Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Value of Perseverance - My Journey Towards Completing a Bachelor of Theology Degree

“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” ~Napoleon I
The above quote exemplifies its reality in one of the most important milestone in my life.
April 21, 2013 marked the day that I’ve graduated from Pacific Life Bible College with a Bachelor of Theology degree, through Distance Education, after eight years of part-time study. Additionally, receiving a “High Honors” award, which is an added blessing from the Lord, made the event momentous. I truly thank God for these accomplishments. The presence of my family, friends, loved ones and the JRAM family made it even more meaningful and unforgettable.

Monette, Jappy and Alyssa
Receiving my degree
This journey was not an easy one.  In retrospect, it started when my wife and I discussed the prospect that I needed  I was convinced that since I wasn’t able to complete my Engineering degree in the Philippines, due to our family’s migration to Canada, I needed to pursue this goal. However, after two years of our arrival in Canada, I was given the opportunity to do pastoral work and my educational goal was shelved temporarily. Being involved in pastoral ministry for the past twenty-one (21) years and saw God’s work growing and expanding, I began to see the value of attaining higher education for the benefit of the people God has allowed me to lead. Along the way, I personally realized that having a degree would allow me to represent myself, God, His ministry and His people to diverse groups and levels of people wherever the Lord leads me. In addition, I have also recognized that pastoral ministry experience coupled with formal education is essential to a fruitful and meaningful ministry service.  
to go back to school to acquire a bachelor’s degree.

My Mom with my siblings and their spouses
Juggling various ministry duties with frequent travelling, family responsibilities and other various commitments permitted me to take only two subjects at the most per year. Providentially, I was able to complete eight courses last year and I was able to submit the last course required last December 2012.

Altogether, those eight years produced complementary experiences and long-term growth in my personal and spiritual life. It provided myself a strong bearing and foundation of “doing” ministry and “being” in ministry as God’s servant and as a Pastor. With this, I can honestly say that everything I have learned from Pacific Life Bible College gave me confidence, credibility and consistency to name a few. Looking back, it was perseverance that helped me to complete every course, thus, I thank God for the grace He gave me to pursue my goal in spite of many challenges, completing one course after another.  
My co-pastors and friends

Les Warriner (Director
for B.TH) praying for me. 
The completion of this degree increased my level of credibility as God’s servant because it gave me a solid foundation, indispensable knowledge and greater confidence in preaching and teaching God’s Word. Most importantly, having this degree allowed me to settle in my own heart that the God I serve deserves the best out of me. Being immersed in a formal study allowed me to become consistent “in season and out of season.”

My JRAM Family
After all is said and done, there were many that stood beside me through the “thick and thin” and the “ups and downs” of my life. With this in mind, I acknowledge with much gratitude the Jesus Rock of Ages Ministries’ pastors, leaders, workers and members that cheered me up and supported me in prayer.  Most importantly, I share these achievements with my wife, Monette, and my children, Jappy and Alyssa, who influenced, inspired and supported me in this journey. I also acknowledged the support and involvement of my parents, in-laws, and siblings, together with their spouses and children, and every individual and friends that God has brought and used in my life to inspire me to serve God more excellently and fruitfully.  My heart is filled with abundant thanksgiving for your steadfast support and partnership. Lastly, I thank God for PLBC together with its faculty and staff for providing me the opportunity of fulfilling my educational goal. You are all a part of this achievement and may the Lord bless you greatly.

To God be all the glory!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Monette Navo!

"All the cakes, balloons, cosmetics, clothes or accessories, ask and it will be yours. You can get away with almost anything. It is your birthday! Happy Birthday to the most wonderful woman in the universe that God gave me to be my wife. I love you so much. God bless you on your special day..."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Wonder of God’s Love

Coming out from an important celebration for all Christians everywhere, i.e., the Easter season, it was important to take some time to reflect on its significance to all of us. John 3:16 clearly stated the reason for this season:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
Jesus’ coming was an undeniable evidence of God’s love manifested towards humanity. The greatest love story ever told was fulfilled not just in words but also when Jesus came on earth from heaven.

