Some things you might not know about Tashi

HAPPY HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY TO MY Tashi van Ommen  I LOVE YOU!! Time flies so fast. I vividly remember when I gave birth to you. God made me learn so many things because of you. Nagbago talaga buhay ko when you came  You are God’s precious gift to me. I love you!!

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Here are some trivia about Tashi you might not know..Some conversations I had with him:

1.  Tashi: “Mommy, I don’t want to eat animals.. Why do we eat animals. They are so cute..” then he cried when I brought out the adobo. Ever since he realized that pork and beef came from animals, he stopped eating them.. This is how Tashi values life.. haaay.. hehe but he still eat tuna..and bonchon chicken fillet..hehe

2. Tashi: “Mommy, how come some kids doesn’t know Jesus” .
Mommy: “That’s why we have to tell them about Jesus.. Someone who shares Jesus to others is called a missionary.
Tashi: ok …I want to be a missionary

3. Tashi orders Tuna Croissant every time we go to Dunkin Donuts.

4. Tashi’s favorite food is Philadelphia cheese Maki with Salmon at KimonoKen, and the Salmon katsu from Yabu

5. Tashi: “Mommy, what will happen to me when I grow up?”
Mommy: ” You’ll be working at whatever God has called you to do, You’ll get married and have kids. You’ll leave Daddy and I to build a family of your own, You’ll have a nice house.. Just don’t forget to visit me and Daddy ok? ”
Tashi: “Mommy, I don’t want to leave you… I want to take care of you..

6: Tashi’s prayer: I want a super book DVD.

Here’s a song that Tashi wrote and sang during his “moving up day” last April..Arranged and recorded by our friend Jun Gomez.    https://soundcloud.com/user7518516/tashi

 


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Writing Victorious Songs of Worship

Last week ( June 17-19) we were so privileged to participate in the fulfillment of a dream. The first set of original songs written by Victory worship leaders and songwriters were recorded live over three days at Victory Fort. What an event it was!!! It was jam-packed and every single day was a new crowd. Can’t wait for the album to come out (pegged for August).

Singers: Jam Capistrano, Cathy Go, Teri Ho, Isa Fabregas, Barbie Almalbis, Yan Asuncion, Lee Brown, Joel Barrios

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As one of the volunteer worship leaders in Victory Greenhills, I’d get involved in the process of preparing some of the most heartfelt, God-encountering, spirit-filled songs for our regular weekly church services. Together with our full-time worship director Charles Bautista, volunteer administrators, and my other co-volunteer musicians, we’d pool in the best-of-the best worship songs from all around the world.  I guess it is the same story for guys like Yan (Victory QC), Lee (Victory Malate), Jam (Victory Ortigas), Julius (Victory U-Belt), Archie (Victory Fort) and so many others.  But that’s just the thing, the songs we sing every Sunday that you hear at your local churches are pooled in from somewhere else, and not our own.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and I think we’re still going to be doing that. But for a long time now we have also desired that one day we would be able to have our own set of original home-grown worship songs. Yes, we’ve tried home-grown a couple of times before. But this time the desire has been all the more greater and I truly believe the timing is all the more relevant now than ever before to carry these home-grown songs and the message from one end of our very large family to the other end and make them go so much further beyond. Victory is one church in many locations and we are on a mission.

As someone who has had the privilege to take a sneak-peak and get up-close to witness how this particular project all got started (and I still don’t quite know the whole story), here are some things that I learned that one should consider in writing songs of worship:

  1. Christ- Centered

A great teacher/theologian who I was privileged to have learned from, Paul Barker, taught us that worship songs should be rich in content. And the content should always communicate the gospel. Worship songs should be centered on what Jesus has done and not on how we feel. How we feel would just be communicated as a response of what Jesus did, but it should not be the core of the song.

