Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NGAYONG BAGONG TAON, HUWAG AGAD MANGANGAKO...MANATILING LUMA...

Hindi na mawawala sa bokabularyo ng maraming tao ang salitang New Year’s Resolution o mga pangako na nais nilang tuparin sa bagong taon---mga bagay at ugali na gustong tanggalin, gustong gawin dahil hindi nagawa, gustong ulitin dahil na-enjoy ang karanasan at marami pang iba.Honestly, hindi ko ugaling magsabi o magsulat ng New Year’s Resolutions. Rather I always pose New Year’s THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER REQUESTS.

Madaling mangako pero hindi lahat madaling tuparin. Kung marami kang pangakong kailangang panghawakan, mas tumitindi ang “pressure” para sila ay sundin. If you don’t deliver to your promises, you’re just fooling yourself. Sabi nga nila, less promises, less pressure.Bagaman ang mga New Year’s Resolutions ay kalimitang pangako para sa SARILI, sinasalamin rin nito ang puso ng tao patungkol sa kaniyang relasyon sa kaniyang kapwa. What does the Scripture tell us about making promises and entering into commitments and covenants?

GOD PROHIBITS US TO MAKE CARELESS VOWS. Moses said to the tribes of Israel: 'This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to oblidge himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.' (Numbers 30:1-2). They are not also allowed to use the name of the Lord when they make promises (Leviticus 19:12). Ito rin ang sinabi ng Panginoong Hesus sa mga disipulo at ni Apostol Santiago (Matthew 5:33-37, Santiago 5:12). Maraming tao, kahit sa kasalukuyang panahon, ang ginagamit pa ang pangalan ng Diyos (“Saksi ko ang Diyos!”) para magmukhang credible ang kanilang pangako. At kapag hindi nila natupad ang kanilang binitiwang pangako, kinakaladkad nila ang pangalan ng Diyos sa kahihiyan.

KAPAG TAYO AY NANGAKO, TUPARIN NATIN AGAD. HANGAL ANG MGA TAONG HINDI TUMUTUPAD SA KANILANG PANGAKO. Minsang isinulat ni Haring Solomon, "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, 'My vow was a mistake.' Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7).

Sa halip na mangako sa pagsisimula ng BAGONG TAON, nirerekomenda kong manatili tayong LUMA..

LUMA-layo sa kasalanan at mga bagay na makakasakit sa puso ng Diyos. We should get rid of all habits, behaviors, attitudes that are would destroy our relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:23).

LUMA-lakas ang pananampalataya sa Diyos. We can never overcome sin, if we do not have a personal and strong relationship with God. Let us draw nearer to God so that we can live in His holiness (James 4:8).

LUMA-lago ang relasyon at pagkakilala sa Panginoon (3:18 Principle). This year, let us all grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). May He transform us according to His image and continue to grow from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

LUMA-labas ang bunga ng Espiritu dahil sa patuloy na pagsunod sa Diyos (Galatians 5:22-23). Sinabi ng Panginoon sa kaniyang mga disipulo sa Juan 15:4-5, “Manatili kayo sa akin at mananatili ako sa inyo. Hindi makapamumunga ang sangang hindi nananatiling nakakabit sa puno. Gayon din naman, hindi kayo makapamumunga kung hindi kayo mananatili sa akin. Ako ang puno ng ubas, kayo ang mga sanga. Ang nananatili sa akin, at ako sa kanya, ang siyang namumunga nang sagana; sapagkat wala kayong magagawa kung kayo'y hiwalay sa akin.” It is only through ABIDING in Christ that we can bear the fruit of the Spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.Isang mapagpalang Bagong taon sa ating lahat. Pagpalain tayo ng Panginoon!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Samuel Huntington, Harvard Political Scientist, Dies at 81


Samuel P. Huntington was unafraid to launch his ideas onto the center of the intellectual stage, even when they sparked considerable controversy. But friends and family said they will remember the bespectacled political scientist for his gentle, reserved nature, and commitment to scholarship and education.

The preeminent scholar of national security, democratization, civil-military relations, and strategy—whose expertise touched legions of students and policymakers—died of congestive heart failure and complications related to diabetes at the age of 81 last week on Martha’s Vineyard, according to wife Nancy A. Huntington '55.

Professor Huntington, who taught at Harvard for 58 years before retiring in 2007, was a gentle, yet quietly serious, presence in the government department, where he left behind a legacy of academic integrity and commitment to undergraduate education during his tenure, colleagues said.

Though Huntington’s views sparked heated debate among international relations theorists, the strength of his ideas and methods of presentation won him popularity among students, according to long-time friend and former Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Henry Rosovsky.

“He was so brilliant that you wanted to learn as much as you could from him and try to be as honest and as serious about your work as he was,” said government Professor Stephen P. Rosen ’74, a former student of Huntington’s. “He was an inspiration…he was always there for his students.”

Huntington's most famous academic treatise espoused that cultural and religious differences between the world’s major civilizations—rather than ideological disparities between political states—would be the cause of violent conflicts in a post-Cold War world.

The world's major civilizations, Huntington said, were Western, Latin American, Islamic, African, Orthodox, Hindu, Japanese, and "Sinic" (which included other East Asian cultures).

The theory drew controversy for its focus on differences between civilizations when Huntington first published it in 1993 as an article in the journal Foreign Affairs. Some at the time criticized the work for reinforcing and oversimplifying cultural divisions, though it later gained support, particularly after the Sept. 11 attacks, which some pointed to as evidence of the cultural strife predicted by Huntington's theory.

In 1996, he expounded on his argument in the book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” which has been translated into 39 languages.

Huntington's most recent book, "Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity," published in 2004, provoked accusations of racism for warning that a tide of Mexican immigration to the U.S. would undermine "our Anglo-Protestant culture."

“He was a scholar, first and foremost,” Mrs. Huntington said. “He knew that…there would be controversy but felt obliged to do what he thought was right and what was true.”

“He had a wonderful capacity to deal with crucial topics,” Rosovsky said of Huntington, who wrote 17 books over the course of his academic career. “In many ways, I think academic achievement is very much related to choosing the right subject, and Sam was incredibly good at that.”

Kennedy School Professor Graham T. Allison Jr. called Huntington "an outstanding teacher, a great thinker, and a valued colleague" who had the “rare capacity” for larger insights into overarching themes like democratization and military politics.

“Not just big insights but grasp of truths that have legs,” Allison added in his e-mailed statement. “Among political scientists, or indeed, all social scientists today, he had no peer competitor. Personally as well as intellectually, we miss him deeply.”

Samuel Phillips Huntington was born on April 18, 1927, in New York City, to parents steeped in the trade of words—his father was an editor and publisher, and his mother a writer.

In 1946, the precocious 18-year-old graduated with distinction from Yale College. After serving briefly in the U.S. Army, Huntington continued his education at the University of Chicago and at Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1951.

The year before earning his doctorate, the 23-year-old Huntington began teaching at Harvard, where he was often mistaken for an undergraduate, according to Rosovsky. Excepting the period between 1959 and 1962, when he was an associate professor of government at Columbia, Huntington taught at Harvard for 58 years, eventually becoming the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor, one of 21 prestigious professorships created by Harvard to recognize groundbreaking, interdisciplinary scholarship.

"It is difficult for me to imagine a more rewarding or enjoyable career than teaching here, particularly teaching undergraduates," Huntington wrote in a retirement letter.

Before retiring in 2007, Huntington served twice as chair of the government department, directed Harvard's Center for International Affairs from 1978 to 1989, and chaired the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies from 1996 to 2004.

In 1989, Huntington founded the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, an autonomous entity within the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs that focuses on national security and strategy issues. Though Huntington stepped down from his post as director of the Olin Institute in 2000, he continued to advise on Olin Fellowships and remained involved in the seminar program.

But Huntington’s work also took him beyond academia. In 1968, he advised then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey during his bid for the presidency. And in 1970, he co-founded Foreign Policy magazine.

In 1977 and 1978, Huntington was coordinator of security planning for the National Security Council under President Jimmy Carter. The following decade, Huntington served on the Presidential Commission on Long-Term Integrated Strategy.

After suffering from a stroke in 2006, Huntington entered a succession of nursing facilities in Boston. He relocated the following summer to a facility on Martha's Vineyard, where the Huntingtons had spent their summers for 40 years.

“He loved the Vineyard, loved his garden, and lived a fairly simple life,” Mrs. Huntington said, remembering her husband remark, "I can breathe again," after returning to his favored refuge after serving the Carter administration.

“I never knew him to lie; I never knew him to dissemble,” she added about her late husband, who first courted her in 1956 by inviting her to the Casablanca on Brattle Street for a beer. “He was a joy to live with.”

Samuel Huntington is survived by Mrs. Huntington; two sons, Nicholas P. Huntington ’87 and Timothy M. Huntington ’83; and four grandchildren. A private burial service will be held on Martha's Vineyard.

In the spring, a memorial service will be held at Harvard; details are pending.

Friday, December 26, 2008

USAPANG BAMPIRA (Why do Teenage Girls Sink their Teeth into Vampire Movies?)

Interview with the Vampire. Van Helsing. Queen of the Damned. The Forsaken. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jesus Christ the Vampire Hunter. Blade Series. Underworld (Evolution). Bram Stoker’s Dracula. From Dusk till Dawn. Twilight. True Blood. lan lamang ito sa mga sikat na pelikulang tumatalakay sa iba’t ibang katangian ng mga bampira o blood-suckers—nakakatakot, nakakaasar, nakakatawa, kahanga-hanga at nakaka-in-love.

