The Calling of Jeremiah

Si Jeremiah ay isang propeta. May isang Bible book na devoted sa kwento ng buhay niya. Just grab a Bible at hanapin sa Table of Contents kung nasaan ang Jeremiah, buklat buklat, then you’ll find it.

Nakakatuwa kasi ang kwento ni Jeremiah. Kabataan pa lang siya nung tinawag siya ni Lord na magsilbi bilang prophet. At talaga namang nakipagdiscussion pa siya nang konti kay Lord.

Kung babasahin mo ang Jeremiah Chapter 1, makikita mo dun kung paano siya tinawag ni Lord. At based sa kwentong ito, marami tayong malalaman tungkol sa relationship ni Lord sa atin.

Ito ang ilan sa mga lessons na mapupulot natin sa buhay ni Jeremiah:

God knows you.

Ito ang sabi ni Lord kay Jeremiah:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Ang sweet di ba?! Parang “I knew I loved you before I met you.” God knows us deeply. At bago pa man tayo ipinanganak, may purpose na si Lord para sa ating buhay. Amazing di ba?

Yes, hindi ka perfect. All the same, God can use you.

At siempre, may objection si Jeremiah sa pagkatawag sa kanya. Ito namang si Lord, di po ako marunong magsalita. Ang bata ko pa kaya…

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,

“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
and plant.”

If God calls you, He also enables you.

Alam naman ni Lord na hindi ka perpekto. Kagaya ni Jeremiah. Pero, kung tinawaga ka Niya, ibig sabihin God will also equip you and enable you para gawin yung mga pinapagawa niya sa iyo. God even touched the lips of Jeremiah para ipakita na seryoso siya.

When God calls you, He gives you a vision.

After na tinawag ni Lord si Jeremiah at nakita ni Jeremiah na wala na siyang lusot. Ayun, God gave him a vision. Kaya nga ang tanong ni Lord kay Jeremiah: “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”

At eto na nga ang challenging part sa pagkatawag kay Jeremiah. It was not easy to proclaim the word from God. Essentially, si Jeremiah ang magiging spokesman ni Lord sa mga kababayan niyang matitigas ang ulo.

When God calls you, you need to obey.

It might be a difficult path. Pero if God calls you, he can do mighty things through you. Sunod ka lang. God has you covered.

What’s Your Calling?

If you’re young, malamang madalas mong tinatanong kung para saan ba ang buhay na ito? Para saan nga ba?

Sa totoo lang, medyo mahirap sagutin yan.  Okay lang naman na hindi mo pa alam at first. Siempre, if you’re young, you want to enjoy life. Minsan, party-party. Minsan serious mode. Pero kung hindi mo ito sasagutin, eventually, maiistress ka!

So ngayon pa lang, maganda siguro, pause for a moment. Pray. Then ask yourself, “Ano ba ang calling ko sa buhay?” What does God want me to do?

First off. Hindi ako naniniwala na isa at ISA lamang ang itinadhana ng Diyos na gawin mo
. At parang kapag hindi mo nahanap yun eh you miss God’s will sa buhay mo. Minsan kasi, ang mga Pastor at ilang mga Christians, kapag sinabi na may “calling” ka, ang gusto talaga nilang sabihin sa iyo eh “Magpastor ka!”

Pero hindi naman ganun kasimple yun. Iba iba ang skills natin. Iba-iba ang mga interests natin. Kaya iba-iba din ang calling natin. Continue reading

Changes: My Fourth Decade in the Planet

This month, I am officially inducted in my 30s. I am turning 31 this month. (Yeah, yeah, age 30 doesn’t count since that’s the last year of my 20s.)

Four decades. Wow.

It’s been a great ride so far. Had my shares of ups and downs. But I can say that God has been faithful. Sobra.

So to celebrate this month, I’m implementing some lifestyle changes. I still want to live for at least three decades more.

Healthy Lifestyle

After reading about the hazards of too much sitting, I decided that I wanted a standing desk. So I finally built one two weeks ago. I spent P1,400 for the materials, borrowed a power drill and installed the desk in one of our walls in the apartment. Here’s a picture of the finished setup.

I got the sculpture as a love gift from Baguio City UMC when I preached there on the first Sunday of October. The sword is a Diego Silang sword from Ilocos Norte, both are reminders of my heritage as an Ilocano.

