Living an Empowered Life Through and With Jesus Christ

Recognition Sunday at Fairview Park United Methodist Church
May 29, 2016

Living an Empowered Life Through and With Christ

Bago po tayo magsimula, tayo munang lahat ay manalangin.  [prayer]

Ngayong Recognition Sunday, ating kinikilala ang lahat ng mga nagsipagtapos, mga nakapasa ng board and licensure exams at pati ang mga guro ng VCS. Para sa ilan, tanda ito ng panibagong yugto sa kanilang buhay kung saan haharapin nila ang mga pagsubok at oportunidad (opportunities) ng tinatawag na “REAL WORLD” ng mga kabataan. (parang nasa ibang mundo po tayo ano?). Para naman sa mga nakapasa ng board exams, ang tagumpay na ito ay simula pa lang ng pagtanggap sa mga hamon ng kanilang napiling propesyon.

Malimit nating marinig ang mga katagang “Grabe, ang hirap na ng buhay ngayon,” pero para po sa isang bagong graduate, na very idealistic at optimistic, marahil ay hindi pa niya ito nakikita. Isa na siguro sa mga pinakamasayang panahon at pakiramdam ang maka-graduate.  Palakpakan nga po natin lahat ng tumulong sa atin makapag-aral? Mabuhay po kayo, at maraming salamat po sa suportang ibinigay ninyo sa amin.

[Show photo of graduation]

Ito po ang larawan ng aking graduation day, 6 years ago sa UP Film Institute. Kasama siyempre ang aking mga magulang at cute na kapatid. Tulad ng karamihan po sa inyo, halos dalawang dekada rin po ang iginugol ko sa paaralan (16 years to be exact.) Nagtapos po ako ng kursong BA Broadcast Communication. Tandang tanda ko pa ang payo ng aming Dekano na si Roland Tolentino, “Sa unang araw ng sarili ninyong buhay, nawa’y kayong mga nagsipagtapos ang magbago sa lipunan, at hindi kayo ang mabago.”

With God’s amazing grace, 6 years after graduation, I am confident to say na hindi pa naman po ako nababago ng sistema ng lipunan. But it leaves me thinking, ano na nga ba ang nagawa ko upang mabago ang lipunan?

At 27, I realized that life is hard. But love is easy. To love God with all my heart has been the most exciting and fulfilling experience in the past 27 years of my existence. Our lives are God’s gift to man, but what we do with it, is our gift to God. (Harold Lee, 11th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Today, as we celebrate Recognition Sunday, let us all remember what God wants for us his children do – to live an empowered life, through and with Jesus Christ.

Now let’s open our bible to Matthew 19:16-30

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[c] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Thank you Father for the reading of the scripture.

—–

I believe the message for us this morning, is all about re-evaluating our life’s perspective, and re-aligning it with God’s perspective. The story of the Rich Man and God’s Kingdom is knocking to your hearts today. For us working individuals, para sa mga kumakayod 24/7, para saan nga ba ang mga ito? Do we work for money alone? Do we work for the riches of this world, or do we work for the riches in heaven? Are you ready to live an empowered life through and with Jesus Christ?

When we say empowered, ano nga ba ang ibig sabihin nito?

  • Give someone the authority or power to do something
  • Make someone stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights

In Filipino: Mabuhay nang kapangyarihan sa pamamagitan at kasama si Kristo, magbigay ng kapangyarihan, binigyang kapangyarihan, pinalakas.

[Show photo of Nick Vujicic] 

Nick (pronounced VOO-yee-cheech) is born without limbs. He is an Australian evangelist who has inspired thousands of young people, students, business professionals, since he started sharing his testimony when he was 19 years old. In one of his websites, lifewithoutlimbs.org “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!”

First, to live an empowered life, you must – 

1 Believe that God is bigger than you. He is bigger than your dreams, your challenges, your struggles, and your fears.

Kung ang buhay ng isang walang paa’t mga kamay ay ginamit niya at hindi nag-alinlangan na maglingkod, paano pa kaya tayong kumpleto ang lahat ng mga bahagi ng katawan? Do not let your present day limitations, hinder you from proclaiming that God is with us. So dream big kapatid, kahit mukhang imposible sa ating human standards.