Bakit ba ganoon na lamang ang hatak ng mga vampire stories sa mga kabataan ngayon? Kapansin-pansin na mga kabataang babae ang madaling maakit sa mga bagay na ito.

Many teenage girls love to listen to romantic lines and dialogues. Studies show that men are attracted to women because their physical attributes, while women are attracted to men because of their romantic styles and attitudes. Sa simula ng pelikulang Twilight, ito ang sinabi ni Bella: “I’d never given much thought to how I would die…. Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved.” Sagot naman ng guwapong bampira: “I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore.” Effective “kilig” lines ito sa marami.

Vampire movies often reveal the utmost need of women—acceptance and affection
. Kung mapapansin ninyo, vampire always sneaks into the room of the lady every night. Ang ganitong scenario ang kinababaliwan ng maraming teenage girls—iyong feeling na mayroon kang stalker na nagmamahal sa iyo. Sa pelikulang Twilight, sinabi ni Edward na nilayuan niya noong una si Bella dahil sa kakaiba ang amoy ng dugo nito. It was so desirable. Nahirapan si Edward na pigilan ang kaniyang sarili na biktimahin ang dalaga. But instead of killing the lady, he fell in love with her. Doon nagsimula ang love story. Ang pag-ibig na hindi nakuha ni Bella mula sa kaniyang pamilya ay natagpuan niya sa binatilyo. Nais ni Edward na manatiling mortal si Bella—hindi siya dapat mamatay at hindi rin dapat maging bampira kahit gusto nito.

Gothic movies and novels reflect the repressed sexual feelings of women. Karamihan sa mga vampire stories na ating mapapanood at mababasa ay nagpapakita ng mga kababaihang tulad ni Bella na parang walang kamuwang-muwang sa sex. Ipinapakita naman ng bampirang lover ang pag-akit sa babae na ilabas at ipahayag ang kaniyang repressed sexual feelings. At kapag nakagat na ang babae ng bampira, nagiging blood at sex addict na rin siya.

Many teenagers simply want to have a challenging romantic life. Many teenage girls are attracted to men who are bad and social deviants because they can let people see them as bad without being bad themselves. In short, type nila ang mga lalaking “maginoo pero medyo bastos.” Ganundin, may challenge para sa iba ang magkaroon ng isang boyfriend na bad boy. Para sa kanila, kayang baguhin ng pag-ibig ang taong kanilang minamahal.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

ADDICT KA BA SA TV/SINE? (Pleasing God with your Viewing Habits)

I like watching television shows and movies. May mga pagkakataon na kapag nababagot akong magbasa ng libro, hinahanap ko ang movie version nito at pinapanood ko na lang. Mas madali ko siyang maintindihan. It has become an educational tool. Watching TV programs and movies can also relax our minds and bodies. Kaya pagdating sa bahay mula sa matinding trabaho, binubuksan agad ang TV. Kapag kailangang makinig ng balita at weather reports, nandiyan ang TV. Ayon sa isang survey, halos 18 oras ang inilalalan ng isang normal na Filipino sa panonood lamang ng telebisyon.

Isang malaking paksa ang dapat na maging ugali ng mga kabataan pagdating sa panonood ng telebisyon. Marami kasing kabataan ang na-aadict sa panonood ng TV shows kung kaya’t napapabayaan na nila ang mas mahalagang gawain sa kanilang buhay tulad ng pag-aaral, panahon sa pamilya at paglilingkod sa Diyos. Marami rin mensaheng tayong nasasagap sa mga TV programs hindi umaayon sa kabutihang asal. To the extreme, many youth are desensitized to the evil messages of TV programs that they are now having a hard time distinguishing good messages from evil influences. Nonetheless, we can control our viewing habits. If we want to please God, we should be guided by the following:

* We sin when we watch TV shows/movies which encourage lustful thoughts. Do not watch shows that would corrupt your mind and soul.
* We should not conform to the standards of the evil world. Hindi na tayo dapat nagi-enjoy sa mga programang walang kabuluhan at panay kabastusan, green jokes, karahasan at masasamang mensahe ang ipinapakita.
* Manood lamang ng mga programang magbibigay sa atin ng mabubuti at positibong aral at mensahe. This is what Paul called as: "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy.” Huwag tambakan ang utak ng basurang ideya, programa at pelikula.
* Sa tuwing may pinanonood, test everything. Huwag agad paniwalaan ang sinasabi ng sinuman. Hindi dahil sa sikat ang isang taong nagsasalita sa telebisyon ay dapat na siyang paniwalaan. Laging umattend sa Bible studies upang masuri ang mga mensaheng napapanood sa telebisyon.

Makakabuti ding limitahan ang panonood ng telebisyon at ibuhos ang panahon sa mas makabuluhang bagay—magbasa, gumawa ng project/assignment at tumulong sa gawaing bahay. Kung may sarili kang kuwarto, huwag ka nang mag-request sa magulang mo na magpalagay ng telebisyon sa iyong kuwarto. One TV set in the living room is enough. Althoug it depends on how you discipline yourself, naniniwala pa rin ako na kapag lagi kang may kadikit na telebisyon, mas malaki ang posibilidad na lagi mo siyang bubuksan.

Minsang tinanong ako ng isang kabataan, “Kuya, bawal bang manood ng sine ang isang Kristiyano?” Tinanong ko siya kung bakit Niya tinanong niya iyon. Ang kaniyang sagot: “Tinuturo kasi sa church namin na kapag dumating daw si Lord, baka abutin daw kaming nanonood ng sine. E, ang sinehang ay lugar na maraming nangyayaring kasalanan (alam ninyo na siguro kung ano-ano ang mga iyon...).

Ano’ng masasabi natin sa ganoong mga pananaw? Mali ba talaga ang manood ng sine? Watching films in movie theatres is not sinful. Watching sinful movies is the problem. Hindi ang pagpunta sa sinehan ang masama kung hindi ang palagiang pagpunta sa sinehan para magsaya. Maraming kabataan ang hindi kumpleto ang buhay kapag hindi nakakapanood ng sine bawat linggo. Nauubos ang allowance sa panonood ng sine o kaya ay pagbili ng pirated DVDs.

Hindi minsan magandang basehan ang mga ratings na inilalabas ng Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) upang malaman kung talagang walang masamang nilalaman ang isang pelikula. May mga “PG-13” na pelikula na maari nang ibilang na “R” movies dahil sa mayroon ding mga sexual at violent contents. Be aware of the possible effects of the movie on your spiritual well-being. Maraming pelikula na sinasabi nilang mga obra-maestra ay punong-puno ng kahalayan at karahasan. Marami pa nga sa kanila ang nakakatanggap ng awards sa iba't ibang award-giving bodies. But we must remember that secular standards often do not conform with the standards of God.

Overall, if we want to please God in our lives, we must subject our desires to His will. Napakahirap noon. Maaaring sabihin ninyo sa akin: "killjoy ka naman kuya!" No, I am not killjoy. I just don't want the younger generation to be killed by earthly, secular joy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

YOUR CLOTHES ARE TALKING (Pleasing God with your Fashion)

Sa isang conference na inorganisa namin, isang kabataan ang napansin kong may EMO look. Napakaganda ng kaniyang buhok. Napakahaba ng bangs at ang tigas ng buhok malapit sa batok. Halos hindi ko na masilip ang kaniyang mga mata dahil natatabunan ng kaniyang mahabang bangs. Nakasuot siya ng itim na t-shirt at pantalon at malaking kwintas. Naisip ko: iba na talaga ang mga teenagers ngayon. Nabubuhay tayo ngayon sa isang henerasyon na binabandera ang konsepto ng “individualism”. Kung ano’ng gusto mo sa sarili mo, ipakita mo. Walang pakialaman. Iba-iba tayo ng trip sa buhay.

We must remember that Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit.Kung tunay tayong mga Cristiano, hindi na natin pagmamay-ari ang ating pisikal na katawan. Gamitin natin ito upang maparangalan ang Diyos. Kasama na dito ang paraan ng ating pananamit, mga bagay na ating kinakain, at mga bagay na inilalagay natin sa ating katawan.

Tandaan natin na ang anumang damit o fashion ay may nais sabihin. Ang mga style ng pananamit ay laging may dahilan. Ang “Punk” look (iyong may mga hair spikes at kadenang sinturon) ay nagpapakita ng ideolohiya ng anarkismo o rebelyon. Ang “Gothic” look (iyong lahat ng suot mo itim pati make-up itim) ay nagpapakita ng paglapit sa kultura ng kadiliman. The word Gothic itself literally means “barbarous or uncivilized.” Kaya huwag nating sabihin na ang damit natin ay damit lang. It can reflect our personality and values.

Christians reveal their identity through their clothes and appearance.
Walang isang uri ng damit ang sinasabi ang Panginoon na dapat nating isuot. The Bible does not specifically mention what we should wear or not wear. Ganunpaman, may mga pamantayan ang Salita ng Diyos. Two passages in the New Testament deal with the issue of fashion. Bagaman sa mga kababaihan ipinapaabot ang mga ito, maari din itong iangkop sa sitwasyon ng mga kalalakihan.I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful (1 Peter 3:2-5)

First, Christians should dress in moderation. Ano ang ibig sabihin ng moderation? Well, sa Tagalog, “maghinay-hinay”. Hindi dahil may bagong usong style ng damit, makikisunod na sa uso. Our clothing must be consistent with righteousness and holiness. Do not draw attention to yourself. Kapag nagsusuot ng mga damit na sobrang ganda at ningning, ano ang gusto mong sabihin? Do not tell me that you do not want attention. You wear those clothes to get attention. This attitudes talks about self-centeredness. The Bible says, dress moderately.

