November 28, 2006

a defense with as much objectivity and compassion as possible

(this was a comment i left here. interestingly i made a mistake in linking to this blog. though any name search would link here, i'm taking that mistake as divine wisdom, and protection :) )

hi :) i'm a member of Every Nation, or Victory Christian Fellowship here in the Philippines. i was reading several of your blog entries on Every Nation.

i'm just wondering, have you actually read the so-called purple book? i have a copy that i can scan and send to you, though i think it wouldn't be too hard for you to get one within your area.

just a suggestion, in an attempt to be more fair and objective. :) why not present all sides before reaching a conclusion as to which seems correct or best?

if i were a reader with no other information regarding Every Nation except for your blog entries, i would think that there's something kooky or creepy or voodoo-like about the organization, specifically (esp. in this entry) about the purple book.

but being a church member of Every Nation for three years now, i can personally say it's not as you perceive or express it to be :)

regarding the purple book, it systematically tackles issues like salvation, forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit by explaining and quoting the Bible. the quotes are available in all other versions and translations of the Bible. the explanations sometimes "connect-the-dots" between the verses, and other times sound so revolutionary (especially for those who have never read the Bible before). but the explanations are consistent with the views of other Bible-based churches.

that purple book, Biblical Foundations, is actually preceded by another (interestingly also purple) book One2One, for individual discipling. actually the first chapter of both books is just the same as the Four Spiritual Laws of Campus Crusade for Christ, the evangelistic steps by Catholic preachers, and so on.

actually, i don't need the purple book! and mind you, this statement is not 'an illusion of free will' or something they told me to say :) i really don't need any book save the Bible itself. the rest, including the purple discipleship books, popular Christian books like the Purpose-Driven Life and even Chronicles of Narnia, are very helpful guides along the way, for me and for whoever i'm sharing the Bible to :) (again, especially for those who've never read the Bible before and may be intimidated by me running through one verse to another in a thick strange book) but it's not the object or means of cult worship that someone reading your writing might perceive it to be :)

i and my fellow church members have never been ordered to memorize One2One, Biblical Foundations or any other Every Nation material. to be honest, i don't even memorize Bible quotes :)

i'm genuinely concerned about the reports of abuse, breakdown and pressure suffered or inflicted upon EN members. but perhaps this is where we could draw the line between church doctrine and individual views. is it really Every Nation's wrongdoing, or Rice Broocks'? i'm not whitewashing or justifying any crime, but because that case does not happen often, is it not more reasonable to think that those cases are due to individual extremism?

you said Broocks was involved three times or more, but how many years has EN been in existence? and for every day of that 12 years, how many people are prone to being abused, pressured etc. but have not? statistically speaking, that is quite negligible. in contrast, how many people involved with EN are genuinely transformed and sincerely living for Christ?

if we look at individual acts which are obviously misled, mistaken or grossly wrong, it would be quite unfair to subscribe it to the head leader, especially to the leader of thousands (i don't know exactly how many, tens or hundreds). again, statistically speaking, the individual cases would be anomalous and negligible. they don't count. (please see here) it would be a different matter if, of all the EN churches in different nations, only "three or more" lived a God-fearing, sober lifestyle: now that is cause for concern.

please don't think that i want to minimize anybody's grief or suffering. but i'll compare this to me sharing to my Catholic friends: why did i not stay Catholic? if i start listing all the abuses of Catholic priests, they can easily counter with all the abuses of Christian pastors. yes, they exist. but are these faults REPRESENTATIVE of the churches they belong to? do they represent the bulk of a church's doctrines, or do they represent the majority of a church's members? if neither, then what's the point? we have to look at the beliefs, which are not always seen in the life and actions of the believers.

when "The Da Vinci Code" was published and eventually turned into a movie, i was worried. actually, many of my Christian friends said that there's nothing to worry about because it will only shake those who have weak faith. but that's my point exactly. i fear that many people will see it, and see the 'inconsistencies' Dan Brown portrayed (which scholars and experts -- Christian or not -- united in disagreeing with Brown), and use what they see as an excuse to not believe.

