory when it comes to wealth:  "God said to Solomon, Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee, and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there be any after thee have the like." (2 Chron. 1:12)  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Women of Worth – a safe haven for single mothers in CDO

It’s an interesting coincidence (or is there divine power at work?).  In the short amount of time since I made my “Traits of real men” article, I had very long Facebook chat conversations with three single mom friends of mine.

In each of these convos, I truly felt their pain through their keyboards.  My heart ached for them as they retold accounts of physical and emotional abuse; of the lies and the infidelity; of their struggles in doing twice the work with only half the resources; and, among lots of other things, their great loneliness and their fears of becoming a less desirable catch because of the baggage that they carry (emotional and, with kids in tow, physical).

If you’re expecting from this article a list or some tips on how to cope as a single mother, I’m sorry, but nope, because I will not serve you well if I try.  However, if you’re a single mother from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, I’m going to do one better.

While you have the daunting task of raising your child(ren) on your own, you don’t have to face the trials of single motherhood on your own.  My church, CCF-Cagayan de Oro, has a great support group for single mothers.  It’s called Women of Worth (or WOW for short).

WOW offers a safe and compassionate environment for single moms to have fun, unwind, relate, and most importantly, grow to become the Woman of Worth that God has made you to be.  They meet every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month…and that means they’ll meet tomorrow.

My apologies for posting this blog just today, less than 24 hours from the time they’ll meet for this month.  I got the idea to make this post from last night’s conversation with the third friend from the above-mentioned single mother trio, a long conversation where I eventually suggested she join WOW (the other two are not based in CDO, so the thought never crossed my mind).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My reflections on the Colorado movie premiere shooting incident: a slippery slope, yet there is hope

I was, and still am, excited to finally watch Batman: The Dark Knight Rises this weekend.  To celebrate the occasion, I was gonna post my all-time favorite Batman movie spoof in the hopes of getting a good laugh out of the two or three Batman fans out there who have not seen it yet.

But then I heard the shocking news when a gunman armed to the teeth opened fire in a Colorado movie theater during the midnight premiere of said movie, killing 14 people and injuring dozens others.  There goes the Batman spoof post…no way can I post that after what had just happened.

As I read the news, I was overwhelmed with such anger and grief.  It blows my mind how someone could be capable of doing such a barbarically evil deed.

As a shell-shocked dad blogger trying to process what just happened, my reflections on the Colorado movie premier shooting incident drifted to two main ideas, which are basically: “a slippery slope, yet there is hope.”

For the slippery slope part, allow me to show you snapshots from a video teaching module that I have, made quite a long time ago, which cited a USA Today article comparing the biggest problems in US public schools in the 1940’s with the same in the 1980’s.

So, here’s the problems schools had to deal with in the 1940’s:

Now, here’s what schools had to deal with in the 1980’s, just 40 years later:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Suffering from burnout? Time management problems? Fill your tank!!

I don’t think I have any vices as you’d describe vices to be.  I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, my diet is quite good, and I have a daily exercise routine.  However, if I do have a vice, it’s this: I have this tendency to over commit.  Well, I dunno if it’s my fault, but, man, I just realize I truly have a lot on my plate.

And so this blog entry is for those of us who juggle through so many responsibilities and wear too many hats to the point that we fry ourselves.  How do we avoid burnout?  What time management skills can we use so that we can still excel even if the demands on our time are so high?

Maybe you can relate to one of my favorite speakers and authors, Dr. Wayne Cordeiro, author of the bestseller Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion.  He suffered from incredible burnout.  It was so bad that he was warned that if he doesn’t change his Mach 4 schedule, he’d never be productive again.  See his video here, an excerpt from his excellent Dead Leader Running talk:

Yeah, I can relate.  A co-worker and close friend calls me “the juggler” because of all the hats that I have to wear, from senior teacher, to husband, to parent, to active church member, to blogger.  Mach 4 schedule?  Yep. 

If you can relate as well, then I suggest you take a hard look at the tips Dr. Cordeiro presents in Leading On Empty.  The book is gold..  It would give you tips on how to bring joy back in your work, improve time management, and avoid burnout. 

There’s a smorgasbord of helpful lessons in Leading on Empty.  Here’s one that Dr. Wayne Cordeiro give in the same talk: Do What Fills Your Tank.  Check the excellent vid below:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jon Acuff is awesome…and even more so when he’s with Wally

Easily one of my favorite Christian bloggers is Jon Acuff, owner of the website Stuff Christians Like, author of the book with the same name…both of which hilariously talk about (and mildly satirize) Christian culture.

Jon’s work is a great mix of hilarity and deep theological thought (about a 60%-40% mix, or even more towards humor in many cases). 

I will get to some of his articles later on in this post, as well as making a list of his books.

What I’d like to show you right now is a video sample of how cool this guy is.  Yes, Jon Acuff is awesome…and even more so when he’s with Wally, my favorite Christian radio personality and another dude who has a similar mix of funny/depth as Jon.  As you can see, they feed off each other here, and what you get is a great, banter-filled video post.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spoken Word — Sex, Marriage, and Fairy Tales

I’m lovin’ the videos this guy makes and this one: Spoken Word – Sex, Marriage, and Fairy Tales, is especially awesome.