Second, wear a decent clothing. There are dresses that can provoke sensous responses from men. Ito iyong mga damit na sobrang higpit sa bust-line, sobrang baba ang neck-line, sobrang higpit sa back-side ng babae, sobrang nipis na halos kita na ang undergarments at iyong mga skirt na may mga slits. Kapag nagsuot ka ng disenteng damit, sinasabi mo sa ibang tao na “Kagalang-galang ako”. Para sa mga girls, subukan ninyong pumunta sa kulungan at magsuot ng short shorts at damit na labas ang inyong pusod, siguradong hindi matitigil ang pagsipol sa inyo ng mga inmates na magnanasa sa inyong katawan.

Third, dress appropriately. Magsuot ng damit ayon sa tamang pagkakataon at tamang panahon. Our dress must conform to the standards of politeness, respect, decency and morally accepted behavior of society. Do not shock other by wearing dresses that only you think is appropriate. Sa madaling salita, makibagay ka sa kulturang iyong ginagalawan. Huwag pupunta sa church na para kang maliligo sa beach. Hindi ka dapat nagsusuot ng mga “revealing clothes” kung dadalo ka ng worship service. Siguradong maraming taong hindi magiging komportableng tingnan ka. May iba’t ibang pamantayan pagdating sa pananamit ang iba’t ibang kultura at iglesya. What we should avoid is the style of dress that is offensive or opposing the church community's values.

Fourth, our dress must show God’s holiness. Do not cause others to sin. Immodest dress can encourage sexual lust. Kahit gustong-gusto mong magsuot ng bathing suit, siguraduhin mong hindi ka magiging dahilan ng pagkakasala ng iba. Sa lahat ng damit na ating isusuot lagi nating tatanungin ang gating sarili, “Natutuwa ba ang Diyos sa aking damit o nagiging dahilan ako ng pagkakasala ng iba?” Apostle Peter said that our look must not depend on the things we wear but from “our inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” Hindi natin maiiwasang huhusgahan tayo ng mga tao batay sa damit na ating isinusuot. Kailangang maging maayos ang puso mo pagdating sa bagay na ito.

Our clothes and appearance are a reflection not only of our socioeconomic status, but also of our moral values. Nakikilala ang ating personalidad at pagpapahalaga ayon sa ating isinusuot. Simply put, we are what we wear. Marami ang nagmumukhang may Hepatitis dahil sa dami ng naninilaw na ginto sa kanilang katawan. They adorn themselves with jewelries to please themselves. We should not be vain or conceited and not to draw attention to ourselves by the way we look . Mayroon namang nagsusuot ng mga damit upang makiayon sa barkadas at grupo. They dress to fit in or to be accepted by their peers. The Christian, however, must dress to glorify God. Kahit sabihin mo na hindi ka dapat pakialaman kung paano ka manamit, nakatingin pa rin ang iba sa kung paano nabago ang buhay mo ng Panginoon. Sasalaminin iyon ng uri ng iyong pananamit.

Bagaman may mga parehong damit na isinusuot ang mga babae at lalake (i.e. jeans, rubber shoes), mayroon pa ring mga damit na kailangang ang babae o ang lalake lamang ang gumamit. Ipinagbabawal ng Panginoon ang pagsusuot ng mga damit na sinusuot ng ibang kasarian. If you are male and you wear clothes identified with women in your culture, you are considered a cross-dresser. Cross-dressing is only an outside manifestation of the person’s values and convictions. Ang isang babae (i.e. lesbian) na nais maging lalake ay maaring magsusuot ng mga damit na panlalake. Ganundin ang mga lalake (i.e.gays and homosexuals) na nagsusuot ng mga damit pambabae na nais maging babae. God wants us to maintain our functional roles as individuals.

Sa Lumang Tipan, ipinagbawal ni Yahweh na magpa-tatoo at magpungos ng bahagi ng katawan (mutilation) ang mga Israelita upang hindi sila maapektuhan at mahaluan ng kulturang pagano. Bagaman hindi na ikinakapit sa paganong relihiyon ang pagpapa-tatoo sa katawan sa kasalukuyang panahon, kailangan pa ring pag-isipan ng bawat kabataan kung malulugod o hindi malulugod ang Diyos sa kanilang gagawing pagmamarka sa katawan.

Siguraduhing hindi pagsisisihan ang gagawing pagpapa-tatoo. Masakit ang pagpapatanggal ng marka sa katawan. Hindi lang iyon, mahal ang operasyon. May mga dating nagpamarka sa katawan na inisip na sana’y hindi na nila ginawa iyon. May isa akong kaibigan na dating nagtrabaho bilang tattoo designer na nagsisi sa kaniyang mga marka sa katawan. Marami kasi ang pinagkakamalan siyang masamang tao dahil sa ahas na nakamarka sa kaniyang braso. If a tattoo in any way hinders a your Christian witness you should really be concerned. It is true that God does not look primarily at the physical appearance because He looks at the heart. Siguraduhin mo lang sa iyong sarili na gagawin mo hindi dahil gusto mo lang sumunod sa uso, kung hindi para parangalan ang Diyos sa iyong buhay.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas in Different Languages

Nawa'y hindi natin malimutan ang tunay na diwa ng Pasko--ang kaligtasan ng ating kaluluwa sa pagdating ng Panginoong Hesus. Pagpalain ka ng Panginoon sa taong darating..

----
Afrikaans: Gesëende Kersfees
Afrikander: Een Plesierige Kerfees
African / Eritrean/ Tigrinja: Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Albanian: Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri-Azerbaijan: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian: Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese (Cantonese): Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Chinese (Mandarin): Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Chinese (Catonese): Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
Dutch (Netherlands): Prettig Kerstfeest
English: Merry Christmas
Eskimo: (Inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic (Irish): Nolag mhaith Dhuit Agus Bliain Nua Fe Mhaise
Gaelic (Scots): Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: LL Milied Lt-tajjeb
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Norwegian: God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philipines: Maligayang Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese: Feliz Natal
Romanian (in Moldova Republic): La Anul si La Multi Ani
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Serbian: Hristos se rodi
Slovakian: Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serb-Croatian: Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slavey (a Dene Language from the Northwest Territories in Canada): Teyatie Gonezu
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog: Maligayang Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Vietnamese: Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian: Cestitamo Bozic

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Real Essence of Christmas

Many people, even some religious leaders, undermine the real meaning of Christmas. They say it is about giving, caring, sharing, loving, joy, peace, hope, among others. Pero ang hindi nababangit ng marami, ang Pasko ay tungkol sa plano ng Diyos para sa tao sa pamamagitan ni Cristo. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit kailangang mas nakatuon tayo sa KALIGTASAN na ibinibigay ng Diyos, hindi sa nagmamahalang regalo, Christmas parties, monito-monita at Christmas bonus.

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT GOD’S FORGIVENESS AND SALVATION. The name Jesus Christ means “Savior-King.” It represents God's universal plan for all men. He sent His son to SAVE and RESCUE man from the curse of sin (John 3:16, Galatians 3:13). Hinubad ni Jesus ang kaniyang pagka-Diyos, upang mamuhay kasama ng makasalanang tao at iligtas ang sanlibutan mula sa sumpa ng kasalanan (Juan 1:1,14; Filipos 2:6-11). With Christmas, God provided an opportunity to reach out to man. It is Christ who served as a MEDIATOR between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5).

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT GOD’S SECURITY AND JOY. Because of Christmas we should never fear of what will happen tomorrow for God will always be on our side (Psalm 27:1, Romans 8:31). Unless we internalize this message, we can never have true peace. Ang tunay na kapayapaan ay nagmumula sa Diyos. Kahit anumang problema at trahedya ang dumating sa ating buhay, hangga’t nariyan ang Panginoon, hindi tayo kailanman dapat mag-alala. The peace that He gives is different from the peace that the world gives (John 14:27)--fleeting and temporal.

Ang kasiyahan at saya na tinutukoy ng Bibliya ay ang kasiyahan bunga ng KAPATAWARAN na maaring ibigay ng Diyos sa sinumang gagawing Diyos at Tagapagligtas si Cristo, sa isang personal at malalim na paraan.

CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT CHRIST’S LOVE FOR MANKIND - Natagpuan ng mga pastol ang sanggol na si Jesus sa isang SABSABAN, kainan ng mga hayop. This is symbolic of Christ’s mission on earth—to offfer His life as a food for humanity. He is the bread of life (John 6:51) and the living water for the thirsty (John 4:13). We should be reminded of the truth that the real essence of Christmas is JESUS Himself. The major question is, “Have you already received God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation through Christ?” Ask for God’s forgiveness so that you can have PEACE with your Creator. This is the only way you celebrate Christmas in its REAL ESSENCE.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pleasing God With your Music

Maraming pag-aaral na ang nagsasabi na kayang baguhin ng musika ang isipan at emosyon ng isang tao. Greek philosopher Plato once said, “Give me the music of a nation and I will change the mind of that nation.” Ang musika rin ang ginagamit ni satanas upang mailayo sa Panginoon ang maraming kabataan. Many teenagers already struggling with personal and family issues are attracted to heavy rock and metal music, because the lyrics express their own troubled feelings. Ang patuloy na pagbabad sa isipan at pandinig ng mga musika ay maaring magdala sa isang kabataan sa mga gawain na may kinalaman sa okultismo, satanismo, paggamit ng bawal na gamut, premarital sex, suicide at marami pang iba. Many researches even argue that when music lyrics are illustrated in music videos, the lyrics' potential impact is magnified by the accompanying video images. Ano ba ang ipinapakita ng maraming MTVs? Many of them glorify sex and violence. They depict women as sexual objects, show lewd scenes as normal and promote violent activities. Many of them do not really complement the lyrics of the song. They just want to arouse the interest of the teenage viewers.