i fear that because Da Vinci was released just a few months after i gave my life to Christ. i fear that because i know my own self; that if i hadn't truly, personally, deeply encountered God shortly before Da Vinci, i might be saying, "oh, so Jesus wasn't really God, so i'm not going to be moral and all that stuff Jesus said, because he doesn't have the authority to command me to be good, and he himself wasn't". i fear that for many other people out there, Da Vinci has been presented as the new excuse. (which, by the way, is a work of fiction, as opposed to religion-based sins which sad to say do exist.)

there has been a lot of religious controversy lately, and when has there not been any? religion hints at man's greatest longing: to know and be known, to love and be loved by the One who created Him. :) it speaks to man's innermost being and his very existence. hence the heat. sadly, the very same religion- and faith-based divisions may devolve into representatives of who God is not. it's easy to see all the infighting, the misunderstanding, the abuse, and yes, the killings, and conclude that there is no God.

what about you, sir? you may not even realize it yet, but perhaps you are hiding behind excuses.

you are obviously more experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to current affairs especially with regards to religion. but i wonder if you have ever dug deeper into your news subjects. just as there is a bigger story behind closed doors than the political personalities we see, perhaps there is a deeper truth beyond the religious leaders we hear about.

maybe there really is a God; maybe he really did take on the form of a man; maybe he really did accept the punishment meant for us and our sins; maybe his kingdom really is expanding even today, until every one gets a chance to accept or deny him.

maybe his followers would stray a little, maybe grossly disobey him, even while still carrying his name.

maybe it's time to focus on the message, and the one who sent it, instead of the all-too-human messengers (whose basic tenet of faith anyway, is, all have sinned and need a Savior).

i sincerely pray that you will truly, deeply, personally be encountered by God this very day, even as you read this.

"And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved..." - Joel 2:32a

"...God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time." - 1 Timothy 2:3-6

God bless you and be with you, Mr. Bartholomew. i will continue praying for you. :)

November 26, 2006

hillsong in manila, 2: after dreaming, DO IT!

"DO IT!"

it sounds so simple but my friends and i really felt renewed, re-energized, and just raring to do what God is telling us in our respective lives :D

meggy says: "
good night Lord! i luuuvvv yah more than life! and i'll DO IT! the dream has been reawakened."

actually, for me, embarrassing though it may be, God is again reminding me to continue my spiritual housecleaning :) as in, what i was supposed to do last nov (or late oct) 2004.

sorry it took so long God...

thank You for again giving me the dignity to say it first (what needs to be done) before You confirm it with Your word.

sorry for using my past spiritual-freedom-so-great-i-thought-i-was-going-to-die-because-my-soul's-chains-were-loosed experience as a lame excuse that i don't need any housecleaning anymore. actually, if i had such an unbelievable milestone in my life when i still coddled some false gods, WHAT MORE when i totally get rid of everything that's hindering my walk with God?

it's so ironic that my favorite prophet is Elijah...and that i really love what he said:

"How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him." --- 1 Kings 18:21

it's SO ironic because all this time i've been switching between God and self :( all the while completely embracing that above verse. (time to boink my head once again, figuratively only!....)

i was privileged to listen to preacher T. D. Jakes this early morning. He said the devil is not going to tempt us with what we're not supposed to have --- he is going to tempt us with what we're going to get anyway, but distorting the process (and the timing?)...satan is going to say, "this is your last chance," or "this is the only way," when in fact we simply have to believe that God is going to bless us, His children, with what we want and so much more.

i'm going to continue my spiritual housecleaning now after this blog entry :) i know it's the right thing to do; to throw away my false dead goddesses so i can fully embrace God. the. living. true. God.

but thanks to Pastor Jakes' preaching, not only is this the right thing to do, it's also something i WANT to do.

because i know that there is a proper process and order and timing to everything.

because i know one dream of mine is not going to happen today or tomorrow. but i claim that it will, and i believe that it will. just not now :)

because the enemy is tempting me with the same dream that i will be grasping anyway. but i choose to live according to God's will, His purposes for others as well as for me.

my heart is not deceived. my dream will come to pass. :)

but since it's not now, i'm not going to waste my time and effort dwelling and worrying on something that will happen anyway.

and i'm going to declutter so i can focus more clearly on GOD.