All I can say is…AMEN!!

If you live in Cagayan de Oro and you really want to know, through a great couples retreat, what marriage is supposed to be, click here.

If you liked, Spoken Word — Sex, Marriage, and Fairy Tales, then I’d like you to check out his other videos as well.  His older video, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus is a very popular one.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Year in Review (reflections on Sendong, overseas trips, and more)

As 2011’s end is still not too far back into distant memory, I would like to think back on some of the good and bad that happened over the course of last year.  It was quite an eventful year for me, as you will see.  Despite everything, I cannot help but think back with thanksgiving in my heart and enter 2012 with praise for what He has done in my life.

Remember what i said in my first blog post of the year: ""Christmas is still merry, and the New Year is still happy, not because of circumstances, but because of our joy in the Lord.""

2011 in review…including reflections

1.     The storm that was Sendong.  I can't help but start this reflection off with typhoon Sendong.  For the first time in the memory of just about everyone living in this great city, a typhoon hit Cagayan de Oro and Illigan with such deadly force that over a thousand Cagayanons perished while scores more are missing.  Homes have been destroyed, its residents losing everything they valued and worked hard for.  Never before has CDO experienced so much death and damage.  (If you have not donated yet, click here so that you can do so…people still are in dire need)

Next Monday, the school I work for will open its doors to receive students again.  Some, like my family, got through the storm relatively unscathed.  Others were not so lucky, yet, thankfully, there was no loss of life.  We are encouraged by my boss that during morning devotions, we try to help them deal with this tragedy through spiritual eyes. 

I’m still thinking about how I’m going to do that.  But I’m going to go along these lines (and therefore, my reflection about Sendong):

•    The climate has been rapidly changing, much of it is due to our excesses and irresponsibility:  you can’t blame God for that.

•    A huge factor in the floods was rampant illegal logging and unchecked open mining: you can’t blame God for that either.

•    This goes to show why sin is such a big deal in God’s eyes: not only because it violates His commands; but, equally as important, it hurts and even destroys others, even those who had no part in the sin in the first place.  And using up our natural resources irresponsibly, especially in the name of greed IS sin…and boy did people get hurt.

•    Sendong very dramatically showed us what really mattered.  All the toys, gadgets, trinkets, and the shallow security of the present were lost in one dark night. All thoughts and actions were towards family and friends.  Let’s not wait till the next time we have to desperately fight for our lives (or to save theirs) to realize this very important truth.

•    God is still faithful and sovereign, even if things look exactly the opposite.  Many times in the history of His people things were totally messed up, only to come back to blessing later on.  If we trust in His faithfulness and sovereignty (repentance being a part of that), the same thing will happen to CDO and Illigan. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Only 18 & 12 slots remain for THE STORY OF US couples retreat, one of the best events to enhance your marriage and family life

If there’s anything that CCF-Cagayan de Oro, the community I belong to, does excellently, it’s their strong advocacy in enhancing marriage and family life (which includes development of the youth and single professionals as well). 

I blog often about our parenting seminars and study series, but we also have almost yearly marriage seminars as well.  Occasionally, like every few years or so, we throw in a couples retreat that enables married couples to get away for a weekend to enhance their union.

This year is one of those years, and so here’s THE STORY OF US, a weekend getaway in the beautiful Dahilayan, Bukidnon. 

I first blogged about this great marriage retreat in this article, and I’ll say the same thing here:  whether your marriage is rock solid or is on shaky ground, attending events like THE STORY OF US is very highly recommended.  You’ll learn principles on communication, commitment, and so much more. 

CCF’s marriage and parenting events (CDO or otherwise) are known for having excellent speakers and content, and therefore garner large draws.  THE STORY OF US will not be any different.  Knowing this, we’re having the event twice, November 5 & 6 and December 3 & 4, with room for only 41 couples per event.

As of the last time I inquired, there’s only room for 18 more couples in the November couples retreat, and only 12 couples in the December couples retreat…and these slots may go fast. 

If you would like to join one of the best events to enhance marriage and family life, do yourself and your spouse a favor, and attend THE STORY OF US.  It’s a weekend marriage retreat you won’t forget. 

For details, you can click on the picture on this blog.  You can also contact:

Christ’s Commission Fellowship – Cagayan de Oro
Papa Juanito’s Square, Limketkai Drive
857-3000 (PLDT/Philcom)
09175976574 (globe)
09228223236 (sun)
09209386766 (smart) 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Be careful with your parenting style, because Children See, Children Do

Here’s a parenting truth that is so obvious, yet many parents are guilty of not realizing it: Children See, Children Do.  In other words, what the little kids see mom and dad do, they will copy.  If they copy long enough, that is what they eventually become. 

Be careful with your parenting style, folks, because all parents influence their children.  The issue is, are we influencing them positively or negatively?  Below is a video that very powerfully shows how strong our influence as parents can be.

“I’m gonna be just like my daddy!”
It’s unfortunate that some parents have the “do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do” parenting style.  They say “don’t smoke” or “respect women” or “cussing is bad” and other rhetoric; but here they are saying certain words when they are mad, smoke cigarettes themselves, and have some questionable magazines at home.  Hmmm.