One of my favorite songs in the upcoming ‘Victory Live‘ album is the song “Your Grace Changes Everything” co-written by my very talented friend Jose Villanueva (the artist also known as Quest), Neli Atiga (our pastor in Singapore en route to Australia) and Fina Wowor from Indonesia. The song speaks about God’s grace that transforms and heals us. The chorus goes like this:

 There’s no sin too great

There’s no pain too deep

The cross declares it is done

There’s no shame too real

That His love won’t heal

Forever the victory’s won

Your grace changes everything

I so wish I could give you guys the Youtube link right now so you know how it sounds. Tell me if you see something in your Facebook timelines that I can post already? : )

  1. Carries the CALL of the Church

As a congregation, our leaders would always remind us that we are all about honoring God and making disciples. This has never been so overemphasized and over-communicated and that’s a good thing. We have to go back to the “why” we are doing what we’re doing. The vision and the mission should be clear and should be communicated. The songs of worship that will come out of the borders of Victory should carry that call of honoring God in every aspect of our lives, and the call of making disciples in every nation. It’s about going back to the heart of God, which is to reach and save the lost.

The opening song we sang last week during the live recording session is entitled “Faithful” co-written by Victor “Yan” Asuncion, A.Arcilla, M. Magsaysay, and M. Luna. This must have been written a few years ago because it is in Yan’s WILDFIRE album and the folks in Victory QC have been singing it for some time. But I’m so glad that it is catching on to the rest of the Victory family. I’m so glad it still sounds like a “new” song. That’s the funny thing about songs (and timing). The song “Faithful” talks about going out and stepping out in faith to follow God’s call.. because really, He is Faithful. So yes, “we will go” honoring God and making disciples everywhere.

Here’s the chorus and the bridge:

Oh, oh we’re giving You our praises

Oh, oh we’re living for Your name

Oh, oh we’re stepping out of faith, we pray

For your will to be done

We know that You have come before us

We have Your promise to proclaim

We are stepping out in faith

we pray for Your will to be done

We will go, we will follow you

As we hold on to, we hold on to you

I found the Youtube link to the original WILDFIRE music video. Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLnZJ64MoeA   and here’s a link to an unofficial video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KeYc1Pt2ds  – I’m a big believer in “unofficial” videos too : ) No copyright infringement intended ofcourse.

  1. Communal

The goal of a congregational worship song is for the church to be able to focus on God, worshipping Him in spirit and truth. The songs then shouldn’t alienate, but should give that atmosphere that invites the congregation to continue to soak in God’s presence. The songs should be sung by the people as one.

For some who attended the live recording, it may seem like Victory Music just started this year, and the only people involved are those seen on stage. But that’s far from truth. It takes a commUNITY to start something like this. Victory is so blessed to have a grammy awarded producer – Otto Price as the sound producer for this album , and so blessed with pastor Julius Fabregas  (dad of the beautiful Isa Fabregas who you saw on center-stage) as the Executive Producer of this project along with Carlos Antonio and so many others working behind the scenes.

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With Otto Price a few months ago (fan girl photo with Otto heheh)

There were so many things that went on behind the scenes before the June 17-19 live recording. Somebody else needs to blog more in detail I think.

I can only imagine that the whole process over the last couple of months has been anything but easy. Songwriters from various local Victory churches and Victory hubs would meet to write songs and submit them to the core team. I had the joy of collaborating with next-genration artists like Sarah Bulahan (behind the song “Jesus My Saviour”), Elle Cabiling and Emman Camcam in this process.

The core team would then meet regularly, exchange notes to screen the song submissions – what a difficult time they must have had to say “no” to a lot of people heheh : ) Each selected song would then get arranged and demos would be recorded. Really, the events of the last of couple of months can be traced even further back.

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Kasama ko sila Lee (Victory Malate), Charles (Victory Greenhills) and Yan (Victory QC)

Back in 2012, pastor Paul Barker and pastor Gilbert Espiridion (our pastor from Victory U-Belt and former keyboardist of Passage Band) would meet us once a week to pray, plan and start writing songs of worship that could match the preaching series every month. Most of the songs written during that period were not included in the live recording, but it started a momentum where muscles are stretched to continue writing songs, and pride being broken into pieces when songs are edited or thrown into the trash bin.

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Pastor Paul Barker

 

I am truly grateful with the leadership of our church to train their people. In 2013, we went through a year-long course called “Staff Development for Worship Leaders”. Even if I was not a staff member, I am just so honored with the invitation to participate. We were taught by Paul Barker about the theology of worship and so much more.