Speaking of healthy lifestyle, I’m also set to visit the Rehab Doctor for an overdue checkup of my neck, and maybe my spine, too. I’ve been feeling some pain in my shoulders and lower back. I tried to go back to the gym but everytime I try, I feel a very uncomfortable pain in my shoulders and lower back. Continue reading

Being on the Road, Fatherhood, and Setting Priorities

Being on the Road, Fatherhood, and Setting Priorities on the road again. Last week, I was at the YMCA Retreat Center at Estes Park, Colorado, USA for the annual meeting of the Division on Ministries with Young People, the organization I work with.

I had a chance to see the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado and even posed for a picture at the Continental Divide of Northern America. Saw some deer, elk, prairie dogs, and wild hare. Too bad, I didn’t see the bear that shook the trash can on our first night there.

image

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Trabaho, Trabaho, Nasan Ka?

by Sola Apostol

Mapa-fresh grad ka man, kaka-endo lang, o ilang years ka nang idle, iisa lang ang aim natin–makapaghanap ng work. Siguro excited ka. Driven. Pressured, o baka naman mismong magulang mo na ang pumipilit sa’yong magpunta sa mga job fairs o gumawa ng account sa mga online job site.

job hunting

 

Minsan mabilis pa sa alas kuatro. Minsan, parang magte-ten years na. Hanap-hanap lang pag may time.

Nag-OJT ako dati sa isang city government office. Ang aim nila ay mabigyan ng trabaho ang mga kababayan nila sa nasabing lugar. Sila ‘yung contact ng iba’t ibang kumpanya para makakuha ng mga empleyado. Kumbaga, parang manpower sila, government-based nga lang. Naalala ko ang sinabi sa’kin ng isang clerk doon.

“Alam mo ba, ang trabaho na ang lumalapit sa kanila. Pero dahil sa mga pansarili nilang dahilan (kesyo malayo at wala silang pamasahe, hindi nila gusto ang trabaho, atbp), pinapalagpas nila ang opportunity na makapagsimulang makaipon sila ng pera.”

Personally, hindi naman talaga mahirap maghanap ng trabaho. Kung talagang hindi ka tumitigil sa pag-apply, tiyak na makakakuha at makakakuha ka talaga ng trabaho within a month or two. At sa tingin ko naman, marami talagang kabataan ang napaka-dedicated sa paghahanap ng trabaho, lalo na’t bumaba ang jobless rate ng mga Pinoy Youth. Kitang-kita na in demand tayo, tropa.

Siguro, bago ka maghanap ulit ng trabaho, keep this two questions in mind:

1. Para saan ba’tong ginagawa ko?
2. Ano bang makukuha ko kung makakapagtrabaho ako?

Promise, makakatulong ‘yan as motivation sa susunod na mag-apply ka. 🙂

On First Dates, First Kiss, and First Vote?

By Fides Apostol

Mga campaign jingles na nakaka-LSS, mga intelehenteng kandidato sa mga televised political debates, mga constant check-ups ng mga PCOS machines, ang linyang “VOTE WISELY” na nakikita at naririnig kahit saan ka magpunta, pati na rin siguro ang madalas na pagbabalita ng mga surveys ng mga Top 12 Senatorial Candidates–lahat nang ito ay nagsasabing paparating na nga talaga ang eleksyon dito sa bansa natin.

Pero ikaw ba, anong feelings mo ukol rito? Excited ka ba, kinakabahan, nababagot, o sadyang wala ka lang care sa kung anong mangyayari?

Bilang isang Pinoy na nasa sapat na gulang, isang need ang pagboto. Pero aaminin ko, despite the constant reminders sa local channels sa TV, mga campaign posters na nakadikit sa mga dingding sa paligid o nakasabit sa mga kable sa, hindi ko pa rin masabing handa na ako sa magaganap na eleksyon. Siguro, dahil first time kong boboto, at katulad ng mga first dates, first kiss, at iba pang mga firsts, nakakaramdam ka ng excitement at kaba at the same time. At aaminin ko rin, hindi ako tiyak kung magiging maayos at mapayapa ang eleksyon na ito. Siguro dahil na rin sa kinasanayan na mga pangyayari ng Pilipinas noong mga nagdaang eleksyon.

Naisip ko lang:

Sabi nila, nasa boto ng mga tao ang future ng bayan. Pero paano kung hindi naman pala ganun kaganado o ka-aware ang mga tao sa darating na eleksyon?