But, hey, I am sometimes guilty of this, too.  I’m kind of a messy person, yet I tell my kids to keep their rooms clean as much as possible.  So do they follow what I say or what I do?  Well, let’s just say that when you come over my house, stay downstairs.

This Friday, September 8, 2011, at CCF, my young couples group will tackle the 2nd session of PARENTING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE, titled: HOW TO POSITIVELY INFLUENCE YOUR CHILDREN. 

Our first session was fantastic, and our group discussions that evening were some of the most engaging and animated in our long history of engaging and animated discussions.  I’m sure this coming session will be even more so.

The foreword for the workbook goes like this: “This session will give you practical guidelines on how to draw close to your children in order for you to positively influence them.  Maintaining good relationships is the key to influence and so will be the main focus here.”  Sounds good to me.

So how do we positively influence our kids?  Do you want to find out?

Here’s the short answer: the main points of the session we’ll take up this Friday.  Of course, there are LOTS of points within these main points, but since most of you can’t attend, this anemic list will have to do:

1.  Good MODELING.  You have to be the person that you want them to become.  I’m not talking about perfection, because that’s impossible.  I’m talking about authenticity.

Philippians 3:17 – “Brethren, join me in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”

2.  Good RELATIONSHIP.  The closer the relationship, the greater the influence.

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

3.  TIME.  The more time you spend with the person, the greater is your influence on him/her.

Deuteronomy 6:7 – “And you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”  

4.  LISTENING.  the more you LISTEN to your children the more you UNDERSTAND them and the more you understand them the more you can INFLUENCE them.

James 1:19-20 – “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”

5.  POSITIVE words.  Boy oh boy do Pinoy parents have a problem with this one.  But the truth is, words impact lives.

Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need at the moment that it may give grace to those who hear.”  

6.  UNCONDITIONAL love.  Harsh rules do not positively change a person.  Unconditional love does.

Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 

7.  Expect the BEST. 
What we expect our kids to be, they will live up to it.  If we think they’re stupid, they become stupid.  But if we expect the best from them, they will soar and even demolish our expectations.

Philippians 1:6 – “ For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Now, do you want the long answer?  Well, there’s way too much content in this study to give it to you on this blog.  Not only does the speaker, Peter Tan Chi, tell you WHAT you have to do (the outline above), but he gives you techniques on HOW to make it happen…and I can’t put it here.  The only way you can get my long answer, the answer you deserve, is to…JOIN US!

My wife and I lead a group of about 7 young couples (late 20’s to early 30’s) and we would love to have you aboard.  We learn from each other (in addition to the fantastic material we use), strengthen each other, encourage each other, and become accountable to each other. 

Make this effort to Positively Influence Our Children by joining us.  The consequences of our failure here is too great.  Leave a comment or an email to let me know you’re interested.

Update:  Check out my blog on our 3rd session, which talks about how to discipline your children without shouting.  That blog post also teaches you the right way to spank your child. 

Recommended Reading:

You can also check out other books I recommend for dads and you can also check out the rest of my parenting articles here.

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!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Garage Sale and Night Cafe for a Cause

Everyone loves garage sales.  There’s just no better place to get a great bargain.  You also get to mingle with some very nice people who are more than willing to tell you the history of any item on sale and how it benefited them (as opposed to some apathetic saleslady who has never used the product and cares for it lot less than you do).  It’s as much a social experience as it is a shopping one.

But, do you know what’s even better than a garage sale?  It’s a garage sale for a great cause…and there’s no greater cause then helping someone in dire need.  Here’s a backgrounder for you.

Tate Idocus is a public school teacher and a single mother of three teenage girls.  My family knows her because she goes to the same church we do, where she is quite active in the children’s ministry, the single moms’ ministry, and the ushering ministry.  Her teen girls are also very active in the youth and they serve the Lord as passionately as their mother does, especially when it comes to music.

Last month, we got news that Tate’s kidneys have failed, and she needs to have a kidney transplant and, while waiting, requires a dialysis twice a week.  The amount needed is pretty insurmountable, into the 7 digits.  Where can a single mother of three get that kind of money?

Well, the guys at church got wind of her plight and jumped at the chance to help her out.  For the past month, CCF (short for Christ’s Commission Fellowship, the name of the church) has been challenging the congregation through Rick Warren’s 40-Days of Love small group study series and the Sunday messages that were based on it (see my previous blog).

Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) and the CCF speakers really hammered it into us that love is a verb, and therefore we should go out of our way to show love to others.

Then enter Tate’s situation, right in the middle of the 40 Days of Love campaign.  It’s as if God was giving us a “Love Project” to have us apply what we learned.

The outpouring of love has been AMAZING.

On the Sunday where her situation was told to the congregation, someone offered to donate his kidney for her (it’s not that simple though, there has to be a match).  There’s been an outpouring of money.  The next Sunday, a farmer in the congregation displayed his organic produce in the church lobby, all proceeds going to Tate.  There was also a vending machine, selling bottled iced tea and other drinks, all proceeds going to Tate as well.

And now we have this Garage Sale and Night Cafe for a Cause, and I surely hope you can support us, and support Tate, by dropping by.  It would be on Saturday, April 9, 2011, 10:30 AM to 9 PM.  The venue is CCF, which is right across the street from Robinson’s car park entrance.