He has other purposes for me right now.

It is His will that i act now.

i also have dreams being enacted into reality now.

and i'm going to finish the rest of my spiritual housecleaning, NOW.


i will follow You all day

All Day
by Hillsong

I don't care what they say about me

It's alright, alright

I don't care they think about me

It's alright, they'll get it one day

I love You, I'll follow You
You are my, my life
I will read my Bible and pray
I will follow You all day

I don't care what it costs anymore
Cos' You gave it all and I'm following You

I don't care what it takes anymore

No matter what happens I'm going Your way

I love You, I'll follow You
You are my, my life

I will read my Bible and pray

I will follow You all day

All day

All day now

All day

I don't care what they say about me
It's alright, alright

I don't care they think about me

It's alright, they'll get it one day

I love You, I'll follow You
You are my, my life

I will read my Bible and pray

I will follow You all day

All day

All day now

All day

Anyone around can see
just how good You've been to me

For all my friends that don't know You

I pray that You would save them too

All day
All day now

All day

dream for HIM

Some of you, God is telling to keep dreaming.

For others, He's telling you to dream for the first time.

For some, He's telling you to dream again.


(some powerful preaching in Hillsong concert in Manila :) )


So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man answered, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel (meaning “he struggles with God” --- teci), because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.

Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

So Jacob called the place Peniel (meaning “face of God” --- teci), saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
--- Genesis 32:24-30

i don’t know if i’ve overcome =) Though i have definitely struggled with men and women, seeking to bring God’s Truth while showing God’s Love (never an easy task, which is why it should be God working through me instead of my ego, my ideas and my personality).

In wrestling with God, we all know who’s more powerful =) Maybe i don’t even need to overcome him. =) It’s just that i still have many issues and questions, problems and failures, and what better way to confront them than to bring them before God Himself =) i don’t need to assert my way over His (assuming that were even possible) (wait; it is possible; He answers our prayers and grants our requests but still, that’s all part of “His way”). i just need to talk to Him and be reassured why things have to be as they are.

Maybe i'll lose, but that’s ok; He is, after all, Lord Almighty and i'm honored He even gave me the dignity of confronting Him face to face. Maybe i'll win; then i'll realize sometimes “struggling with God” means He was on my side the entire time.


When the LORD began to speak to Hosea, the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.
--- Hosea 1:2

For a long time i was against this particular couple because i felt the sheer unfairness of it all --- and also because i had an agenda of my own (tsk, tsk, really wrong of me). Anyway, i kept on bombarding God with “Why?!?!” until He (gently as always) simply said, “Hosea”.

Hosea and Gomer’s marriage literally, physically reflected God’s (terribly one-sided) love for Israel. Basically, God loved Israel to overflowing, keeping His part of their promise to one another (Exodus 24:3-8) despite Israel’s constant unfaithfulness in worshipping other gods. God is love (1 John 4:16) --- and true enough, it has gone beyond rationality, beyond common sense. “Why would i love someone who doesn’t love me back?” my selfishness would assert. But realizing that i'm the unfaithful one, the one being loved despite all reasons to the contrary; and that it’s God Almighty, Creator and Ruler of All, that’s seeking to bring me back to Himself…wow. That revelation, directly connected to my personal circumstances at the time, immediately stopped all my questions in mid-sentence.


i find David very…interesting. Paradoxical. Here he was, “a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)”, yet he was an adulterer and a murderer. Unfaithful. Killer. Tsk, tsk, goes my self-righteousness clicking its tongue. What he did was so wrong, i constantly repeated to myself.