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August 2013. With Pastor Steve and Pastor Ferdie. Best birthday treat ever.

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Then a few months ago in February 2014, we had the “Worship Writers’ Workshop” (called the “W3”) trained by Mia Fieldes, John Katina and Otto Price. So honored to hear from some of the best song writers and producers from around the world. Some of the songs recorded last week in the very first “Victory Music” were birthed in that workshop.

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W3 – Worship Writers’ Workshop

 

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kasama ko sila Kitchie, Moira and others, paki tag nalang :)

It is going to take a real large number of people, united as one, to continue promoting this project. This is for all of us, and for the rest of the body of Christ who share the same passion of lifting the name of Jesus, honoring God and making disciples.

I encourage every worship leader, singer, musician to rally around this project. Whether you are young or old or young and free, you will get to hear more and more of these songs in the coming weeks in your local churches.

 4.  Catchy

Finally before I get side-tracked, my last point is that the song has to be “catchy”. To be effective in communicating the message, the song should be relevant in this generation. It is such an honor to that I belong to a multi-generational family where the young (and free) get along just fine. It would greatly help the congregation, if the lyrics and melodies are catchy and ‘singable’.

The song by Joel Barrios “Shine Upon The Philippines” is such an anthem that has got thousands singing together in chorus. It was a big hit on cassette-tape back in the days but it is nowhere to be found on Youtube and so I’m thrilled that the next generation is singing it. There’s also a really good track coming up by Barbie Almalbis, Joey Benin and Kelvin Lim (from Malaysia).

But my all-time favorite song in the Victory Live album, is the song called “Radical Love” written by Yan and led by Cathy Go.

Cathy is just in her early 20s but what an amazing and powerful voice she has!!!

The chorus is so catchy that the melody kept on playing in my head over and over again for days. The chorus is so easy to sing and it captures the response of a person who has truly encountered the love of Christ.

Too bad there’s no way to let you guys listen over Youtube here, you’ll just have to wait till August to buy it on iTunes :) But I really really hope the lyric video comes out sooner!

Here are some lines of the verse and the catchy chorus:

 No one else can save my soul

No one else can make me whole

Jesus You have won me

Your radical love surround me

Now I sing

Take my heart Lord, it is Yours

It is yours, oh It is yours

Take my life Lord, it is Yours

It is yours, oh It is yours.

I believe that every one of us has a song in our hearts. It doesn’t matter if you are a songwriter or not. But if that song lifts up the name of Jesus, it would help us walk in victory in every aspect of our lives.

May the love of God burst a song of worship in each of our hearts and let the whole world hear it!

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Where are You Heading?

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. – Proverbs 14:12

ROAD TO DESTRUCTION

Elliot Rodger

 

It’s disheartening to hear news of such – a student went on a shooting rampage that left seven dead near their campus because of loneliness, rejection and sexual frustration. Labeled as a mad man, this young student, Elliot Rodgers ( son of the assistant director of Hunger Games 2012)  took matters in his own hands declaring that the rejection he went through is unjust.

This is not the first time such kind of shooting has happened. In 2007, a student at Virginia Tech killed 32 people in a shooting spree (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/24/us-usa-shooting-california-idUSBREA4N05120140524)

I guess society never learned the lesson; or shall I say, society denies the very root of the problem or maybe ignorant to the answer to this problem.

But then again, one may wonder; should we be surprised when such evil that is utterly heartbreaking can happen, when we let society train and nurture our young ones to live without parameters, telling them we have freedom to do whatever we want, “if it feels good, do it”, “follow your heart”.

This is very well communicated in the media and entertainment, with the songs that we sing, and the movies that we watch– training us to act like animals desecrating our bodies, training us to be numb in sights of violence and killings; we have trained them to kill with the video games they play, and train them to be passionate with the things that cause broken hearts. Oh yes, we have trained them well to kill their very heart to purely love and value life.

In a society where absolute truth of what is good and evil – which is the Word of God, is taken out from the homes, schools and organizations, self destruction is inevitable. When men are entitled to define what is good and evil, they end up playing god and the end result is always death. One may not have to kill somebody or kill himself, but a life lived without parameters results to consequences of brokenness, anger, guilt, shame, fear, pain to oneself and to the people around them, and even results to an eternal consequence of spiritual death.