Who knows, you might find some rare, hard to find item that will do wonders for you.  As of last count, nearly 80% of our church is doing small groups, and therefore doing the 40 Days of Love Campaign.  You can be pretty sure that representatives from most, if not all, of said groups will be present…and therefore you will have LOTS and LOTS to choose from.

My young couples small group already has a spot there, and we will sell all kinds of stuff.  We have made it clear to CCF leadership that the proceeds from our sales will specifically go to supporting the needs of her three teens while she is getting her transplant in Manila.  What can I say, the youth has a special place in our hearts.

Going even further, a couple in the group, who owns i-Digital Office (formerly Inke) on Velez St.  has pledged that proceeds from ink refill and PC repairs done there will also go to Tate.  So if you have any needs in this area, please have it done there as well.

So please support all of this outpouring of love for our dear sister in Christ.  Even my children, on their own initiative, have rummaged through their old toy boxes and closets for items they like to give (turning my bedroom, where the old toy boxes were located into ground zero of a tornado storm).  In fact, as I was finishing this piece, I got two text messages from the church, a text brigade asking everyone to come and support this cause.  And so here I am, doing that through this blog.

Happy shopping, and may God bless you for your contribution to this cause.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going through the motions

This month, my young couples group is scheduled to lead the Children’s Ministry’s Sunday School.  In CCF, the church that I go to, every small group is assigned a month to minister to the kids, and, this year, April is our month.

Usually, I would jump at this opportunity, because Children’s Ministry is quite close to my heart, and in the heart of my group mates (many of us are teachers by profession).  Unfortunately, I have allowed my recent busyness to push my Christian walk to the realm of lukewarmness.

It showed when it came to this ministry.  I was pretty apathetic when the church’s office staff reminded me about our stint as teachers for the month of April.  I got all the materials on Tuesday, but I didn’t even look at them until the day before we took over.  March was a really manic month, and I was just plain exhausted and didn’t want to think about ministry, and my quiet time and prayer life also went down in the dumps.

It took God to use one of my Abba’s Orchard students to remind me that the more loaded I am, all the more I need to be intimate with the Lord. Thank you, you beautiful adolescent, you know who you are.

Another thing God did to jolt me back into the swing of things was through music.  For some strange, and surely God-given reason, almost every time I would tune in to 103.3 FM (the Christian station here in CDO), Matthew West’s hit song, The Motions, would play.  It’s a powerful song that challenges us to passionately give our best and our all for God, not just go through the motions of a “Christian life.”  That’s exactly what I was struggling with, going through the motions.  Ho-hum.

God also, for another very strange reason, kept reminding me of a recruiting clip of a children’s program that CCF did a few years back, called Trading Places.  How weird is that?  He just kept reminding me of the video clip over and over again, even if that program was done three years ago, far into distant memory.    Below is said Trading Places recruiting clip.  It’s quite nice, designed to get churchgoers to volunteer for the said Trading Places program.

The end of the chorus kept ringing in my ears, “Make a difference in me…use me so a child will know.”

Then I was like, “Okay, Lord, okay…I get you.  I’ve strayed a bit, and now lots of little ones will depend on me and my team for one whole month.  I need to shape up, NOW!”  Thank God, He is merciful, because all that’s needed to shape up and become a fruitful believer again is to abide.  And so I have.

Good thing too.  Remember, a team is only as good as its leader, and if I fail to be used by God and instead gave an impression that we can get by on our own skill, we’re sunk.  I think this is the reason why God was so in my face right before we started our stint…because he wanted me, and therefore us, to rely on Him for the great challenges ahead.

I handled ages 9-12 this morning, and I had a whopping 32+ students!  All stuffed in a little room.  Holy cow!  I thought I had it rough, but the 6-8 class also had over 30 students, and so did the youngest class, ages 3-5.  Yikes, over 30 students per class!!  This is the third year my group has been teaching the kids, but there were nowhere near these numbers.  I’m glad God is growing CCF, but whew!

We got through the first Sunday.  One down, three more to go.  But what will be most memorable out of this experience, for me, would be how He went after me right before this started.  I was good and ready to go through this lackadaisically, relying on my experience and skill as a teacher, instead of relying on His power.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zech. 4:6)

Lesson learned.  And as the Matthew West song goes:
I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Two couples who inspire

I’m not really into chick flicks or anything too “valentine-y.”  My wife loves those kinds of movies, and I am often forced to watch mushy stuff with her, and sometimes, oftentimes, actually, I feel bad when I find myself not enjoying it that much and wish I was somewhere else.

But I’m sure all of us become very joyful when we learn of a single friend becoming not-so-single.  I don’t care who you are, that puts a smile on our faces.

A man I’ve recently befriended through a mutual friend (co-worker actually) is now one of those not-so-singles, and so many of us still aren’t over the euphoria of the news.  What makes me especially happy is that both Job and Margarita (fondly nicknamed, Its) are really, really good people who passionately make a point to glorify God in their love story.

Job, who loves to blog, shares this newfound passion in his blog site, which I paraphrase below (with his permission).
I am in love.

As soon as I changed my [facebook] relationship status last night, most people started asking: “is this for real or another ‘I love Jesus’ kind of gimmick?”