There was a Benjamite, a man of standing…he had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites --- a head taller than any of the others…Samuel said to the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
--- 1 Samuel 9:1, 2, 10:24

One of our pastors mentioned that the Israelites immediately welcomed Saul as king because he was so tall and handsome. Ouch, ouch, ouch! i suddenly realized how shallow i was. (Well, i've been shallow my whole life, but God still has to spell it out for me to finally get it. =) )

For those not familiar with the story in 1 Samuel, Saul was the first king of Israel. The people wanted to have a king like the other nations around them. (Talk about not getting it! Their king was GOD already! It was the other nations that should be envying them!!) Saul’s physical attractiveness was a big plus. And yet he was eventually disgraced because he did things His own way --- even with the best of intentions --- instead of obeying God’s clear instructions. 1 Samuel 15 narrates the tragic turning point of how Saul was rejected as king.

Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance is like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He has rejected you as king.
--- 1 Samuel 15:22-23

(By the way, i’m still being convicted by all these words, so much that in the midst of writing i destroyed the CD’s of pirated Christian songs i copied just days ago, and i finally resolved to destroy the (original) comics i recently bought as well as my old (pirated) DVD’s of practically all the X-Men comics ever printed. (The ancient Hebrew word corresponding to “destroy” actually refers to offering to the Lord irrevocably --- no turning back! --- which often meant physically destroying.) No more giving/lending to friends --- they might stumble in sin just as i have, and/or i can always get/borrow back from them and stumble all over again; no more considering selling for the sake of charity --- there would be a considerable amount of time that the comics are still with me, and again i might make someone stumble, not to mention i can also be tempted to not give the income to charity; no more justifying that i'm already ok --- yes, i'm forgiven, yes, i'm saved, but i'm still prone to temptation and the comics approach is already a “tried and tested” weak area for me.)

Enough of good intentions and mere shallow pretensions in going through the motions of obeying God. Am i really, from my heart of hearts going outward to words and deeds, seeking and following Him?

Here’s where David comes in. Actually, he didn’t “come in” at first; his own father overlooked him in having David’s brothers appear before Samuel-anointer-of-kings (1 Samuel 16:5-13). But God reminded Samuel then as He reminds me now: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b) (Ok, Lord! Help me look at the heart too! --- teci)

David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). He sought the Lord in matters big (what to do with the ark of God, 2 Samuel 7) and small (which town to go to, in 2 Samuel 2:1). Even when he sinned gravely, affecting many including the generations after him, his first act of repentance and regret was towards God. Did he even apologize to anyone else? “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.” (Psalm 51:4a)

God looks at the heart. He is not after a superficial obedience of His rules, but a sincere commitment to follow His ways.


i have come to realize how much i was like the nation of Israel --- superficial, unfaithful, selfishly pestering God until He gives out His blessing. Add to all these their shortsightedness in their exodus from Egypt, where they whined about trivial things right after witnessing the plagues and crossing a sea.

It’s a realization that’s humbling and humiliating. Fortunately, He can handle all of it --- all of us --- and He loves us despite ourselves. Wow. Moreover, He enables us to be perfect as He is perfect. How hope-filled is that!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is but part of the ongoing saga that is the love story between me and my God.


hillsong in manila, 1: act NOW!

Justice delayed is justice denied. --- William Gladstone, British politician

Obedience delayed is….disobedience! --- teci (obeying after 25 months)

JUST DO IT! --- youth pastor in Hillsong Manila concert


November 19, 2006

teci's thesis episode 16: i just realized something.

May 6, 2006 – 11:43 pm

Listening to switchfoot’s “this is your life” while doing my thesis.

God :)

When I was younger, THIS was what I wanted to do.

THIS was who I wanted to be.

THIS is who I need to be.