Paano kung despite the constant reminders na ibinibigay ng local channels sa TV, hindi pa rin sila tiyak sa dapat nilang gawin?

Paano kung karamihan ng mga botante, bored na bored na sa araw-araw na political ads sa TV o sa mga campaign flyers na sinisingit sa mga gate?

Paano kung wala na silang pakialam sa magiging kalalabasan ng eleksyon dahil nawalan na sila ng pag-asang makaahon pa sa kahirapan?

Ngunit alam ko at umaasa pa rin naman ako na balang-araw, mababago rin ang pananaw kong ito dahil mayroon pa ring mga taong may malilinis ang hangarin sa bayan, at nawa, dumating na ang araw na iyon.

My Prayers and Hopes for the United Methodist Church in the Philippines

The Philippines Central Conference, the highest decision-making body of the United Methodist Church in the country, will meet on December 11-17, 2012 at Bayombong United Methodist Church, Nueva Vizcaya.

For most people, especially those who have become cynical with the “political” process in the church, the Central Conference will be a battlefield with several groups vying for important positions and policy decisions. A lot of young people will attend the Central Conference this time, and if they saw this “political” process, they may grow disillusioned, similar to the reaction of many people to the General Conference last April.

For most hopeful Filipino Methodists, however, it will be a time of discernment and prayer for many things–the election of new bishops, setting ministry directions for another four years, and the healing of conflicts and strife. The UMC in the Philippines went through some harrowing conflict and a split, too, in the past two years or so. Thankfully, the ReviveUMC movement held a Grand Revival Gathering on November 30 to pray for healing and unity in the Philippine United Methodist Church. Continue reading

Why Young People Leave the (Mainline) Church

Earlier today, I posted a question on my Facebook wall about young people looking for new ways to express their faith. It kind piqued the interest of some young adult friends. Here’s what I posted:

How many of the young people in the mega-churches / new Christian groups / emerging churches came from mainline denominations?

Just some random reflections: Maybe young people are looking for new ways to experience faith;

or better connection with other young people in the same journey;

or a more relevant approach to / presentation of the gospel;

and they feel limited by the hundreds (or thousands) of years worth of tradition in the mainline denominations.

Maybe it’s the ministry “innovation” part that drives youth to new groups and new expressions of faith.

maybe…

 

And here’s the reaction from several friends: Continue reading

The Power of Disruption

I was in Nashville, TN, USA from September 20-26 for the meeting of our office, Young People’s Ministries. It was an awesome experience and helped me feel more connected with my colleagues and it put some better context to my work in the Philippines.

It was also energizing to be with young people from the United States and all over the world. Although, some of our African friends only joined us via Skype.

Yet, even if I had a great experience over all. When I got back to the Philippines on the evening of Sep 27th, I only had the 28th to rest. I had two speaking engagements on the 29th. It was a crazy Saturday for me.

And then came Sunday and Monday.

I. couldn’t. get. back. to. work.

And I wondered what was going on.

 

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Youth Power in Iran sans Extremist Tendencies

The people of Iran are going through their own version of people power. With the disputed presidential elections in Iran, young people and women support the opposition amid arrests of journalists and other social activists. According to NY Times, this is the most sustained challenge to the Iranian government since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

There were, however, growing signs of divisions within the alliance united behind Mr. Ahmadinejad. Members of Parliament upset with the brutality of the government crackdown summoned the interior, justice and intelligence ministers to a hearing.

“I don’t think anyone really knows what comes next,” said an Iranian political analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution by the government. “Most likely, we are going to enter a period of relative uncertainly, with ebbs and flows, until the Islamic Republic of Iran is altered or finds a new avenue for legitimacy.”

Interestingly, about 70% of Iran’s population are under the age of 30.

I have been reading the commentary about the news at NY Times, reading the take of some Iranian, American and Islamic scholars about the Iranian situation. According to Hamid Dabashi,

If you were to follow youth culture in Iran at the turn of the century — from the rise of a fascinating underground music (particularly rap) to a globally celebrated cinema, an astonishing panorama of contemporary art, video installations, photography, etc. — you would have noted the oscillation of this generation between apathy and anger, frustration and hope, disillusion and euphoria. In their minds and souls, as in their blogs and chat rooms, they were wired to the globalized world, and yet in their growing bodies and narrowing social restrictions trapped inside an Islamic version of Calvinist Geneva. Read the full story at NY Times.

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