For one, I love Jesus and that’s not a gimmick. Secondly, I love HER…Indeed, God has now given me someone to love the Song of Songs way. What a way to spend Valentine’s Day 2011– blogging at the hotel lobby beside the woman I so love.

Right! Jesus Christ’s love is the PERFECT LOVE. But I’m amazed how his perfect love ignites me and her to love each other more and more everyday.

There’s a lot more in that entry, but you can already see what a wonderful example this couple will be to those who know them.  Their example and testimony excites me more than anything else about these two.

Job, who is a life coach, has been helping us (the Abba’s Orchard faculty) out by visiting our school from time to time to mentor our students.  His impact on their young minds and hearts has been invaluable.   In fact, Job again blogs about one of my students in his latest blog entry, “Have you tasted the triple delight?”  Again, he heaps loving words to Its, and even features an excerpt of her blog, but what is especially striking is how his teaching and example (in his treatment of Its, no doubt) has impacted my student.  Click here for that entry.

If it looks like I’m putting Job and Its on a pedestal, please don’t think that.  Again, what makes these two and their relationship so special is that they put their focus most on the One who brought them together, the One who invented love (including romantic love) and, most importantly, the One who they depend on in their treatment of each other.

As said in the Bible verse that Its quoted so aptly in her own blog: “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)

And therefore, this is the perfect segue to…SOUL MEETS

I’m sure all of us dream for that kind of pure, yet passionate, love to be ours as well.  Well, the singles of the church community I belong to can get you on your way there (if you’re single, that is).

This is our way of equipping you in the ways of love and romance, which can often be rocky and turbulent.

The speakers for this event are two wonderful people who Jhean and I are proud to call our mentors, Dr. Allan Melicor and his wife, Blessie.

Not only are they among the best speakers, but their love story is one of the best, if not THE best, that I know of.  It’s a wonderful story of trust, passion, purpose, and patience…it’s the ultimate TRUE LOVE WAITS story, in my opinion.  And nobody tells it like they do, so don’t even think that you can get it second hand and expect it to be even half as good.

You just have to be there.

So be there!  It’s on February 26, 2011 at CCF, and registration starts at 5:30pm, program starts at 6pm.  Bring all your single friends, especially those who are unlucky at love.  Who knows, with the inspiration and the principles you learn from SOUL MEETS, your story could be as wonderful as Job’s and Its’, or Allan’s and Blessie’s?

Wouldn’t what they have be worth attending?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Learn to love better this Friday

Before I start this blog proper, I’d like to announce that, in case you’re interested, I have finally filled out my “about me” page in my personal website.  I know, I know…it’s about time.  I once thought only people who know me personally visit this site.  I’m starting to realize that that’s not the case, especially lately.  So, if you’d like to find out who Carlo Alado is, then click the “about” icon above.

With that out of the way, I’d like to let you all know that I’m quite excited for this Friday, February 25, 2011.  You see, my wife and I are blessed to lead and shepherd a wonderful group of young couples (one of several in the community I belong to).  We usually go through a lot of lessons together, programs that are designed to help us become better individuals, better couples, and better parents.

This Friday, we will start our newest, and probably our most exciting program yet…and we would like you to join us.

The 40 Days of Love curriculum

As I have hinted in a previous blog, the community I belong to is starting a new program for small groups called 40 Days of Love.  It is a video and study guide curriculum taught by Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

For the next six Fridays, we will let Mr. Warren teach us why it’s so important to treat people with love.

Is it really important?  Yes!  In fact, the Bible says, very clearly, to “let love be your highest goal…” (1 Corinthians 14:1).  Above being rich; above being successful; above status or professional position; above being proven right…above all the things we strive for in this world, we should strive hardest to love.

This extends far beyond your special someone, your family, and the people you like, because loving these guys is easy.  Being loving extends to the people beyond your intimate circle, even the people who give you pain, and to those you’d rather not associate with.

Now that’s another ball game, altogether…and these kinds of people in our lives seem to be growing larger in number by the day.  Even with the people who are easy to love, we seem to have lost the ability to show them how much we love them.

And that’s why you need this video study series.

These stressful, lawsuit-riddled, divorce-plagued, non-altruistic times almost demand a video series like this.  We’re all blessed to have 40 Days of Love in our fingertips.

Or, shall I say, in YOUR fingertips as well.

If you are a younger couple married 10 years or less, or are aged less than 40 years old, feel free to join our group, or any of the other young couples groups shown in the video above.  This blog officially serves as your invitation.

If you’re interested, but do not fit the group’s demographics (you’re still single, or you’re a bit older, etc.), you can still join us for this study.  The principles in 40 Days of Love are very broad and serve as a good introduction to the kind of fellowship and mentoring that we have.  After these next six weeks, I’d be more than happy to hook you up with a group that’s a good match for you.

I can also hook you up into said group right away and you do the study with them.  The college students have already started and are now on their 2nd session.  My mom’s group will start a day after we do.  There are nearly a hundred small groups in our community that will start 40 Days of Love at the same time.  Just let me know a bit about you and your available schedule, and I can find a group for you in no time.