SECULAR vs. WORLDLY MUSIC
Hindi lahat ng awitin ay lumalabag sa kalooban ng Diyos. Kailangan nating maintindihan ang pagkakaiba ng “secular songs” o mga kantang walang kinalaman sa anumang relihiyon o mga espiritwal na bagay, sa mga tinatawag na “worldly songs” o mga bagay na nagpapakita o sumusuporta sa paggawa ng kasalanan o mga bagay labag sa batas at kabanalan ng Diyos.

Secular songs may or may not be worldly. For example, the most famous “Happy Birthday” song is secular but it does not oppose the holiness of God. Nagiging makamundo ang isang love song kung hindi na ito umaayon sa Salita ng Diyos. Maraming kantang nagpapahayag ng tunay na commitment sa pagitan ng dalawang nag-iibigan. Sa kabilang banda, maraming love songs na naririnig natin sa FM stations ang nagpapahayag na hindi kasalanan ang premarital sex at homosexuality. The Bible declares that corrupt things should not proceed from our mouth. We must carefully choose the songs we sing. It is not sinful to sing secular songs. The Lord is displeased when we sing SINFUL secular songs. I can say that youth should listen to secular songs which promote a neutral and balanced message at their own risk.

SOME GUIDELINES
Ano’ng uri ng musika ang dapat pakinggan ng mga kabataan? There is no straightforward answer to this question mainly because we have different ways of valuing and interpreting music. No particular musical style is commanded in the Bible. For instance, I don’t believe that there is a definite CHRISTIAN MUSIC. There are only CHRISTIAN LYRICS. Naniniwala ako na sa Diyos nanggaling ang musika. Sinira lamang ni satanas ang paggamit sa musika para ipahamak ang maraming tao. Kailangan lang nating alaman kung kailan ginagamit ang musikang ipinagkaloob ng Diyos sa maling paraan. Before patronizing and singing a secular song, I recommend that you do the following:

Basahin ang lyrics ng kanta – Songs must be judged according to their lyrical content. Maraming kabataan na kanta lang ng kanta dahil maganda ang tono at tempo ng musika. Ang hindi nila alam, sinasabi na nilang “Magpakamatay na tayo!”, Mag-suicide na tayo!, at marami pang iba. Bago kumanta, please magbasa. What are the lyrics of the song? Does it contradict or support the Word of God?

Alamin ang pagpapahalagang ipinapakita sa kanta - What values does the song promote? Does it promote righteousness or sin? Huwag nang kantahin ang isang awit kung kinakalaban nito ang kabanalan at utos ng Diyos. We must test everythin, hold on to the good and avoid every kind of evil.

Alamin ang buhay ng singer/composer – Sinabi ng Panginoon na ang isang masamang puno ay hindi maaring magbunga ng mabuting bunga. Kung ano ang pagpapahalaga ng composer o lumikha ng kanta, iyon ang lalabas sa kaniyang musika. Who composed/performed the song? Is he/she a good example to you and to others? When you buy a record of an artist promoting wrong values, you are supporting him/her to continue his sinful work. Choose well your music even if they identify themselves as Christian bands. Does the band glorify God and not themselves? Does the band live what they sing?

Nilalapit ka ba o nilalayo ng kanta sa Panginoon? - Alamin Kung saan ka dinadala ng inaawit mo. Napapalayo ka ba sa Diyos o mas lalong napapalapit sa Kaniya? Bilang Cristianong kabataan, bakit natin sasayangin ang ating panahon sa pagkanta ng mga secular songs? Kahit balanse ang mensahe nito, hindi pa rin ito nakatuon sa pagbibigay papuri sa Panginoon. My main recommendation is surround yourself with Christian music and focus more on singing songs that will glorify God.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Si Marky Cielo (1988-2008) at ang Buhay-Kabataan

Kasabay ng pagdiriwang sa tagumpay ni Manny Pacquiao sa kaniyang laban kay De La Hoya, ginulantang rin ni Marky ang lahat sa kaniyang hindi inaasahang pagpanaw. Natagpuang siyang patay ng kaniyang ina sa kaniyang kuwarto sa kanilang tahanan sa Antipolo, alas-6 ng umaga ng December 7.

Pinahanga ni Marky ang buong sambayanan sa pagkapanalo niya bilang unang Igorot na sumali sa StarStruck na naging Ultimate Sole Survivor pa ng StarStruck Batch 3! Bagaman sinasabi ng iba na hindi siya kasing-guwapo ng mga tipikal na teenage heartthrobs, pinabilib niya ang sambayanan sa kaniyang talento sa pagsayaw. Lumutang rin ang kaniyang talento sa drama nang gumanap siya ng iba’t ibang papel sa mga telenovela at fantaserye ng GMA-7 katulad ng Encantadia, Fantastikids, Bakekang, Asian Treasures, Boys Next Door, Kaputol ng Isang Awit, and Codename: Asero. Ngunit mas nakilala siya sa kaniyang pagganap bilang si Green Zaido sa fantaserye na Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan. Naiwan niya ang isang programa na La Lola at ang kaniyang trabaho bilang main-stay sa variety show na SOP.

Ang pagpanaw ni Marky ay nagpapaalala sa atin na ang ating buhay sa daigdig ay pansamantala lamang (James 4:14, Psalm 90:5). Young people should never boast of their energy and youthfulness. Death can come anytime. Ang tanong: Handa ba tayong harapin ang kamatayan?

The Bible declares that we must start to remember our Creator in the days of our youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Huwag na nating hintayin pa na tayo ay tubuan ng puting buhok bago natin ialay ang ating buhay sa Panginoon. It is appointed unto all men to die once, and then God’s judgment begins (Hebrew 9:27). Never leave this world without repenting of your sins and accepting Christ in your heart. Ito ang pinakadakilang mensahe na kailanganh seryosohin ng lahat ng kabataan.

Monday, November 24, 2008

PARA SA MGA HINDI MATALINO

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically...
Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”— MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., American civil rights leader (1929-1968)

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”- DEREK BOK, Harvard University Professor (1983-1991)

Hindi ko makakalimutan ang lahat ng first school days ko noong ako ay nasa elementarya pa lamang. Hindi dahil sa excited ako mag-aral kung hindi dahil sa mga bago kong bag, notebooks, lapis, pencil case at uniform. Sa tuwing inaamoy ko sila, parang ayaw ko na silang gamitin. Baka kasi maluma. Pero hindi puwedeng mangyari iyon. Mga isang buwan ko pa lamang sila nagagamit, madumi na ang bag ko sa alikabok at mantsa, pudpod na ang lapis ko at lukot-lukot na ang mga dating bago kong notebooks.

Minsan, iniisip natin na ang pag-aaral ay parang pagkakaroon lang ng mga bagong gamit. Madali tayong nawawalan ng interes sa pag-aaral kapag wala na ang bango ng ating mga school supplies. Ang iba, hindi na pumapasok dahil talagang wala nang interes makita ang mga teachers at classmates. Kung hindi pa pagagalitan at parurusahan ng magulang ay hindi papasok sa eskwela. Kailangan nating maintindihan na ang pag-aaral ay bahagi ng ating paghahanda para sa kinabukasan. May mga bagay na kailangang tayong maunawaan tungkol sa plano ng Diyos sa mga kabataan sa loob ng ekswelahan. Kailangan nating alamin ang Salita ng Diyos upang lubos na maunawaan kung paano Niya ginagamit ang edukasyon upang matupad ang Kaniyang dakilang plano para sa atin.

Education provides us knowledge. And we must understand that all knowledge ciomes from God. Sa kaniya nagsisimula ang lahat ng karunungan. Hindi natin mauunawaan ang lahat ng bagay sa daigdig kung hindi Niya tayo pagkakalooban ng kaalaman. Makukuha lamang natin ang kaalamang ito kung magsisikap tayong mag-aral. Sa kabilang banda, marami naman ang nanangan sa sarili nilang karunungan at wari’y sinasabing hindi nila kailangan ang Diyos. Dahil sa sobra nilang katalinuhan, they even deny the existence of God. Secular knowledge is good but if it contradicts the holiness of God, it should never be embraced and promoted.

God is never anti-intellectual. Ayaw niya na maging mangmang ang mga tao sa mundo lalo na ang kaniyang mga anak. Many people are destroyed due to lack of wisdom. May naghihintay na parangal ang mga matatalino. When wise people speak, knowledge becomes more attractive. Mas lalong nagiging interesante ang mag-aral. Nakaka-inspire ang mga taong puno ng karunungan. Isang dahilan kung bakit ginusto kong maging isa gurp ay dahil nais kong maging instrumento ng pagbabago ng maraming kabataan. Hindi lang basta karunungan ang nais kong ibahagi sa kanila, kung hindi karunungan na nagmumula sa Diyos. Kung mayroon kang karunungan, mas magiging mabunga at matagumpay ang iyong buhay. Sa kabilang banda, ang mga mangmang ay laging mahihirapan.