If we go back to the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent (which is the devil) told them that when they eat of it, they will become like god. And so it was until this very age, where men decides what is good and what is evil for them. This philosophy that says: “What is right for you may not be right for me”, this in turn results to chaos and is set up for destruction, for it is relative and stands on unstable ground.

Now I understand why Jesus said to the women of Jerusalem, “Do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” – Luke 23:28  . May our hearts weep for our children and our children’s children so much that we do something about what’s really happening in front of our faces. We start by knowing who we are in Christ and WHY Jesus Christ has to die for us all.

So what must be done?

We must pray. Pray for the young people and lead them to Christ – because he is the only way, the truth and the life.

Be an example of what it means to truly walk in the truth and life.

 

As a parent, what must I do?

- I’ll train my child to walk in the ways of God, for God’s laws are perfect, and eternal.

” As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. –Psalm 18:30 (NASB)

- I’ll teach and show them by being an example of what is true, what is noble, what is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, so they will know what is counterfeit and with God’s grace turn away from these fake and deceiving matters that the world entice us.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Phil. 4:8″

- I’ll love them and serve them by giving my time, affection and support. These includes disciplining them and helping them how to handle disappointments by not giving them everything they want.

“ because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:12

But the very important thing, is that I should pray that they’ll have a true encounter with God and have that intimate relationship with Him.

If my children’s affection is unto God, then I can be sure that they will walk with wisdom, joy and peace.

 

 

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TEN (A poem by Danny van Ommen)

Here’s a sweet poem by my husband showing a glimpse of our 10 years together as a couple :)
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TEN
Ten years ago, in 2004,
I felt like a king and you my queen
running away on the night of our simple little wedding day
flying out straight to that beach
to see dolphins and chocolate hills
and tasting your love so sweet.That first year
we were living in the sky
without a care
it was just you and me
and that simple job.Gosh those days were fun.2005 swings by.It was a bit puzzling. Adjustment
creaping it, yet we were unfazed.
Little realities, communication.

Trading the sky for the ground,
Trading your stage lights and guitar,
for that laundry machine.

It was all a little a bit strange.

But in 2006

We decided to embark
on an epic, on a glimpse of a mission.

We saw the mountains,
The horses, and the majesty.

Lets go back someday soon, ok?

Back home in 2007

It was rocky at first.

But you saw some stage lights,
and the Silver Linings.

The music was calling.

And in 2008

Those songs got you back
to those stage lights
You were making the crowds
laugh and cry.

One love.

Yet those lights went out in a flickr.

Because oh those artificial lights,
well they were nothing,
compared to the radiance,
the joy, and the beauty,
of our little boy Nikolai Tashi.

Thank you,
for your sacrifice,
and for your strength.

Moving to 2009

Was hard as a first-time mom.
Having to put hold on to your
dreams, you persevered.

Yet it wasn’t fun,
those storms,
and then that big flood.

But looking back,
I realize now, more than ever before,
that by going under water,
well,
We needed that.
We needed to get washed out all the more.

Because then came 2010.

The year of rest.
The year of peace,
We got to begin again.

The temporary comfort of that big house
and all those new friends.

Best of all,
Was God’s surprise for us.

We said,
hello to Yeshi Mattias.

Moving on to 2011

What a strange year it was.
Yet another move,
a smaller home,
and yet another year of striving
in a new job after another new job.

It was hard.

But then,
just like that.
Out of the blue. Out of nowhere it seemed.

We were on airplanes to see windmills,
and castles and towers.

God’s adventure yet again. Pambihirang pagkakataon.

And so in 2012

With renewed faith.

We said hello,
to right start.

and more than that,
we said

Hello to heaven.

It was a tiring year.

But it was fun.

And so by 2013

I thought, (very stupidly)
that it was all
gona about having fun.

Forgetting, all of a sudden,
about that right start we had.
Forgetting about,
our love.
For this, I am so sorry,
to have misplaced my faith,
to have broken your heart.

So here we are now, 2014.

Just wondering.
Waiting.

