Philippines, 2009: Tribute to my Grand Father.

Inay and Ama

I will miss you Ama

War Veteran. Decorated. Dude. GrandFather. Husband. Leader. Servant.

So long, Ama. I will miss you until we meet again. Thank you for all the memories and the love I received from you. You are always a delight with how we joked about your being a soldier, yet at the same time be in awe with the war stories you told. Yet, I’ve never saw you and heard you speak ill of others (until late when you’re suffering from severe Alzheimer’s). You are always a gentleman. Strong at will yet very humble. Thank you for taking care of me when I was spending my vacation time. Thank you. Rest In Peace. Say Hi to Jesus for me Ama. =)

Thoughts about the Lin-sanity, Faith, and Missions.

Linsanity

Linsanity (pic from NBA.com)

Linsanity fever got me too.

First time, I went to New York back in 2009 for the 8th Year Ender special with a good friend Issah. We we’re not so much enthusiastic about watching an NBA game because, at the time, NY Knicks was a boring team. We just took pictures in front of the Madison Square Garden, and off we go to some other places that NY offers.  The NY team was mediocre at best. There’s not much intensity going on with that ball club at the time.

Then, Jeremy Lin came.

Now, I’m hooked and all rooting for the Knicks to win. It’s just thrilling to unfold a story that somehow most of the world can relate and would want for their lives. It’s a Hero (for the secular) or Savior (for the religious). In the case of the NY Knicks, they badly needed a hero – and that came true with the emergence of this guy named Jeremy Lin. After 7 win streak of that ball club (with 2 considerable opponents, Timberwolves and Lakers). Jeremy Lin is legit, a very good point guard. With just 6 starts, he has been placed on the ranks of the hall famers in terms of most points as a starter. He continues to surprise us with his plays, picks, and passes. Of course, his game winning 3. It looked like a championship game to me if we’re going to base how the away crowd stood up and cheered for him as he took the game on his hands for the win. It’s Linsane!

But, let me move away a bit from basketball stuff. Last night, I couldn’t sleep very well. There’s this uneasy feeling I have and it’s weird. I was thinking about this Jeremy Lin effect, not just in basketball, but the whole world. Jeremy Lin is breaking barriers. His effect on and off the court is just amazing. In his own ways, He reminded me to be always humble and be focused on God.

On our worldly culture, it teaches us to be the winner. It teaches us to get the credit because we deserved it. It teaches us a lot of stuff that is contrary to the Christian faith. Yet, examples of Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow and Knicks’ starting point guard Jeremy Lin, tells the world that it’s not. They are redefining what the world knows at its very own game. Yes, I have a verse “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” – 1 Cor 1:27

J. Lin and T. Tebow, are just two examples I can think of where they both started out as nobodies. From zero to hero. Today, both are well respected (and yes, criticized as well) players in their leagues. Both are Christians. With that said, I want to dwell more that aspect and its effect to us, our faith, and to our mission as followers of Jesus.

As I was walking today towards the office, each step was marked with the thought of how God orchestrates everything for His glory. In the case of Lin, I think, this would set Christianity more into the hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike. God is using J. Lin to let other people see who God is. And it dawned me, what about China? As you might not know, China is a closed country. Christians Missionaries there are working underground or let me say, not as open as with say, US, or Philippines. I heard stories of Christian missionaries being persecuted in China just for having a bible in their possesion. So, imagine how through NBA, the Gospel can be spread through living out a Christian life.

People from China (and the rest of Asia, and the world) would follow the story of Jeremy Lin. His basketball style and prowess on the court. His humility off the court. His being grounded despite his sky rocket success story – from a man who got cut twice, was about to be waived off by the team, and was sleeping off from his brother’s couch – to the man, the world admires.