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[c] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Noong nag-aaral pa lang po ako, ang pangarap ko lang ay makatapos ng kolehiyo on time. With God’s grace, nakatapos naman po ako after 4 years. Sobrang galing at bait ni Lord sa buhay ko dahil hindi tumagal ang isang buwan after college, ay nakatanggap na po ako ng offer sa GMA 7. It was indeed a dream come true for me, to become a Segment Producer at the age of 21. Ang trabaho po ng SP, para po sa inyong kaalaman ay nagcoconceptualize ng mga ipinapalabas sa TV, nagsusulat ng scripts, at kasama sa mga shoot. Sa loob ng dalawang taon ay dinala ako ni Lord sa iba’t ibang special assignments, mula sa feature stories ng mga pagkain, lugar, hanggang sa mga investigative at documentaries.

Hindi pa natapos ang nag-uumapaw na blessings ni Lord, dahil tatlong taon after graduation, binigyan naman niya ako ng isa pang mas malaking hamon, ang pagkakaroon ng sariling start up company, ang aming munting production house, ang Mac and Pau Videography. Lahat ng ito ay imposible sa pansariling naming kakayanan. This is how God works sa buhay po namin ni Macky.

Sa kabila ng lahat ng pagpupuyat at kapaguran sa pagkukuwento sa pamamagitan ng video, iisa lang po ang sigurado ako, ito ang talentong ibinigay sa akin/amin ni Lord at hindi ako magsasawang gamitin ito, para mas lalo pa siyang makilala.

To live an empowered life, you must –

2 Honor God with your life and let Him shine through your talents. Glorify God with your talents.

[Show photo of Stephen Curry]  The Christian NBA Superstar

In an interview at relevantmagazine.com, Steph Curry shared his views on using one’s God-given talents for God’s glory.

“I’m not a guy who’s going to be trying to bash people over the head with the Bible. I want people to know when they see me play that something is different, that I play for something different, and whether I’m talking about it [or not], I just hope by the way I carry myself and by the way I play the game, they can see there’s something different about that guy. And they find out what it is and then they know. It’s part of who I am.

I’ve always been a believer that the Lord has put whatever talent in you, [and] whatever gift He has put in you, He wants you to get the most out of that. He wants you to succeed; He wants you to pursue and work and be passionate about it.

It’s not about getting any of the glory for yourself; it’s all for His glory. That’s where you have to keep perspective. Work at it and do all you can so you get the most out of yourself, but do it for His will.”

Napakapowerful hindi po ba? He is proclaiming, through his career, that God is the ultimate reason behind his achievements. He is glorifying God for his success. In 2015, he was recognized as the Most Valuable Player in NBA, and in 2016, he just had one of the greatest statistical regular seasons in NBA history.

As Christians, we are destined to go out into the world and tell the nations about the salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, but we must not also forget that as Christian stewards, we can also make Him known through our talents.

Tingnan po natin ang ating mga katabi, at tanungin nga natin, “Kapatid, ginagamit mo ba ang talent mo? Kung hindi, sige ka, baka bawiin sayo ‘yan.” Kapag po sinabing talent, hindi lang ito ung pagkanta at pagsayaw tulad ng napapanood natin sa “Pilipinas Got Talent” o “Talentadong Pinoy.”

Marami pong nilikhang skills si Lord na natatangi sa bawat isa. Pwedeng sa larangan ng sports, pwede ring gift of public speaking, para sa mga professionals, doctors, teachers, researchers, scientists, lawyers, architects, nurses, accountants, cooks and chefs, social workers, public servants, singers at iba pa. If we are truly empowered Christians, we are encouraged to train our minds, na ang araw araw na paggising sa umaga, ang pagpupuyat, pagri-research, pagluluto ng masasarap na pagkain para sa ating pamilya, pagdo-drawing, pagkuha ng mga litrato, pagcoconstruct ng bahay at iba pa, ay ginagawa natin lahat para kay Lord, at hindi para sa pansariling kabutihan lamang. We should dedicate our skills and talents  for the greater Glory of God’s Kingdom.