Still trying to figure it all out.

I still have not bought you
that beautiful house,

Let alone, that fancy new car.

And strangely enough, after 10 years,
I am more broke than ever before.

Penniless today,

Yet so rich in love,
rich with your smile
and rich by your grace.

You made me rich with our two beautiful boys.

Your friendship I treasure
your companionship,
your strength.

And I feel,
more now,
than ever before,
That this adventure.

Is just getting better.

Just about to begin.

Happy 10 years my love.

It is adventure time again.

 Danny and Acel 10

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Our “Ten” Together

May 15, 2004 marked a major change in my life.

10 years have gone by so fast Danny, and every year was a wonderful and colorful adventure.

Danny n Acel 2005

I vividly remember the first time you held my hand. I just knew you’re the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.

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It was a beautiful and glorious moment when our lips touched the first time at the altar, in front of our families and dear friends. You are God’s precious gift to me.

Despite of my past, you look at me as if I’m the most beautiful woman on Earth. Your love for me reflected the grace of God poured out so abundantly in my life.

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 I know both of us are not perfect and within these 10 years, we have gone through our ups and downs..a number of fights and disagreements. We’ve hurt each other along the way by our words and actions, but the grace of God and his love just overflows and it made our marriage stronger. You’ve given me that love that secures me as a woman. How you value me and our children makes our home thriving with joy and acceptance.

 As I look back, there’s this joy and delight in my heart. Here are the top 10 of some of the most unforgettable moments I have with you within these 10 years and some of the things I love about you:

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  1. When I gave birth to Tashi and Yeshi. You were there beside me as I was going through labor till delivery. Thank you for making me feel that I’m not alone and for reminding me that I can do it with God’s grace.

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2. Braving the flood during the “Ondoy” storm, and being rescued by our friends on a boat the second night. This was a scary experience, but in this, we experienced how God moved in our lives- replacing all that was lost.

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3. Climbing the mountains of Nepal in Langtang till 3,400 meters high with you. It was a majestic sight! Being with you as we see some parts of the world is such a wonderful thing.  :)

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4. When you got sick in Barkhu, Nepal.. It scared me to see you so sick while we were in the mountains far from any hospital and clinic. I wouldn’t know what to do if you didn’t get better. Please stay healthy :)

5. During the first few years of our marriage, there was this time when we were so broke, that you would take long walks going home from the office. There was a particular time, that both of us decided to just walk home, then suddenly it rained – we just laughed about the situation.

6. December 31,2010 when we rented a room for those 5 children and their mom who were just on the street. It was quite an adventure to help them, giving the children a bath, buying them clothes and food so they can celebrate New Year’s eve safe. It was so nice that we can do that together.

7. I love that we can just goof around the room dancing like crazy little kids.

8. I love that both of us enjoy eating kababs and other mediterranean dishes.

9. I love how you prioritize your time with me and our children, and how you value building memories with them.

10. I love how you always say “I’m beautiful” even if I feel otherwise. Thank you for always making me feel secure in how I look. :)

I love how I can just cry and laugh with you and be myself.

I love you lovy. May I never forget how beautiful you are. I praise God for giving you to me.

The past 10 years was quite an adventure, and I’m looking forward for many many more years with you wherever and whatever God has called us to do.

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Here’s a song that I wrote for Danny before we got married :)  Click the link :       https://soundcloud.com/acel-bisa-van-ommen/together 

and here is Danny’s poem of our 10 :)

 

 

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Child of the King

Hi everyone,

Good news! The devotional 7 day plan that I shared for YouVersion Bible App is now available :)

Youversion plan

How to start reading the 7day plan at your YouVersion Bible App:

Step 1:  Click Plans on the left side

Step 2: Choose  FILIPINO on the LANGUAGE button

Step 3: Click the category called BAGO :) then you’ll see ACEL VAN OMMEN on the list :)

May this plan remind you who you are in Christ. May this inspire you to live a life that display what it is to be a child of the King of kings.

Feel free to share and post :)

Here are the topics for the 7 day plan

Day 1: Identity

Day2: Transformed

Day3: Sonship

Day4: Grateful

Day5: Valuable

Day6: Royalty

Day7: Holy

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Do The Things We Do Make Us Holy?