We must always ask God for knowledge. Mas mahalaga ang karunungan kaysa anumang yaman sa daigdig. Solomon once wrote: “being wise is better than being strong; yes, knowledge is more important than strength”. Lagi nating naririnig: Knowledge is power. Kung sino ang may hawak ng karunungan, nagtataglay din siya ng kapangyarihan at kalakasan. Suportado ito ng Salita ng Diyos. Proverbs 8:10-11 even declares that we should choose knowledge rather than gold.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

TIPS on Reading Books on Love, Courtship, Dating, Marriage and Sex (LCDMS)

Taun-taon, nagsusulputang parang mga kabute ang mga libro tungkol sa PAG-IBIG. Iba't iba ang oryentasyon at rekomendasyon. Iba't iba ang background ng mga nagsusulat. Iba't iba ang pagtingin sa pakikipagrelasyon--ang iba agresibo, ang iba sobrang Jurassic ang pagiging konserbatibo. Wala akong inirerekomendang libro na basahin ninyo pagdating sa usapin ng love, courtship, dating, marriage, sex and marriage. Magbibigay lamang ako ng ilang pamantayan na maari ninyong gamitin upang malaman kung ano ang dapat ninyong tangkilikin. I have three major recommendations.

FOUNDED ON THE WORD OF GOD – Never patronize books that are humanistic—those who are man-centred and undermine Christian and Biblical principles. Practical principles often do not please God. For instance, many love books undermine the importance of faith. Among Christians, 2 Corinthians 6:14 should take precedence. The principle of marrying ONLY believers is the rule. It is non-negotiable. Maraming Cristiano ang nag-aasawa dahil sa napag-iiwanan na daw sila ng kalendaryo kaya kung sino na lang ang makita sa daan ang pakakasalan. Also, many love books recommend shortcuts in relationships. May isa pa nga akong narinig na HUWAG nang PATAGALIN ang relasyon kung pareho nang MARRIAGABLE ang magka-partner—kahit na dalawang buwan pa lamang nagkakakilala. There are many things in the relationship that we cannot short-circuit. Whirlwind romance can be disastrous.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, BEEN THAT AUTHOR – Isinulat ba ang libro ng isang taong may sapat na karanasan o iyong nagpapanggap lamang na eksperto? Inirerekomenda kong basahin ninyo ang mga librong isinulat ng mga taong NARANASAN na at NATUTO sa mga kamalian ng maling pakikipagrelasyon. They know what they are talking about. Higit pa rito, mas makabubuting basahin ang mga libro ng mga manunulat na IKINASAL na o may ASAWA na at PAMILYA. Bakit? Kasi, sila ang totoong eksperto. Parang ganito lang yan. Kung ako ay hihingi ng payo tungkol sa pagpapamilya, mas maniniwala ako sa isang matandang walang pinag-aralan ngunit nakapagtatag ng isang maayos na sambahayan, iginagalang ng kaniyang mga anak at asawa KAYSA sa isang Psychologist na walang asawa at hindi pa nararanasan ang magpatakbo ng isang sambahayan. Marami kasi akong nababasang mga “love guru” na nagsusulat ukol sa SEX MATTERS ngunit wala pang karanasan sa SEX. Yes, it is true that you do not need to engage in premarital sex to understand its consequences, but it is more CREDIBLE and AUTHORITATIVE to write on the matter if you already experienced being subjected to the dynamics of sex life. Go for books written by well-seasoned authors.

CULTURALLY-SENSITIVE ADVICE –Nirerekomenda ba ng libro ang mga pagpapahalagang hindi natin dapat niyayakap bilang mga Filipino? Many would say that love topics transcend culture. I beg to disagree. For instance, some books recommend that ladies COURT boys in a blatant, obvious manner kung torpe ang lalake. Well, walang problema iyon sa mga Western, industrialized, capitalist countries. But every Filipina who will embrace idea must also be ready to face the cultural consequences of the action. Sa ngayon, hindi tanggap ng lipunan na maging agresibo ang mga kababaihan sa panliligaw (palipad-hangin siguro puwede). Maaring sabihin ninyo sa akin, “Hindi ba dapat binabali na natin ang ganitong kaisipan? We now live in the period of globalization of ideas.” Mahirap pag-isahin ang kultura ng lahat ng bansa. Although globalization entails the homogenization of cultures, I am still with the view that basic cultural practices and values of different countries cannot be easily eroded by globalization factors. Isa lang ang puwede kong isagot: It is your prerogative to embrace contemporary, Western values. But I would still recommend that you respect the culture you are in, because you may be a stumbling block to others.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PHILIPPINE YOUTH WORKERS' SUMMIT 2009 (Survey Form Attached)

Dear Co-Youth Minister,

The PCEC-NYC with the cooperation of youth ministry leaders from different Christian denominations and organizations are currently organizing a Youth Worker's Summit, tentativley scheduled on 2009, the first of its kind in the Philippines. Since programs and details of the events are still in the stage of discussion and exploration, we seek your assistance.

Attached is a file for the survey on the learning needs of youth workers who are possible delegates to the conference. We hope you can find time to answer the form. Your responses are valuable and will be used to ascertain the details/topics of of the event.

We would appreciate if you could return the answered form through email not later than December 12, Friday, before the next meeting of the Steering Committee. Forward your responses to rcmolmisa@yahoo.com/gmail.com. We will inform you of the schedule of the next meeting so that you can also participate in the discussions as your schedule would allow.

Kindly spread the word about the Youth Workers' Summit 2009 to your network and friends. We created a yahoogroup to facilitate communication: http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/ywsummit09/. May God richly bless you and your ministry. We hope to see you next year!


God bless YOUth!

Youth Workers' Summit 2009
Organizing Committee

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ravi Zacharias-Where is the Glory?

Isa ito sa pinakamagandang teaching na narinig ko kay Ravi Zacharias--tungkol sa tunay na kahulugan ng "righteousness" o katuwiran sa harap ng Diyos. Feel free to download this and share. Ravi Zacharias is a world-renown Christian apologist who reveal and explain the authority of the Bible and the meaning of the Christian faith to THINKERS (i.e academics, atheists) of the world. You can visit his website at www.rzim.org

Thursday, October 30, 2008

OK ba ang HALLOWEEN? (The Dangers of Occultic Games and Practices)

Nang minsang pumila ako para bayaran sa cashier ang librong aking binili, napansin ko ang mga maiingay na private high school students sa likuran ko na tuwang tuwa sa kanilang binabasa—Ghost Stories. Naitanong ko sa aking sarili? Bakit ba mahilig manood at magbasa ang mga kabataan ng mga horror flicks and literature tulad ng Harry Potter Series at Angels and Demons ni Dan Brown?

I discovered that horror is a way for people to deal with their three most primal fears: fear of the dark, fear of the future and the fear of the unknown. We cannot control the dark, the future, or the unknown. Kung kaya gumagawa tayo ng mga istorya at mga bagay-bagay para harapin ang ating mga takot. Out of curiosity, many teenagers would like to have a different kind of adventure. Gustong malaman kung talagang may multo at mga maligno. Gusto rin ng marami na makita ang mga bagay na hindi nakatago sa paningin ng maraming tao.

Minsan sinulat ni C.S. Lewis sa kaniyang librong The Screwtape Letters ang mga pangungusap na ito: There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe and feel an unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician in the same delight.

Maraming Cristiano ang ayaw pag-usapan ang mga bagay tungkol sa demonyo at kay satanas. Hindi na daw dapat pag-usapan iyon. We will only glorify the works of the devil. Mayroon namang sobrang natutuwang makibaka sa mga gawa ng kadiliman na halos wala nang ginawa kung hindi mag-spiritual warfare. May isa nga akong kilala na laging may nakikitang demonyo sa bawat tao. Kasi nga masyadong babad sa mga paksang may kinalaman sa mga demonyo.Maraming kabataan ang natutuwang maglaro ng mga occultic games (occult means hidden). Hindi nila alam, mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ng Diyos na makilahok sa ganitong mga gawain (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Leviticus 20:27, 2 Kings 23:24, Jeremiah 10:2). Following are games and activities which can be classified as occult practices. This is not an exhaustive list.

•Ouija Boards
•Spirit of the Glass
•Magic Cards – The Gathering
•Dungeons and Dragons
•Opening of the Third Eye
•Tarot Cards
•Palm Reading
•Astrology and Horoscope
•Silva Mind Control
•Transcedental Meditation
•Astral Projection (Out of the Body Experience)
•Yoga and Meditation
•Martial Arts (Mysticism/devotion to sensei)
•Occultic video games
•Levitation
•Mental Telepathy/ Mental Control of Others
•Hypnosis
•Black or White Magic
•Masonry
•Casting of Spells or curses
•Amulets and Charm (Agimat)
•Satanism
•Worship of objects/crystals/gems
•Belief in superstitions (pamahiin)
•New Age lessons and books
•Scientology
•Hare Krishna/Bahaism
•Buddhism and Hinduism (Shiva Worship)

Nowhere in the Bible that God condones and tolerates the abovementioned practices. The truth is, Christians are fighting a spiritual against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world." Minsang sinabi ni Pablo na ang lahat ng gumagawa nito ay hindi kailanman makakapasok sa kaharian ng langit—ang impiyerno ang kanilang destinasyon. The things that God did not reveal to man must be kept secret. God prohibits people engage in divination and fortune-telling (panghuhula), necromancy (pakikipag-usap sa mga patay), astrology (horoscopes), hypnotism at mga katulad nitong gawain.