How does this translates to me, being a Christian? It’s easy to get swayed with success, money, and praise. Sometimes, being a Christian makes it even more challenging. And just so timely, I got reminded of this verse (I have a verse again!) from Hosea 12:8 which says “Ephraim boasts, “I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin.”  It simply says that there’s always our tendency to see God’s blessings as an indication of our righteousnes. No, it is not. I wrote this because, we have the tendency to boast of God’s blessings blindfolding us of our pride of our sins. And, yes, God gives prosperity to the righteous (Psalm 37:3-4) but it doesn’t mean that wealth and prosperity indicates rigtheousness. Jesus suffered, and we’re made to bear His image and likeness. So, the likelihood of us suffering is real. So, I say repent. (ok, I’m going off topic)

Going back to the J.Lin effect to our mission, I am thankful to God that He makes these things happen in my life time. I believe that he’s opening a stage where the true Gospel can be preached for the hearts of the many. Think about it. How many kids will know and follow the footsteps of Jeremy Lin in the future? How many will read about this story, his life, his faith, his testimony? Think China! and that’s alot of people.

Here’s where the reality kicks back in. Not all people will be as successful in basketball or in Harvard as Jeremy Lin did – and continually does. Not all will get the breaks they wished for and dreamt of. Not all would be able to get the opportunity in the same ball park as those in the NBA, where your stage is the world. Not all.

Not all will see that aspect of God, but still.

And I go back to this verse again from Matthew 9:37, “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”  This sets up our mission, to harvest for God. It’s to preach the Good news of salvation. To teach and to encourage our fellow members of the Body of Christ. To invite people to be part of the family… it’s just wow.

Looking at things on the perspective of our faith, makes things more beyond me. Beyond Basketball. Beyond the thinking of this world. It makes sense somehow to think that, God orchestrates everything. God is in control. God is God. I may never get to win praises by people. I may never ever get to be ridiculous rich. I may never even be the achiever I hoped to be in a worldly sense. But, thinking about who God is and knowing Him and being able to enjoy His prescence is more than enough. It may seem hard to digest really, but it makes sense somehow.

****

NYC with Mario and Issah

NYC with Mario and Issah

 

in front of Madison Square Garden

in front of Madison Square Garden

On Potter’s hands

Let me break away from the usual posts I’ve been doing the past few days.  It’s Monday again. Start of my work week. The past weekend has been a break from the usual routine, I usually do. I was dead tired.

My heart was racing and trying to catch that piece of itself, trying to patch something void and something empty beneath. I needed to withdraw and breakaway from this.

Thinking about it, it’s more of an escape from all these burdens I’ve been carrying since I left for States. It’s been 5 months and counting.  It feels so different now. It is different. Things will never be the same.

Today, I was reminded that God is way bigger than any or all of my worries, pains, and frustrations combined. Thank you Jesus for a meaningful life. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me through and through.

Hope is always found in You. Listening to songs, turns my heart tenderly comforted and acknowledged. Songs of praise. Songs of Joy. Songs of hope. Songs of Love. Songs of Cries. Music into my ears and fills up this cup with joy.

I am secured in Christ. My identity is found in Jesus. My soul craves for Him, my God. My spirit comes alive reading your words, studying your life, and living out with your Spirit. There’s redemption in You. There’s freedom. There’s Joy. There’s fulfillment. There’s restoration. There’s rebirth.

Lord, You are my God. I am yours. Take hold of me. Hold me in your hands and under your care. My enemies gather around me and make schemes to trap me, to destroy me, and to rob me. But they’ll never succeed for there is You.

Let your will be done, my God. And teach me to follow your ways. I come undone before You. Face down and knees bent in total submission to You. Let me lay at your feet Lord. Fix me Father.

Psalm 42

For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Philippines 2007

Switchfoot Concert

Switchfoot.

It was 2007. This is probably one of those bands, that the first time I heard one of their songs, I became an instant fan. At the time, I didn’t know much about the Christian bands or not. All I know was that, they are good. I went with several friends who are into rock. Great time it was.  It’s also somehow one of the reasons why I started to dig bands who are deep. Moreover, most of those deep bands are those who stand for something beyond themselves.

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp,
and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.”
Psalm 98:4-6 (KJV)