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During ‘Holy Week’, most of our kababayans would use this time to remember what Jesus did on the cross. Most would feel compelled to do religious acts like going to distant churches on foot, praying lofty prayers, and some would even go to the extreme of crucifying themselves. Some do this to make amends for their sins, clearing the guilt that is in their hearts. Others do some of these religious acts as “panata”- a promise to God in return for a favor.

But would all of these religious acts make us holy and clean? What does being ‘holy’ mean anyway?

Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules and traditions they have been taught.

I believe that most people who do religious acts and rituals are sincere and that they want to love God. But the amazing thing about our God is that He was the one who made a way to reach us.  He already paid it full. The debt is paid.  He is actually hurting to see us hurting ourselves.  We don’t need to hurt ourselves, or crucify ourselves literally – Jesus already did it for us.

The sad fact is that after this holy week, most of us would go to our old ways unchanged by the truth and power of the cross. What a tragic thing it would be if we just know the story of the cross, yet fail to understand and experience the power of it.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

So what is the message of the cross that makes it powerful?

1. The cross says that all of us have sinned and all of us deserve the punishment of death- eternal separation from God. Without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness of sin. (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 9:22)

2. The cross says that God loves you so much and that he is willing to take the punishment that we deserve by becoming man and laying upon him all our iniquities, so that we can be forgiven.  (Isaiah 53:5)

3. The cross says that your debt has been paid in full. (John 19:30, Revelation 5:4,9)

4. The cross says that you are holy and clean because of the blood that covered your sin. (1 John 1:7)

5. The cross says that you are no longer under a curse. You are now blessed. (Galatians 3:13)

6. The cross says that by his wounds, we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

7. The cross says that you are free from the power of sin, and now have the power to live a life that would honor God. (Romans 7:7, Romans 8:2)

8. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus says that death has been defeated and you can now have eternal life in Him. (Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Revelation 1:18)

9. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is shouting a message that we now have HOPE! And that we can start anew. We have a chance of truly living and not just existing. We can have a RIGHT START. (Romans 5:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

10. The cross says that we don’t have to do ‘holy’ and religious acts to be holy.. But because of the death and the resurrection of Jesus, we Become ‘holy’ – set apart for God’s purpose. And because we are ‘holy’, we naturally would do acts that would honor God.  (1Peter 2:9, 1Peter 1:16)

I know there is more to this list, but this blog would be long if I write all of it.  But the end result of the power of the cross is a changed life. This loving kindness, unconditional and powerful love displayed on the cross leads us to repentance.

My prayer is that after the holy week, we can experience the power of the cross resulting to a life that shouts glory and honor to his name.

Read my other blog entitled “It is done!

empty tomb

 

 

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Climbing your mountains

Acel on horseback

This was me in Nepal in 2006 climbing the Himalayan mountains. First time on a Tibetan horse.

It’s so easy to say that we love God and that we have faith in Him when everything is great. But what if you’re going through a hard time, and you don’t have a single clue what your future will be like.  All you have is God’s word.  Will that be enough to sustain you?

Abraham and Isaac

When Abraham went up the mountain to offer Isaac as sacrifice. The angel stopped him. God tested his faith. Read Genesis 22

I think it’s during the tough times and difficult times in our lives that we can truly assess our hearts if we really have put all our trust in Him. It is when things do not happen the way we planned it, and when we don’t even understand why we have to go through it. It is during hardships and pain that our faith in God is shown. Will we  keep on believing in Him and his promises even if we don’t see it coming to pass? That instead of asking God “why?” we resolved to pray for strength to go through the trying times, continuously loving God, walking in him and obeying him despite of it all.

It is during those times of sadness, that we decide to focus on the joy of His salvation; It is during the times of need that we confess that we are content knowing that God is our portion forever. It is when dreams are shattered in front of us, but we keep on moving and sowing – being faithful to what is in our hands. It is when our own desires seem unreachable while we see other people succeed in reaching their desires, yet we rejoice and celebrate with their success. It is during those times when all our service and hard work were not appreciated, still we continue to serve and give our all wholeheartedly. It is when people we love betray us and forget us, but we choose to pray for them and continue to serve them when they come to us for help. It is when we give all of our hearts and pour out everything we have, and yet it is still not good enough for others, but we continue to believe and declare that all things work together for good to those who love God and called according to his purpose.. It is when we decide to walk and climb that mountain with love while bleeding –this is when we can truly say we have faith.