More attractions for you: dinner is usually served, and very delicious.  The workbook materials are also free and are yours to keep.  Most importantly, you will also fellowship with other couples who go through the exact same struggles as you do (prince charming turned out to be prince frightening, raising rambunctious little tykes, making ends meet as we start our young careers, etc.).  You will learn from our victories, our defeats, and our battles.  And of course, we usually have lots and lots of fun.

We meet at 7:00 PM every Friday.  I will only divulge our venue for our meetings to those who reply that they are interested.  If that’s you, please either email me at or comment on this post (leaving your email ad so I can reply).

I hope you can reap the benefits of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Love with us.  I’ll be waiting for your comments.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

PARENTING WINNERS…a true winner indeed

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” (1 Chronicles 16:8)

The house was already packed before the event started
And for the PARENTING WINNERS talk that was recently concluded on December 4, 2010, so I shall.

God did it again!  He used Francis Kong’s amazing motivational gifts and Peter Tan Chi’s fantastic content and turned PARENTING WINNERS into a once in a lifetime event .  To say that people were blessed by what He has done through these two powerful men would be a criminal understatement.

A little over 3,000 people packed the Limketkai Atrium to listen to the nation’s very best speakers give their parenting experiences and principles.

Francis Kong was funny and inspirational as always.  He talked about his experiences as a dad of three winners and as his experiences as a motivational speaker in many fields.  Some of the info reflected the sad fact that many parents in this country do a dismal job in raising up their kids.

Francis Kong was up first

I was especially taken by his experiences when he was speaking in schools filled with students who struggled with shocking issues and misplaced values.  Below is a sample of his talk that highlights this.

However, also excellent, and the highlight of the event for many people, was the portion of Peter Tan Chi.  If Francis Kong was the comedian and motivator extraordinaire, then his mentor was the consummate content speaker who spoke with so much authority and wisdom that you can’t help but be blown away and mutter superlatives to yourself (this is not to say that Mr. Kong was weak on content or that Mr. Tan Chi was not funny; they both had all these traits in spades).
Peter Tan Chi spoke for the 2nd half of the program

But that’s what you’d from the Senior Pastor of one of the most successful churches in the Philippines, and the father of five ridiculously achieving children.

Instead of a video clip of Mr. Tan Chi speaking (the DVD is still not finished, unfortunately), I’d like to give the simple-to-remember acrostic that he used for principles on how one can parent winners: MOTIVATE.  Namely:

M – Model

O – Open Communication

T – Time

I – Intimacy

V – Vision

A – Affirmation

T – Training

E – Enduring Legacy

I obviously don’t have the time and the space here to summarize what Mr. Tan Chi covered with each letter.  It won’t do the talk justice, anyway.  When the DVD is completed, I’ll post more clips.

Well, I hope you took heed of my invitations on this site and went to PARENTING WINNERS.  I’m not sure if we will be blessed with a Kong/Tan Chi tandem ever again.  One thing I do know, the future of this country is very dependent on how well we raise our kids now, and so I’d advise you to take advantage of every seminar like this.
from left: Peter Tan Chi; Peter’s wife, Dionna; Francis Kong

There would be many parenting-based activities that are coming in 2011, and I will inform you about them here.  Stay tuned, and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Parenting Winners!

I often get mixed feelings when I think about bringing up my three kids in this day and age.  As a professed techie growing up in what my little ones consider the stone age, where there were no cell phones, mp3 players, motion-control videogames,  movie-making media, HD-TVs, and almost limitless information at the click of a button, I can’t help but feel a bit envious that they have at their very fingertips such great gadgets, technology, and opportunity.

But on the other end, I can’t shake the feeling that they are living in a very dark age, and it’s just going to get worse as they grow into adults.  Certainly, many of the mores that were considered taboo and abhorrent during my days growing up are now the norm today.  How would the world be when my kids become adults, themselves?  Scary, isn’t it?

According to popular author Josh McDowell, in the next 12 months:
  • 500,000 children will attempt suicide
  • More than 1 million will run away from home
  • 75,000 teens will give birth to illegitimate babies
  • 418,000 girls under 19 will have received abortion to end unwanted pregnancy
  • 12,000,000 teens will take some form of narcotics and regularly use drugs
  • 3,300,000 young people will experience a serious drinking problem
  • 5,000,000 children will become victims of broken homes
  • 4,000,000 children will be beaten, molested, or otherwise abused by their parents
  • More than 50% of the 21 million teens between 15-19 are sexually active
  • Another 2M between 13 and 14 are believed to be sexually active

These statistics were taken many years ago, and I’m sure it hasn’t improved since.  Don’t think we’re any better off because this survey was taken in the west.  Even when there’s no divorce here, broken families abound.  Couple this with the common situation of one or both parents leaving for work abroad, and the general economic situation that many face…well, this is the world our children are growing up in, and the world they will inherit will likely be worse.

Are our kids in trouble, friends?  I think the obvious answer is yes.

But is there hope?  Is there still hope that you can raise positive kids in a negative world that’s getting more and more negative?

The answer, I believe, is also yes…but we need all the help we can get.

Whether you feel that you have arrived as a mom or a dad, or parenting woes have left you heartbroken and down on your knees, allow me to invite you to a fantastic event that would greatly help you in this area.