Jesus’ coming was foretold after Adam and Eve sinned through disobedience of God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil at the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). For it to happen, God waited for the right time to send Jesus as the fulfillment of this promise (Galatians 4:4). It is also because; God could not bear to lose the crown jewel of His creation to the enemy, the devil (Luke 4:5-6) that He fashioned by His own hands (Psalms 139:13-14). And though He could have forsaken man because of its offense against Him and leave them to its consequences, He could not and instead send His one and only begotten Son. Thus, God sent Jesus from Heaven to earth to become like one of us not just to show the way back but to become the “…only Way, the Truth, and the Life towards God.”

This was agape love in action and God's manifestation of love. What does agape love means? It is seeking the welfare and betterment of another regardless of how we feel but most importantly, agape does not have the primary meaning of feelings or affection. To understand it clearly, somebody said, 
“Love ever gives, forgives, outlives; And ever stands with open hands; And while it lives, it gives, For this is love's prerogative
 To give, and give, and give.”
That’s why, when you ask God how much He loves us, He will stretch out His hands and show us the prints of His crucifixion as a proof of His eternal love for us.

Here’s a story to illustrate God’s amazing love for us as observed by a father: Our little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:
       For cutting the grass $5.00
      For cleaning up my room this week $1.00
                  For going to the store for you $.50
                  Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping $.25
                  Taking out the garbage $1.00
                  For getting a good report card $5.00
                  For cleaning up and raking the yard $2.00
                  Total owed: $14.75
Well, I'll tell you, his mother looked at him standing there expectantly,  and boy, could I see the memories flashing through her mind. So she  picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is   what she wrote:
For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me, No Charge.
For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you, No Charge.
For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years, there's No Charge.
When you add it all up, the cost of my love is No Charge.
For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead, No Charge.
For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose, there's No Charge, Son.
And when you add it all up, the full cost of real love is No Charge.
Well, friends, when our son finished reading what his mother had written, there were great big old   tears in his eyes, and he looked straight up at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you." And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL."

The wonder of God’s love was summarized in this: 
"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isaiah 1:8 ESV). 
In this season, let’s seek God and reflect on His love manifested through Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary. Always remember that when He was hanging on the cross, He was thinking about our freedom and redemption from the power of sin, satan and death. Thank God for His wonderful love for us!

Let’s talk again!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Encouragement Booster

No copyright infringement intended

Here’s a story that I came across about “The Two Frogs” to clearly illustrate the power of encouragement towards progression or regression: A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Two important lessons to derived from this story: (1) That the tongue holds the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Remember that a word of encouragement to someone who is already down can boost him or her up and support him or her to make it through the day. (2) That a disparaging word to someone who is down can be the trigger to kill him or her. Therefore, be careful of what you declare and speak at any given moment.

Always aspire to always speak life to those in your path because words spoken can become a powerful ally or a worst enemy. It is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way towards betterment or tragedy. Keep in mind that anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. That is why; special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another to do greater things rather than the opposite.

William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims shared, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”  Unquestionably, a wholesome word of encouragement can transform an unlikely individual to do grander things beyond their capabilities. On the other hand, nobody wants to be discouraged and to find himself or herself alone without anyone to boost them up. That’s why, while it is true that the concept of just “being there” can provide comfort initially however, a specific word of assurance and support goes a long way in instilling strength for the person to move forward confidently.

What are the necessary steps to do to encourage another positively? Here are some specific things to practice and apply another person anytime: “A compliment can be a great motivator, particularly if you put a little thought into the why, when, and how of delivering it. Be sure to comment whenever someone on your staff keeps working in the face of rejection, handles a difficult situation well, catches an error, given another employee a helping hand, sells a particular product for the first time, or gives you a lead that proves fruitful. Most of the time, a compliment should be given in public, either at a meeting or on the company bulletin board. If the situation is delicate, convey your praise through a personal note that the employee can share with his family. As with all rewards, praise should be given immediately after good performance to provide the greatest reinforcement.”~ Bits & Pieces, May 27, 1993, p. 12. With this in mind, we need to become fully responsible to whatever will come out from our mouth as the Scriptures gave a stern warning about it: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36 NIV).

Lastly, never forget that we have God to encourage us when all other else cannot. When Joshua was discouraged, God spoke to him these words: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV). Through God’s words, Joshua was able to do what God wanted Him to do with much success. When we turn to God’s Word for encouragement, we will surely be transformed as a brand new person.

Let’s talk again!