Occultism and witchcraft is considered rebellion against God. Kasuklam-suklam ito sa paningin ng Diyos. Many youth are being enticed to these because of the promise of power. Magiging makapangyarihan sila. Again, this is a self-center attitude. If you have the power to alter things and influence people’s behaviors, you can easily dismiss the authority of God in your life. It is also discovered that many of those wo engage in these activities are suffering from interpersonal relationships (i.e. family problems). They resort to these activities to resolve their personal issues.

CONSEQUENCES OF INVOLVEMENT IN OCCULTIC PRACTICES
Minsang sinabi ni Pablo kay Timoteo na mas titindi ang interes ng maraming kabataan sa mga bagay ukol sa kadiliman sa mga huling araw. Tinawag silang mga “magdarayang espiritu at ang mga aral ng diyablo.” Magiging kaakit-akit sa mga kabataan ang mga bagay na ito dahil sa kakayahan ni satanas na maging “anghel ng kaliwanagan.” May mga larong akala mo harmless pero ikaw ang sisirain sa bandang huli.

•Occultic games expose people to the evil spirits. Hindi nakikipaglaro ang mga demonyo.The devil is the father of lies and evil deeds.

•Occult involvement may lead to demon possession. Hindi alam ng maraming kabataan na ginagamit na sila ni satanas sa mga fantasy role-playing game (FRPG). It requires the player to take on the role of an imaginary character and thinks like them—engaging in battles, casting spells and killing opponents.

•Those who practice witchcraft will have no peace dahil maari silang gambalain ng mga espiritung kanilang kinakausap at ginagambala.

•Kapag gumagawa ka ng mga kultong gawain, parang ibinebenta mo na kay satanas ang iyong kaluluwa dahil nakikipaglaro ka sa kaniya.

HOW TO BE DELIVERED
Dahil kinasusuklaman ng Diyos ang mga taong gumawa ng mga kultong gawain, kailangan tanggalin natin ang lahat ng impluwensiya nito sa ating buhay. Paano natin ito gagawin?

Una, humingi ng tawad sa Panginoon sa pakikilahok mo sa ganitong mga gawain.

Pangalawa, kailangan nating sirain, itapon at huwag nang tangkilikin pa ang lahat ng mga bagay na may kinalaman sa bagay na ito. Seek the help of a pastor or a leader on how to destroy the materials. I recommend that before you do this, seek spiritual support and prayers. This is because you are making a public declaration of your opposition to the works of the devil.

Pangatlo, laging lumayo sa anumang bagay na may kinalaman sa mga occultic practices. Sabihin din sa iba ang panganib na dulot nito. Sa ganitong paraan magiging bahagi ka ng pagbabago ng buhay ng iba.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

God DID it Again (National Quiz Bee Second Victory)

Niloob ng Panginoon na muling maiuwi namin ni Louie (in behalf of DLSU-Manila) ang kampeonato sa regional finals ng National Quiz Bee na ginanap sa Robinson's Metro East noong October 25. Ibig sabihin, ang De La Salle University-Manila ang NCR representative sa National Quiz Bee Championship na gaganapin sa Philamlife Auditorium, UN Avenue, Manila sa ika-6 ng Disyembre. The event is open to the public. To all my DLSU students, I hope to see you there.

During the game proper, nandoon pa rin ang kaba dahil sa pressure na bunga ng unang pagkapanalo. Muli, napatunayan namin na ang karunungan, kaalaman at katalinuhan ay sa Panginoon lamang nagmumula. All glory belongs to Him.

Ibinabad sa panalangin ang lahat ng bagay. Nagpamisa pa nang ilang beses ang pamilya ni Louie para sa kumpetisyon. Before the competition, I released a prayer of blessing for Louie and indeed God showed His faithfulness. We won without proceeding to the clincher round unlike in the Division level competition.

In all of these, the Lord reminded me of the words of Prophet Jeremiah. This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

We will compete for God's glory. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the greater glory of God)--Ooops Ateneo yun ha!!. Kindly pray for us for wisdom, health and spiritual strength. May God bless us all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

YOUTH EXPLODE....November 29, Folk Arts Theatre (A Different Kind of Youth Gathering)

May ginagawa ang Panginoon sa kasalukuyang henerasyon ng kabataang Filipino. Ang pagtitipon sa Folk Arts Theatre ay kakaiba dahil sa magsasama-sama ang mga kabataang Evangelical, Katoliko, Protestante at iba pang youth organizations upang ideklara ang kahalagahan ng pagbabasa at pagsasabuhay ng Bibliya.

Nakikita ko na ang bunga ng mga panalangin ng maraming youth ministry leaders sa nakaraang mga taon. Indeed, revival is happening in this country which will start among the younger generation. This is really EXCITING and GLORIOUS.

Walang bayad ang pagpunta. You may contact me or Ptr Roni of PCEC for information and details (pcecnyc@gmail.com)

------
Background


A look at our Philippine context shows that more than half of Filipinos do not own a Bible. A survey conducted by the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) revealed that 60% of Filipinos do not own a Bible. Among young people, both teenagers and young professionals, the number is bigger: 70% do not own a Bible. If we are to take the Bible ownership as a sign, then this is not a very good one.

Even among young people who own a Bible, a great number acknowledge they do not read it because they do not know where to start, do not know how to read the Bible, nor do they understand the Bible version they have. But the most striking revelation is that many of them don't read the Bible because they do not see the benefits of Bible reading in their lives.

It is in response to this reality that the Philippine Bible Society (PBS), together with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), the Philippine Evangelical Church Council (PCEC), and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through its Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) and on Youth (ECY), and other independent churches and groups have come together, prayed together seeking God's guidance, and decided together to come up with a deliberate Youth Scripture Engagement Program --- the Y! EXPLODE: The Bible Adventure Series.

This whole day affair has a two-fold aim:
1. To kick-off a nationwide drive to heighten Scripture awareness among our Church and Youth Ministry leaders that could be followed-up at church council levels.

2. To develop thereafter relevant youth programs ("explosion series" of the Bible Adventure), thus ensuring continuity and heightening of awareness level.

Target Participants

This first in the series is intended for young people and those who work in the ministry (youth ministers, youth workers, youth leaders, etc). Expected number of participants is eight thousand (8,000).

PROGRAM

6:00AM Bible March
Participants gather and march from two points (Rajah Sulayman Park in Malate, Manila and Derham Park in Pasay City [at the back of Cuneta Astrodome]) and converge at the area between the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Aliw Theater, and move as one towards Bulwagan ng Panginoon (Folk Arts Theater).

Color-coding
BLUE for PCEC, GREEN for CBCP, RED for NCCP and WHITE for independent churches/groups.

8:00AM Enthronement of the Word / PBS Anniversary Service
God's Word is enthroned in its central place in the assembly. Everyone participants in the service for the 109th anniversary of the PBS, with Pastor Ed Lapiz of Day by Day Ministries speaking on the Bible, the Youth, and the Philippines.

10:30AM First Plenary: "The Bible, the Youth, and the Workplace" / Group Interaction
Participants get to meet new friends. They listen to Mr. Bo Sanchez who will discuss with them the place of God's Word in their life as young people. After some time for internalization, they will enrich one another in their small groups with their insights.

12:00NN Lunch Entertainment: Wow wow WORD!
While taking lunch, the Grand Finals of the inter-school Bible Quiz will be held, with bonus performances and games where everyone has a chance at exciting prizes!

2:00PM Second Plenary: "The Bible, the Youth, and the Church" / Group Interaction
Back with friends in their respective small groups, participants discuss with Pastor LA Mumar how young people find their place in the Church through the Word. This culminates with personal reflection and small group sharing on their realizations.

3:30PM Bible Concert!
To cap this wonderful day, everyone gets to jam with some of the most popular names in the entertainment world... still connected with the Word! It will be more than two hours of fun with new friends, celebrating the gift of the youth and of God's Word which gives joyful meaning to everyone!

In between these main events will be lots of singing and dancing, chances to meet old faces and make new friends, opportunities to get to know more about your group and others, and of course, moments to be inspired and thrilled by Jesus' deep, deep love for everyone through His life-giving Word!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sa mga Laging Bigo sa Pag-ibig....

Love Christ first....and He will give you the desires of your heart...

A Tried and Tested Principle

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beware of Mall SALE Deception

Noong Biyernes, isang oras akong natrapik sa Ortigas nang umalis ako sa bahay ng 12 ng tanghali, sakay ng FX, para makarating sa MRT station. Dahil dito, hindi ako nakapunta sa aking 1pm na meeting. Hindi umuusad ang sasakyan at kahit saan ka sumuot, laging may bottleneck ang trapiko. Doon ko na-REALIZE, as in na-REALIZE na nagsimula pala noong araw na iyon ang Sale sa Megamall. Para hindi masayang ang panahon ko, bumaba na ako sa Mega Mall dahil hindi na rin ako makakarating sa aking appointment at hindi na umuusad ang mga sasakyan.