Two of the nation’s top motivational speakers, Francis Kong and Peter Tan Chi, will speak on how to inspire your children to become winners.  Mark your calendars on December 4, 2010 as they will grace us with their presence and wisdom for four hours of the afternoon (2-6 PM) in what’s surely going to be a wonderful time.  The venue for this exciting event is Limketkai Atrium, with the cost being a ridiculously low P100.00.

Francis Kong needs no introduction, as he is very well known as an author, media personality, and is a very in-demand speaker all across Asia.  Peter Tan Chi is an educator and mentor extraordinaire, and surely a great speaker in his own right—especially on the topic of parenting.  When I think about it, Mr. Tan Chi is probably my favorite speaker and foremost role-model on this topic.  You will find out why on December 4.

I been blessed to have listened to both men several times on different occasions; and after each time, I left the venue a changed and inspired man.  They are surely big draws on their own, but to have them both at the same event?  That is truly a rare gem…a gem that you absolutely must avail of.  All you’ll need to do is to call 857-3000 or the participating schools (see poster) for your tickets.

Make no bones about it: if you care about raising winners in an age where it’s exceedingly difficult to do so, you need to be in attendance.  I feel a little awkward when it comes to rating myself as a parent; but without a shadow of a doubt, I wouldn’t be nearly as good a dad as I am now if it weren’t for events like these.

I’m sure you’d be blessed as well.  I’d like to give a truckload of thanks to Cagayan de Oro Association of Private Elementary Schools, Rotary Club of Kalayaan, Rotary Club of Metro Cagayan de Oro, Philippine Society of Anesthesiologists—Northern Mindanao Chapter, and Christ’s Commission Fellowship for making this event happen.

PARENTING WINNERS with Peter Tan Chi and Francis Kong.  December 4, 2010.  Limketkai Atrium.  2:00 – 6:00 PM.  I expect to see you all there!

Oh, before I end…if you have a high school or college age child, Mr. Francis Kong will speak on BECOMING A PERSON OF EXCELLENCE at Christ’s Commission Fellowship at 9:30 AM that same morning.  It’s actually very near to Limketkai, just across the street from the Robinson’s Car Park entrance.  This youth talk is absolutely free, so feel, uh…free to bring him or her there.  Did I mention your child will get to see Francis Kong for free?  As in, absolutely no charge? Again, 857-3000 is the number to call.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thank godness I graduation!!

Sorry, I haven’t had much time to blog lately.  Been super-duper busy.  One of the things that kept me occupied was completing my final requirements of the GLC course that I took.  If you don’t know yet, GLC stands for Global Leadership Center, and it’s a course that CCF (the church I go to) gives to members who are willing to strengthen themselves in their walk and testimony as Christians and as leaders.

Well, all 93 of us, graduated last Saturday …quite a bit, but miniscule compared to the 650 and 700+ who graduated from the first and second batch in Manila, respectively (gosh that’s more than our whole congregation).  Nonetheless, it’s still a good group and it makes me so glad to see such a number of people—many of them running circles around me spiritually—so dedicated to growing in the Lord and serving him.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t win any honors and I’m likely wallowing somewhere at the bottom of the class.

Well, at least I graduated.

I don’t have much time to blog about it, but I’ll let my 3-minute testimony (a requirement for graduation) and the pictures tell the story.  Kudos once again to CCF and to my fellow graduates.  But let’s not forget that this is not an undertaking so that we can get extra privileges or bragging rights.  This whole program serves as the final nail on our crosses, signifying that we are ready and willing to follow Him wherever He may lead us.  As Isaiah said in the book that bears his name, “Here am I.  Send me!”  (Is. 6:8)

Here’s my testimony.  Enjoy.

Carlo Manuel P. Alado
August 9, 2010
GLC 3-minute testimony

It’s difficult to put my GLC experience into words, because it was one great rollercoaster ride that allowed me to experience a smorgasbord of emotions, from great joy to great sadness, great anticipation to great exasperation, great seriousness to great silliness, great times of inspiration to great times of challenge.  It’s this wide range of emotions that would make the rest of this piece seem very random.  My apologies, but there is just so many thoughts swimming in my head, and each one so different from the other.  But overall, it was a very positive experience and easily one of the milestones in my Christian walk.

Firstly, I am just awed by how wonderful God is in His allowing me to be a part of such a fantastic program.   One, he allowed me and my family to be a part of such a wonderful church that puts so much effort and emphasis in disciple-making and equipping.  I’ve never been happier to have stumbled into CCF-CDO a decade ago than I am now.  Secondly, I very nearly failed to be a student of this program.  Workload was high and finances were low, and, even though I really wanted to join, I was already resigned to the fact that this would not be my year.  But lo and behold, a benefactor enrolled me without my knowledge, and here I am, writing this testimony.  God is good.

Secondly, it is obvious how this program has impacted its students.  My mom noticed how different the students were after only a few weeks into the program.  Generally, they were more excited about doing God’s work and seem more confident about life in general.  Indeed, the GLC program is very holistic, greatly equipping us not only in spiritual principles and Biblical knowledge, but also when it comes to parenting, financial stewardship, health, and, most importantly, in making disciples.