So thanks po :) even though I’m attacked from all sides, condemned, and I let myself be put down…

Thanks for reminding me :)

this is your life

This Is Your Life
by Switchfoot

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead

Yesterday is a promise that you’ve broken

Don’t close your eyes, don’t close your eyes

This is your life and today is all you’ve got now

Yeah, and today is all you’ll ever have

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes

This is your life, are you who you want to be

This is your life, are you who you want to be
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

Yesterday is a kid in the corner

Yesterday is dead and over

This is your life, are you who you want to be

This is your life, are you who you want to be

This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be

When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes

Don’t close your eyes

This is your life are you who you want to be

This is your life are you who you want to be

This is your life, are you who you want to be

This is your life, are you who you want to be

This is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be

When the world was younger and you had everything to lose

And you had everything to lose

November 3, 2006

all or nothing

(again, for the do-it-yourself do-gooders like me...i have to stop destroying myself, i have to stop moving away from the source of life :) )

Whoever abides in Me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5b

there can be only one

How long will you go limping between two different opinions?
If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.
-- 1 Kings 18:21

sounds like me after watching x3 =p

Fallen, fallen is Babylon,
and all the carved images of her gods
He has shattered to the ground.
-- Isaiah 21:9b

(as i remarked to my dear friend who i watched it with, there goes my false goddess. i can't destroy it so He destroyed it for me. thanks God :) )

(now for the other one thousand false gods in my life... :p )

i dream of ateneo

Nothing against the Ateneo de Manila University, but i never took their college entrance exam; ever since i said it was because it was “UP or OSY” (University of the Philippines or out-of-school-youth). UP or nothing. While that may be true, i actually did consider taking their ACET till i learned about the requirements. The requirements were not too much actually, and weren’t that different from UP’s, but they were enough to make me say “never mind”. Which just shows how (un)interested i was.

But lately i'm having this recurrent vision. It’s not a dream because i'm awake, it’s not a daydream because it’s not quite ‘mine’. Here’s the thing: i see myself teaching humanities at the Ateneo.

Huh #1: i am currently a physics teacher.
Huh #2: to think i didn’t even consider studying there, and now i'll teach?!
Huh #3: i'm not even Catholic. (anymore.)

For Huh #1, reading is actually my first love, writing a close second, before physics came along. i've just recently rediscovered my love --- and my talent --- for writing: they came (returned) with the Holy Spirit and with a call to write for Him. =) Much of what i've written in my journals i've yet to find time to publish online…so perhaps my staying in physics won’t be as much of a waste as my shifting to humanities.

For Huh #s 2-3: i am a follower of Biblical Christianity, while the Ateneo was founded by Jesuit priests. Christians in the most general sense of the word, though when labeled as Protestant and Catholic are fundamentally different. But UP is neither Christian nor Catholic; it is purely secular. Or so we deceive ourselves.

For only evolution is being taught, while intelligent design (translation: Creator) which biologists believe is at the least an equally valid theory, is not.

For only Hinduism and Buddhism are taught as the world’s great ancient religions, without mentioning Judaism-Christianity-Islam, the trio that sometimes preceded, often outlasted, and definitely transcended them.

We are taught about the great ancient civilizations, the historical documents that record their exploits, or the circumstances surrounding their fall…but we are never taught about (i) the Jews who were preceded by and persecuted by many of those civilizations yet remain to this day; (ii) the Bible as a crammed history book with thousands more original manuscripts and works; (iii) and why Christianity is preached, at the cost of life and limb, to the nations to this day.

We are taught freedom of expression, as evidenced by protesters campaigning in classrooms and philosophy teachers saying they’re atheist on the first day of class --- but Christian organizations and Christian teachers are prohibited from doing so, lest people get offended. Cuss and curse, but not Christ?

UP says it advocates freedom of choice, but where is the option of God? How are students free if there is nothing to choose from?

Fairness and objectivity. A secular environment attempts to reach these by removing God from the equation completely. But if you’re going to be “fair” and “objective” about it, either you remove all options (and end up with the nothingness of comatose patients), or include all options: God, atheism, patriotism, anarchy, capitalism, communism. No bias for God when i speak? No bias against God when you restrain me either.

UP is supposed to pursue truth, and actively fight for it. If so, then let us be true to what we say.

i dream of ateneo.

Although anywhere God takes me is a challenge --- and i love challenges --- and in anything He calls me to do He empowers me to fulfill.

So God, let’s do this. Bring it on. =)