Sinubukan kong tingnan ang item na gusto kong bilhin sa isang music shop. Dahil sa SALE ang nakalagay, inasahan ko na mas mababa ang aking malalamang presyo. Lo and behold, WALANG PINAGBAGO sa presyo. May dagdag lang---ang presyong itinaas ng P2000 na may nakapatong na malaking "X" mark para magmukhang GRABE nilang ibinaba ang presyo.
Nagtanong ako na animo'y inosente na tunay na presyo. Ang hindi alam ng salesboy, ang presyong SALE na inilagay nila sa item ay ang MISMONG PRESYO kapag walang sale. Sa isip ko, isang malaking PANLILINLANG ito. Kapag hindi ka matalinong mamimili, madadala ka na lang sa matatamis na salita ng mga nagbebenta.

Naniniwala ako na ang mga SALE declarations ng mga malls ay panahon din para sa mga ilang mall stores na linlangin ang mga consumer. Kahit wala silang mga depreciated items, binabandera nilang nagbababa rin sila ng presyo.

Walang manlilinlang, kung walang MAGPAPALINLANG.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MRT Inspirational Story 3 (The Allegory of Frogs)

Once upon a time there was a race of frogs

The goal was to reach the top of a high tower.Many people gathered to see and support them.

The race began...

In reality, the people didn't believe that it was possible that the frogs would reach the top of the tower, and all the phrases that one could hear were of this kind:

"What pain!!! . They'll never make it!"

The frogs began to doubt themselves.

The people continued:

"... What pain!!! They'll never make it! ..."

And the frogs, one by one, admitted defeat,

except for one frog that continued to climb.

At the end he, alone, and with and enormous effort, reached the top of the tower.

One of the quitters approached him to ask him how he had done it, to finish the race.

And discovered that he...



was deaf!

MRT Inspirational Story 2 (Smoke Signals to God)

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed
forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.

"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground ----it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

MRT Ride Inspirational Stories (Story 1)

Nakakatuwang isipin na may evangelism na nangyayari sa loob ng MRT trains. Hindi dahil sa mga street evangelists kung hindi sa pamamagitan ng kanilang audio announcements. Kung dati, panay announcement lang ng Chowking at mga Electricity/Fitness Tips ang paulit-ulit na gumagambala sa iyo, mayroon nang MAS MAKABULUHANG mensaheng ang masasagap mo habang nakikipagsiksikan sa MRT Trains. Bago ka makarating sa isang istasyon, siguradong makakarinig ka ng isang inspirational story. I will post these stories.

THE EAGLE AND THE STORM

Did you know that an eagle knows when a
storm is approaching long before it breaks?

The eagle will fly to some high spot
and wait for the winds to come.

When the storm hits,it sets its wings
so that the wind will pick it up
and lift it above the storm.
While the storm rages below,
the eagle is soaring above it.

The eagle does not escape the storm.
It simply uses the storm to lift it higher.
It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us -
and all of us will experience them -
we can rise above them
by setting our minds
and our belief toward God.

The storms do not have to overcome us.
We can allow God's power
to lift us above them.

God enables us to ride
the winds of the storm
that bring sickness, tragedy, failure
and disappointment in our lives.
We can soar above the storm.

Remember, it is not the burdens
of life that weigh us down,
it is how we handle them.

The Bible says,

"Those who hope in the
Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles."
Isaiah 40:31

ATENEO Tops UP in 2008 Rankings!!!

The Times Higher Education Quacquarelli Symonds

World University Rankings 2008

Philippine Universities (2008 Rankings)

1. Ateneo de Manila University 254

2. University of the Philippines 276

3. De La Salle University 415

4. University of Santo Tomas 470


The Methodology: A simple overview

The THE - QS World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world's leading univerities. The research yields results on 600 "in the round" and 300 in each of five broad faculty areas. The overall rankings are compiled based in six distinct indicators:

Academic Peer Review (40%)

The Academic Peer Review is the centrepiece of the THE - QS World University Rankings and is based on an online survey distributed to academics worldwide. Results are compiled based on three years worth of responses totalling 6,354 in 2008. Respondents are not permitted to submit their ow institution or to respond more than once (their latest respose is counted). Weightings are applied both geographically and by discipline to ensure as fair a representative spread as possible.

Employer Review (10%)

Similar to the Academic Peer Review, this indicator is based on a global online survey, this time distributed to employers. Results are again based on three years worth of "latest respose" data. Geographical weightings are again applied to ensure fair representation from key regions of the world.

Faculty Student Ratio (20%)

Faculty Student Ratio is used in many ranking systems and evaluations in the world, and whilst it may not be a perfect measure of teaching quality, it is the most globally available and accessible measure of commitment to teaching. An indication that the institution in question has sufficient staff to teach its students.

Citations per Faculty (20%)

Citations are a widely used, conventional mesure of research strength. A citation is a reference to one academic publication in the text of another. The more citations a publication receives the better it is perceived to be, the more highly cited papers a university publishes, the stronger it can be considered to be. As a measure this is somewhat geared towards scientific and technical subjects, which is why it doesn't carry more weight. The source used in this evaluation is Scopus, the world's largest abstract and citation database of research literature. The latest five complete years of data are used. The total citation count is factored against the number of faculty in order to take into account the size of the institution.

International Factors (10%)

International Faculty (5%)

International Students (5%)

In today's increasingly globalized world, the most successful universities have to attract the world's best students and faculty. Simple evaluations of the proportion of international students and international faculty serve as indicators of an institution's international attractiveness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On Being a University Professor and a Pastor

I consider teaching not as a career but as a vocation/mission. Matagal ko nang tinanggap ang katotohanang I will always be a teacher, either in academic or church setting. Teaching is my passion and my life.

Minsan pumasok sa isipan kong iwan ang pagtuturo sa university at mag-full-time sa pagpapastor. Pero pinigil ako ng Panginoon. Isang lang ang isinagot Niya sa akin: "Tinawag kita upang maging propesor dahil iyan ang paraan para maging epektibo kang pastor." God proved this message sa halos 5 taon kong pagtuturo sa mga high school at college students. Hindi ko maaring paghiwalayin ang pagiging lingkod ng Panginoon at pagiging propesyunal na guro.

Kung wala kang tiyagang humubog ng isipan at asal ng mga estudyante, hindi ka magtatagal sa academic community. Kung hindi mo kayang intindihin ang kahinaan ng mga kabataan at tulungan sila sa kanilang mga personal issues, hindi ka maaring maging epektibong youth pastor.

I would like to quote what George Bernard Shaw expressed. "To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching Man to regard himself as an experiment in the realization of God, to regard his hands as God's hand, his brain as God's brain, his purpose as God's purpose. He must regard God as a helpless Longing, which longed him into existence by its desperate need for an executive organ.” Teaching is one of the greatest means to reveal to students the love of God. Hence, I will always be a teacher.

Hindi tayo ilalagay ng Panginoon sa isang lugar nang walang dahilan. God is a God of purpose and perfect plans. Just be teachable and learn to accept His dealings.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

WEAK PEOPLE ARE THE BEST MINISTERS

Minsan naisip ninyo na ba kung bakit kung sino pa ang maraming negative issues sa buhay, ang mahina, ang walang talento, ang walang talino, ang hindi sikat ay sila pa ang matinding gamitin ng Diyos sa ministeryo?

Tingnan na lamang natin ang buhay ni Todd Bentley na siyang naging sentro ng Lakeland Revival sa Florida, USA. Nagkaproblema siya sa kaniyang relasyon sa kaniyang asawa ngunit ginamit ng Panginoon sa pagsisimula ng isa sa pinakamalaking Christian revival sa kasaysayan ng daigdig.

Isa ring halimbawa si Nick Vujicic ng Australia. Wala siyang limbs—paa at mga braso subalit umiikot sa buong daigdig upang ibahagi ang pagmamahal ng Diyos sa lahat na nawawalan ng pag-asa sa buhay.

Inspirasyon din sa marami ang naging karanasan ni Sarah Balabagan, ang dating teenage OFW na muntik nang mamatay sa UAE dahil sa pagpatay sa kaniyang amo na nanggahasa sa kaniya. Sino ang mag-aakalang Christian recording artist na siya ngayon?

God will never use persons who are not willing to be used. You must first declare the words “God use me!” and mean it. Thereafter, always make yourself available. People with so many excuses can never follow God (Luke 14:33).

God can never use people who cannot acknowledge their weaknesses. God resists the proud and gives grace to humble (1 Peter 5:5). True ministers do not attempt to share with God’s glory. We are called to be servants. Ang unang layunin ng isang lingkod ay paglingkuran ang kaniyang Panginoon. Hindi siya dapat maghangad na maging kapantay ng kaniyang amo. Pride can never be compatible with God’s service.

Hindi ang mayayaman, ang matatalino at matataas ang estado sa buhay ang laging sinamahan ng Panginoon nang siya ay magministeryo sa daigdig. Hindi matatalino ang mga apostol. Mangingisda ang marami sa kanila at walang kayamanan sa buhay.

Ngunit, bakit sila ang pinili ng Panginoon?

Ito ay dahil sila ang magpapaningning sa pangalan ng Diyos. Ang kanilang mga kahinaan ang magpapakilala sa ibang tao na ang Diyos ay kayang bumago ng buhay. Man’s weakness is God’s instrument to show His power and glory. Sa kanilang tagumpay, hindi nila maaring sambitin na sila ang may gawa ng lahat ng tagumpay. Ang lahat ng kanilang matatamong katanyagan, kayamanan at karangalan ay hindi nila kayang angkinin dahil LAHAT ng iyon ay mula sa Diyos na bumago ng kanilang buhay.