And in the end, we have that assurance that God will take us to the other side complete and whole, knowing that He is and was with us all throughout our journey. He is the goal.  It is about Him. He is our destination – the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV)

Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain

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It is Done!

I want to share with you the script I wrote to a video for the opening of the “Hello To Heaven” night of worship two years ago. It summarizes who God is, and how much He loves you :) Thanks again to my friend Onin Pilotin for putting this video together. Watch it on Youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coBI1v_1KDQ

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

In the beginning the earth was formless and empty
darkness covered the deep waters and the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters
Then God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light*

This is the God who created the heavens and the Earth
The God who created more than 350 billion galaxies- the star breather.*

 He is the same God who created the detailed and intricate complexities of our DNA. 

A God who planned your existence. A God who knows what you think and what’s in your heart.  

Yet most of the time we forget how great, all-knowing, holy, powerful and glorious He is. With all the troubles that we face, the pain and the hardships we have experienced, and the dissatisfaction of life due to the things we don’t have – we forget the goodness of God and His plan.

He is the word that became flesh and dwelt among us * The God who left the comforts of His throne to become man. 

The flesh who was crucified to pay the penalty of our sins, sacrificed Himself to wash away our sins and to defeat death so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life *

To all who believe in Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God 

In Him, we become a new creation *
Joy, peace, love, wisdom, freedom now becomes available
Strength in times of weakness, victory over hardships, and a selfless heart to a cold world
Power through the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus to destroy the works of the enemy
and to do the works of the Kingdom

As we are ought to pray to our Abba Father, our Papa ..
May His Kingdom come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

(*Reference: Genesis 1:1-3, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, John 1:14, John 3:16, John 1:12, 2 Cor 5:17)

Here in the Philippines, it is common for us to see so many people walking from distant places to different churches during the ‘Holy Week’. Some would even go to the extreme of crucifying themselves, carrying the cross or hurting themselves just to make amends for their sins.   Some would say they do this as “panata” – a promise that they made to God in return for a favor.

Growing up I would consider all of these as noble, until I encountered the gospel — the good news that Jesus came so that He can pay the penalty of our sins.  A son of God who became man to die and said, “it is done”.  The Bible says that His death on the cross was sufficient to pay all of our sins.  He became sin so we can become His righteousness.  After 3 days he rose again – He defeated death for us.  He now offers forgiveness and salvation for those who will turn to Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

cross_sunset_sunrise_215697

God did all of those because of His LOVE.  He wants to walk with us and live in us.  He wants to offer us a life that is free from sin and its power. He wants to give us joy, peace and freedom so that we can also freely give love to the people around us.

Knowing this truth, how do you think God would feel if we reject His sacrifice by being religious?

I believe that most people who do religious acts and rituals are sincere, and that they want to love God. But the amazing thing about our God is that He was the one who made a way to reach us.  He already paid it full. The debt is paid.  He is actually hurting to see us hurting ourselves.  We don’t need to hurt ourselves, or crucify ourselves literally – Jesus already did it for us. All we have to do is love him, by living a life that would honor Him.  All that He requires us to do is to love Him with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength; and to love others.  Loving Him is shown in our obedience to Him. He desire an obedient heart more than our sacrifice.

How we live our lives is affected by our view of who God is. Does God really need us to bargain with him so that he can bless us? Is he a kind of God that delights seeing us hurt ourselves? Isn’t his sacrifice on the cross enough to show how much He loves us?

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Waiting for Love (Part 2)

Here’s the second installment of my talk from LOVESTRUCK CONVERGENCE last February 15, 2014

I had a privilege to share my thoughts about “Waiting for Love” in that conference.  The first point that I discussed previous to this blog was this:   Waiting is an act of LOVE

20140215_14123120140215_134400Now here is the second part:

2. Waiting is an act of FAITH

I believe fear is one of the reasons why it’s hard to wait on God when it comes to having a relationship.  We become fearful when we don’t know what’s ahead of us. We have a hard time believing that there is something better coming for us.