If our perspective is to give back to God the glory that He deserves, to be excellent in our field or in any given task, is just the by-product of our vision.

To live an empowered life, you must

3 Invest your time, money, and energy  to follow the footsteps of Jesus.

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When God asks us to follow him, he wants us to keep our focus on him alone. In today’s generation, we easily get distracted by the things that temporarily gives us joy, pleasure, sense of fulfillment and purpose. And the need to have as much money as we can is one of these distractions.

Ang #LifeGoals daw po ng mga millenials today – 80% of the survey participants confessed that their major life goal is to get rich, while 50% of those 80% is to become famous.

In a study conducted by the Harvard Study of Adult Development, 75 years pong pinag-aralan ng mga Harvard psychiatrists and researchers ang buhay ng mahigit 700 males, simula sa kanilang pagkabata (youngest is 12 years old, while others are in their teens). These researchers ask, “What keeps people happy and healthy as they go through life?” The researchers surveyed the men about their lives (including the quality of their marriages, job satisfaction, and social activities) every two years and monitored their physical health (including chest X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and echocardiograms) every five years.

Study reveals that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.” Whether family, friends or community, it’s the quality of our close relationships, and not the quantity that actually matters. Our relationship with our family, friends, community, and church help us become empowered Christians. We may feel the temporary empowerment brought by the amount of money we have, our position or title in the society, but these things will fade. So do not let yourself be deeply attached to these things, as God only wanted us to follow Him. Wag nating hayaang alagaan at ibuhos natin lahat sa pagpaparami at pag-aalaga ng ating mga physical properties at earthly possessions. We must learn how to genuinely invest our time, money, and energy  to follow the footsteps of Jesus. Because above all these, the most important relationship that we should have in our lifetime, is our personal relationship with Jesus.

To live an empowered life through Christ you must-

4 Value others above yourself. Be a servant leader.

30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

When we have established our personal relationship with Jesus, our prime task is to show others how He loves us, by sharing that love with others.

As empowered Christians, humbling ourselves in the service of others becomes automatic. To love and accept others – believer or non-believer, our heart becomes bigger for other people.

Today, think about how will you show more acts of kindness, and gentleness to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Classmates sa school, teachers, sa mga commuters, sa mga kasakay natin sa jeep, bus, fx, sa mga waitresses and cashiers sa mall, sa lahat ng nakakasalamuha natin sa loob at labas ng simbahan. Mga kapatid, there’s no telling what a simple act of kindness done in Jesus’ name can do. Sometimes the best witness is kindness.

[Show video clip of Thai Advocacy Video]

To live an empowered life, we must learn how to be more compassionate to others. Dapat may malasakit at mas malalim na pag-unawa sa kapwa. Sino po rito ang naniniwala na change is coming? 

Mga kapatid, if we really want to see change, start looking down. Look into your heart. The Lord wants to see a changed heart.

Closing

It is my prayer that as we discover and continue living an empowered life through and with Christ, we enjoy the journey, and embrace the wonderful surprises God prepared for those who love Him.

 

Why is all that matters

Because we just celebrated our 4th anniversary last month and I couldn’t be more thankful to the Lord for giving me someone like my boyfriend, Macky. 🙂

The following photos are some of my favorite travel snaps we took in the 4 years that we’ve been traveling the Philippines and seeing the world together. I identified some of the reasons why I love being with him, and why I believe this relationship is worth for keeps.

Cheers to more beautiful years with you, Hon! Know that I thank God every day for your life. 

…..and the list goes on.

PS. And he loves me best, when he takes pictures of me when I’m asleep. Hahaha what a sweet boyfriend!
Tulog

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Down the Memory Lane

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Last July 4-5, my family decided to spend a night in Tagaytay to celebrate Mama and Papa’s wedding anniversary. I came across a restaurant called Memory Lane, while I searched for interesting places to dine. I admit I got hooked by the photos of the place (yes, not the food hehe), because the interior is […]

To Save a Life

I just want to share with you a personal reflection on two Filipino films that I’ve seen in the past two months, On the Job (OTJ) by Erik Matti and Metro Manila (MM) by Sean Ellis. First of all, both films are brilliantly produced, from cinematography to acting direction, scoring and script. However, let me warn you that these films are not your typical Filipino feel good romcom movies, but brutally honest films that can cause nightmares immediately after watching (true story).