I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10-GNB)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Five Moral Fences (against Adultery) by James MacDonald

James MacDonald is founding pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel

Fact: Some kids like to play "near the edge," and some kids don't. I always did! Whether the "edge" was rock jumping into a cool mountain lake or "bumper jumping" moving cars to slide along an icy winter street, the potential of peril invigorated me.

But "when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Cor. 13:11). I was a pastor and in seminary when the moral failures of the late '80's hit the news. In addition to the big names, I heard a shocking number of similar tragedies from my own circle of pastor/friends.

One Sunday night in 1987 I remember crying all the way to church. I was terrified. I asked over and over, "How does this happen? Could this happen to me? How can I protect myself, my family, and my ministry from the devastation a moral failure would cause? How can I keep myself pure when men better than me are falling like flies?"

As I prayed it through, I figured that those who fell morally must have disregarded the warning signs. They didn't go from Spirit-led to stepping off the cliff in one day. They must have crashed some social barriers before their slippage became sexual.

Where is that line? I wondered, And how can I make sure I never cross it? I knew I had to make my decisions early and my standards public so that others would know when I was "playing near the edge." I was determined that, by God's grace, I would not take the plunge. So I set some boundaries of behavior.

I remembered an incident back in Bible college when the college president would not give my (young, beautiful) fiancee a ride to our church almost two hours away when he came to speak. At first that seemed odd; now I was beginning to understand why.

Sexual temptation is
where we are held least
accountable and where
we can fall fastest.

I began to form my list of moral fences:

1. I will not, under any circumstances, ride alone in a car with a female other than my wife or an immediate family member. No lifts home for a church secretary, no baby sitters driven home late at night, no rides for teen girls in my student ministry, more recently no personal pickups for my daughter's girlfriends, no exceptions.

Recently while speaking out of town, I had to explain to my pastor friend why it would not work out for his wife to meet me and drive me over there. It has been awkward at times, but it's a beneficial discipline.

2. I do not counsel a woman in a closed room or more than once. No matter what the issue, counseling is an intimate activity, and when the subject matter itself becomes intimate, counseling the opposite sex is like playing with fire.

When our church was smaller, keeping this standard meant that some women had to seek counsel elsewhere and two or three left our church over my "fence." I was hurt at first, but it blessed my wife.

My time was better spent training a team of men and women to do the lighter counseling and then referring those with more complex issues to biblical counseling centers outside our church.

When I cannot avoid a second session with a woman in our church, I have my wife or another pastor join us. Pretty hard to commit adultery with someone you never spend time alone with.

3. I do not stay alone in a hotel overnight. I did my doctoral thesis on increasing the incidents of self-disclosure of sin among men. I have heard more confessions of addiction to various forms of sexual sin than any one pastor should have to hear, and it has changed me. It has left me deeply persuaded that "there but for the grace of God (and some moral fences), go I." I know myself too well.

Lengthy, unaccountable hours with manifold temptations available is a recipe for failure. Romans 13:14 instructs us to "make no provision for the flesh." Do I sound weak? I am! And when I forget that weakness, I cease to know God's strength (1 Cor. 12:10).

When I travel, I travel with someone. When that is impossible, I stay with a friend. When that is impossible I do not go. Period.

Early in my ministry, that meant there were things I missed out on. Recently our elders have agreed to help fund a travel partner for me. If an outside ministry opportunity is deemed worthwhile, and the ministry cannot afford a second airfare, our church pays for me to take another pastor or elder, or best of all, my wife!

4. I speak often and publicly of my affection for my wife, when she's present and when she's not. Marriages that are failing often become silent in public before they become loudly negative. If a pastor neglects publicly affirming his wife, it may reveal a private deterioration of that relationship.

I have tried to develop close friends who consistently monitor the way I refer to and interact with my wife. I know some men in our church feel the heat because I am so publicly wild about my wife of 16 years, but maybe that's good for them.

5. Compliment the character or the conduct, not the coiffure or the clothing. I'm still working on this one. As our church has grown, and I don't know everybody personally, the power of a compliment has become a problem. As pastors we love people and want to be an encouragement. Formerly, if I noticed that Shelly had a new dress or Susan had changed her hair I would compliment her on that. I felt it was harmless. If it seemed to meet a need and I meant it sincerely, I thought, No harm done.

But more recently I have seen that this seemingly innocent gesture can have far more impact than I ever intended. Now I'm trying to restrict my compliments to character and conduct. I get to use my gift of encouragement, but I focus on the things God is doing in a person's life and not the externals that are so easily misunderstood.

Make the fences public

The fence is useless if I can take it down any time my sinful heart desires. To make it work, those around me must understand the fences and be willing to tell me if they see one broken down. I periodically weave the fences into a sermon.

My most recent example was a message on "Meeting God in Moral Failure." When the message came to the "how to prevent" part, I simply explained my five moral fences.

At the staff level, we require the fences to be maintained. From pastors to ministry leaders, custodians to bookstore personnel, every paid staff member is held to this standard. A former singles pastor found it very difficult not to have lunch alone with women in his ministry, claiming he "forgot." Eventually we told him we would "forget" to pay him if he "forgot" again.

Isn't this legalism?

This is not legalism. Legalism is when we judge another's spirituality based on man-made rules. We are not judging anyone's heart for the Lord. We are simply reasoning together how we can remain pure and faithful in our commitments to God and family.

Of course, Christian morality involves far more than righteous sexuality. Money and power have often been observed to destroy ministers and ministries. However, decisions about money and power are more public. People see the kind of car I drive, the clothes I wear, the vacations I take, and the home I live in.

People also observe the ways I use my influence over others. If I become powerdriven rather than servant-oriented, if I lord my authority over others and abuse my position, people will "vote with their feet."

With both money and power, there is a broad public accountability that is a "fence" of sorts. Beyond that most of us have elders and/or deacons who monitor the way we use power and money in the church. I account regularly for the way I use my influence and am excluded almost completely from the money matters of ministry.

Yet none of these co-leaders can monitor my sexual purity. It stands alone as a purely private matter capable of instantly destroying my ministry.

Moral fences are most needed in the area of sexual temptation because it is here we are held least accountable and it is here we can fall fastest.

What about solo sexual sin?

The fiercest battle for sexual purity is fought in the mind, what I look at, and what I think about. Moral fences may protect me from the act of adultery, but what protects a minister from the mental/emotional infidelity Jesus warns of (Matt. 5:28)?

My resume in these matters is certainly not spotless, but I have found great help in weekly accountability from my men's small group, which asks specific questions about Internet usage, television/movies viewed, and magazines read.

Knowing that within days my brothers will ask me point blank, "Have you set anything unclean before your eyes this week?" (Ps. 101:3) has been a strong deterrent.

Above reproach

In both Timothy and Titus, Paul instructs leaders in Christ's church to be above reproach. That is, our conduct must be such that it would be difficult, even for those who oppose our ministry, to bring an accusation against us. Many a pastor has had his ministry destroyed over accusations that could not be proven false, though they were.

Our congregation is comforted in knowing that our ministry team is seeking to protect themselves and the church from moral failure. By identifying the behaviors that lead to moral problems and avoiding them, we embrace the wisdom of Proverbs 4:26 to "ponder the path of your feet and let all your ways be established."

Of course, the standards themselves are not in any way righteous. They are only a protection against potentially overwhelming temptation.

Last summer on our family vacation, we drove through some very high, single lane, mountain passes. The road was narrow and the drop-off immense. I drove slowly and hugged the mountain! I kept my eyes on the road and refused to look down, but I'm still glad the guard rails were there.

Bakit Hindi Nagkakanser ang Puso

(Salin ng Why the Heart Never Develops Cancer ni Bill Mohr ni Joel Ariate, isang kaibigan at katrabaho)

Isa sa mga hiwaga ng katawan ay kung bakit hindi nagkakakanser ang puso. Bawat iba pang organo sa katawan--tiyan, balat, utak, baga, atay--maaaring magkakanser, pero ang puso paulit-ulit pinipiga ang sarili nang wala man lang bahid ng pagkakasakit. Para bagang
isa itong pugon at anumang nakakakanser na pumasok dito ay agad na nalulusaw sa init ng pulso nito. Sa isang banda, nasa imahinasyon lamang ang sarap na nalalasap ng puso. Ang
balat, ang tiyan, ang baga--lahat ng organong ito ay kayang sumaya sa senswal na buhay: ang init ng araw, ang masaganang hain ng gulay at karne, de kalidad na sigarilyo, at dahil dito nagiging mahina sila.Tanging ang dugo lamang natin ang kasama ng ating puso. Ang dugo, tulad ng puso, hindi rin tuwirang nakadarama ng sarap at hindi rin nagdadala ginhawa
sa puso, itinatanggi nitong may iba pang halaga ang katawan liban sa isang komportableng lugar ng paggawa. Ang puso, tulad ng mismong bugso ng buhay, ay ganap na impersonal. Walang pakialam ang puso sa nangyayari sa katawan. Nand'yan ito upang buong sipag na magtrabaho sa pinakamatagal na posibleng panahon at bilang kapalit sa pagtanggap ng
katawan sa walang-pakialam nitong katapatan, hindi nito tinatraydor ang katawan
sa pamamagitan ng pagkain dito ng selyula sa selyula.

ANO BA TALAGA ANG "CALLING" KO?

Lagi kong naririnig iyan sa mga kabataang kaga-graduate lang sa kolehiyo at mga young professionals na nababagot sa buhay. Nagtatanong si...