Hebrews 11:1    Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Waiting in faith doesn’t mean you just sit around and do nothing. But it’s about being faithful where you are now, secured in knowing that your future is in God’s hands.

In a musical sheet, you would find a musical rest symbol that shows an interval of silence. If you are a musician, that means you have to stop playing your musical instrument.  Each rest symbol corresponds with a particular note value, and each rest symbol corresponds to a particular duration or length of rest.  This means that the musician have to be counting and reading the notes while waiting for his turn. He has to be watchful in order to know his turn to play the instrument again.

 rest

Waiting means being watchful. Being watchful means getting ready for something.

Are we preparing to enter that new season of our lives?

Know what season you are in now

My husband and I were invited to an engagement party that was held in a very fancy French restaurant.  It was my first time to experience that kind of a sit-down classy 7-course French cuisine dinner.  Every change of plate, makes me excited to see what’s next and how it would taste.  The presentation was amazing.  The serving looks small, yet when you taste it, it’s so rich.  Now imagine if all the food was put in my plate together with the salad, soup and dessert.  The taste would be different, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy every dish. I would also end up in the toilet.

The point is, let’s savor the season we are in because everything is beautiful in God’s time.

If you are still studying, let’s be honest and ask ourselves:  Is it wise to enter into a relationship now? Am I ready for a long time commitment at this time?  Is this relationship robbing both of us the season of growing and maturing through making more friends, and learning from more people? Is this relationship a distraction to my studies?

In every season, God reveals something new to us.  I hope you won’t skip your season, rather embrace it and enjoy it.

When we go ahead of God, we end up delaying what He wants to do in our lives.

To all the young professionals who are entering that season of being in a relationship:  What should be our attitude while waiting?

Are we going to be like the Israelites who were grumbling and complaining on their way to the promise land?

( Exodus 14-17)  (Exodus 32 – they made an idol because Moses was taking so long in coming down from the mountain)

Because of their attitude and lack of faith, the few days of journey from Egypt to the promise land took the Israelites 40 years to travel.

There’s another story in the Bible that displayed a different kind of attitude.  Rebekah who was single and a virgin was just being faithful in doing what she was supposed to do when she was led to meet her husband. (Genesis 24)  She drew water from the well and even served Abraham’s servant by drawing water for his camels as well. She was busy doing her work and serving, not realizing that God has a surprise waiting for her.  By being at the right place at the right time, God has led her to her future husband through Abraham’s servant.

Rebekah was not busy looking for a husband. She displayed a woman who is secure and has a life.  She was faithfully working and serving, not realizing that God will make her into a great nation through Isaac.

The intention of an exclusive relationship is marriage.  Outside that intention, the relationship will lead to fear, mistrust, and lust. We settle for something that is less than what God has for us, when we are just focused on filling our own needs. We are actually setting ourselves to more heart breaks when we enter a relationship without a commitment.

Isaiah 1:19  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

God wants to bless us.  He gave us wisdom and His word to guide us in everything. He gave us some parameters and boundaries not because he is power tripping, but because he loves us.

1 Corinthians 2:9

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–

 

If you believe that God loves you, then you can trust Him to move in that area of your life?

All of us get hungry, but if we try to fill ourselves with what does not satisfy, like relationships, money, fame, significance, then we will only end up frustrated.  Those things cannot truly satisfy us.  It is only in Jesus we can be filled and be satisfied.  When we have Jesus to fill us, then we can give true love to others.  We can only give what we have received.

 Don’t settle for junk foods. Aim for the true bread of life and the fountain of life, which is Jesus.

 

Isaiah 55: 1- 2 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Do you want what God wants for you?

He is inviting you to come to Him. :)

Colossians 2:10      .. and in Christ you have been brought to fullness

 

YOU CAN WAIT BECAUSE YOU ARE ALREADY COMPLETE IN CHRIST

 

Here is the link of a video that captured the songs I shared in my talk during the LOVESTRUCK CONVERGENCE at Cuneta Astrodome last February 15, 2014.

 

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