Here’s a gist: OTJ, is about the risky lives of two prisoners, (Gerald Anderson & Joel Torre) who work for a powerful government official while still inside the jail. With the “help” of policemen involved in this modus, the two convicts can freely kill people, sometimes face-to-face.  Torre, the senior gunman, teaches Anderson (trainee) techniques on how to pull the trigger without being noticed, or simply put, how to work clean. However, their tandem is challenged when authorities are slowly figuring out their motive and plans.

MM, on the other hand, tells the story of a family (Jake Macapagal & Althea Vega’s) who seek their luck in Metro Manila, after realizing that being farmers in the mountains (Banawe) cannot sustain their growing family. Upon their arrival, they are confronted by the harsh realities of living in the city. No food, no shelter, no money.Thus, the main conflict of both films boils down to how does one save his life? Can one survive such cruel times?

Both films depict the lives of Filipinos who are prisoners of poverty. The characters’ actions are desperately made because of that small hope in their hearts that life will still get better.  And that after every sacrifice, every risky decision taken and all the hard work will somehow guarantee a reward, a good life in the future.

But as the plot thickens & as the misery and agony they face in their daily lives continue; with minimal food in their stomach (MM), a threat in their jobs and betrayal of trust by unexpected individuals (applicable to both films), the characters’ personality are tested. Can they still keep that hopeful vision of a good life? How long can they endure the pain that is caused by those dirty little secrets in their miserable lives? The problem with dirty little secrets is that you cannot keep it to yourself long enough. Not long enough. It will drive you crazy, it will crush you into pieces. Keeping secrets will later on affect how you make decisions.

In both films, most of the major characters made one desperate move due to these untold secrets. However, the desperate decisions they committed did actually save somebody’s life. But saving one’s life can also cause someone else’s life.  Sadly, that’s how the way it is.

Just like when Jesus Christ died for all of us on the cross. He saved our lives, but his temporary life was not spared. In the end, someone has to suffer for the betterment of those whom He loves. He gave up everything so that we, God’s children, could live the good life. Isn’t that what he promised?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

These kind of movies will hit you like a spear aimed directly at your heart. Those who are genuine & honest individuals are, sometimes, the ones who lose everything. Unfortunately because they uphold the truth and love in their hearts. Their love for others is greater than their love for themselves that’s why they are willing to sacrifice a lot just to save their lives.

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Farewell, UPIS

This gallery contains 13 photos.

University of the Philippines Integrated School or commonly known as UPIS, might not be the most attractive school in town, but it’s unquestionably one of the best schools. It has produced great national leaders, lawyers, doctors, journalists, businessmen, athletes and many significant people who’s making a difference all around the world. But beyond the legacy […]

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Team M&P at Joy & Ryan’s Wedding

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Aside from a couple’s usual movie date nights and weekend getaways, my boyfriend and I enjoy spending our time in creative work. Because of our shared experiences in GMA Network Inc. (Macky as Video Journalist & Pau as Segment Producer), we somehow speak the same production language. And so, last October 2012, we took a leap […]

My London Love Affair

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s my 1st London-ersary day today! To celebrate the good times, I have decided to gather all the videos that I took and make a virtual scrapbook. (If you’re wondering, yes I have an old-school kind of scrapbook too-with all the tickets, receipts, stickers and even paper bags.) Hmmm..why? I guess it’s for the love of seeing, feeling and keeping.

The songs that I used are some of my all-time favorite in ze playlist. The first song is Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap while the second one is Good Life by One Republic.

Isn’t life good and sweet? 🙂

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Museum Hopping in London

This gallery contains 29 photos.

One of the most memorable memories of my short and sweet vacation in LDN last 2012 is the thrill of visiting some of its historical and significant museums. The best part of it is that most of them are FREE to public, (Yes, no entrance fees! Yaaay!) and are easily accessible. Because of the RICH […]