We truly learned so much.  The course was a gold mine for all of us.  My favorite topics where I learned new information were: Making Disciples 3, for teaching me how to do counseling and mentoring; Personal Development, which strongly taught us how important it is to be not only spiritually healthy, but physically, mentally, and relationally healthy as well; and Apologetics 1, which taught us how to relate to those who do not share our Christian views.

There were also sessions that made me squirm in my seat.  The Family Life topic is an example, as it made me realize how much I still need to improve as a genuinely Christian husband and father.  Another was Biblical Stewardship, which challenged me to be a better steward of my money, my time, and my talents.  Don’t think that since I squirmed in my seat, the experience was negative.  Even these experiences were very positive, because they exposed blind spots and showed us what was wrong, even when we didn’t realize that something was amiss.

With that said, I couldn’t recommend the GLC program highly enough.  Sure, it was quite a mad scramble to get things done on time; but I’m sure all 93 of us are better Christians, better leaders, and better people after these past 10 months.  Even better, the upcoming batch will have a newer and better curriculum than what we have had, which is actually quite enviable.  God is truly moving mightily in our midst, and I pray that more people will join Him in His work.

It’s amazing that we have 93 newly minted leaders of our local church.  I can just imagine the fruitful growth that CCF-CDO will have thanks to the efforts of these excited, dedicated, and, thanks to this course,  equipped people.  All these new speakers, d-group leaders, mentors, councilors, ministry heads…wow, just the thought of it makes me want to greatly rejoice.  May all of us truly carry out CCF’s slogan, which is “To make Christ-Committed Followers, who will make Christ-Committed Followers, who will make Christ-Committed Followers…”

One of the great mentors in my life, my D-12 leader, Dr. Allan Melicor

To see all the pics of the graduation rites.  Click here. The new batch will start next month.  Already, in my d-group, my wife has enrolled, as well as another couple very close to us.  If you also worship in our church, I strongly suggest you invest in the GLC.  You will never be the same person again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

CCF's newest (and scariest) ministry

One of the many things I like about the church that I worship in is how sensitive the leadership is to the needs of the congregation, and how seriously and creatively they and the rest of the church take action to meet these needs.

Examples: with so many small groups, they came up with a D-group management ministry that helps people find a D Group that’s right for them.  CCF nourishes the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of the less fortunate by forming CUPCOM (CCF Urban Poor Community Outreach Ministry).  Our beautiful women over 50 years old have a Sunshine ladies ministry.  There’s a jail ministry, a single parents ministry, a ministry that reaches out to the PNP, a singles ministry, a college ministry, a flower arranging ministry, a music ministry, a children’s ministry, a high school youth ministry.  There’s just so much going on, all the time…and I believe CCF does a pretty thorough job shepherding and meeting the needs of God’s worshippers who choose to worship Him within her halls.

However, for the longest time, they have not touched all the bases.

There was an important demographic in the congregation that may have missed the dutiful eyes of our church leaders: girls of the young teen and tween age.  Good thing our elders wizened up and came up with the newest and scariest CCF ministry: the HUNKS ministry!!

You see, the world has a very strong pull to these young girls’ hearts, a pull that puts them in a trance that’s almost impossible to break.  I remember the young girls of my generation were so into New Kids On The Block that they would swoon every time one of their videos comes on or when one of their songs gets a bit of airtime on the radio.  In the late 90’s, my ear drums (and girls’ hearts) were bombarded by musical (?) acts such as Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Boyzone, F4, and their ilk.  Today, my students go gaga over Korean and Japanese boy bands (very effeminate boy bands) like N.E.W.S.  Lastly, adorably cute teen sensation Justin Berbier currently has the number one album in America, showing just how strong this demographic is, and how important it is to get their attention for the glory of God.

What I usually like about Christian media is that they seem do a good job attracting the younger generation nowadays.  My kids are into Kids Praise!, Veggie Tales, Herbie and Friends, and Hillsong Kids.  My eldest daughter has a CD of the Christian teen pop band, Jump 5.  Many of my evangelical Christian students are huge fans of God-glorifying acts like Cutlass, Hillsong United, 7th Day Slumber, Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, 33 Miles, and others.

But it seems like the Boy Band genre has slipped under everyone’s radar.  There’s simply no Christian answer to the likes of Beiber, NEWS, Backstreet boys, etc.

Well, Christian girls rejoice, the CCF HUNKS are here!  Now you ladies can get your fill of dashing young men and honor the Lord at the same time.   Let me tell you, auditions were tough, and the criteria nearly impossible to meet: musical, Godly, irresistibly gorgeous.  Many wonderful young men from the TOUCH singles ministry had their hearts broken and their egos forever scarred because they didn’t make the cut.  But the whole process was worth it, and the HUNKS are now available to lead you into worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ and look darn good doing so!

So come on girls, check them out!  To give you a little snippet of their awesomeness, here they are with their version of

Made to Worship.  Enjoy!

Oh, by the way, today is April 1.  Gotcha!!

I was just in the mood to do something for April Fool’s Day and I remember the video of the TOUCH Singles guys goofing off during one of their seminars.  (If I’m not mistaken, they were waiting for the food to be prepared and were bored crazy…well, crazier than usual)

I hope you got a good chuckle out of this.  Would love to get your comments.

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