Testimony

Young Folks

Michael A. Lacanilao  

I am a firm believer in the phenomenon that is rock ‘n’ roll.  Searching for tabs to a favorite song on Ultimate Guitar, going to shows at a local venue, and occasionally dancing around shirtless in my room pretending to be Iggy Pop has become a regular practice in in my 17 years.  This is what scares me.  Is the rock-star mentality inseparable from the musician?  Furthermore, with all show of the American mega-church, prosperity gospel, all the way down to the church events that we organize in our personal locale, we must ask ourselves, has feel-good preaching and entertainment become inseparable with modern evangelism?

I’ve been to quite a few “events”, and they’re all the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  An opening prayer.  An ice-breaker.  Opening worship.  Your friend’s band performs.  A brief message.  A testimony.  Altar-call.  Your other friend’s band performs.  More local bands perform.  Worship again.  Closing prayer.  Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they feed you.  Again, none of this is technically bad.  Music is definitely a universal language, and involving youth groups from different churches is a terrific way to network, meet new people, and unite the church as a whole.  But is that all there is to it?  Is this what we’re limited to?  Feeding and entertaining, hoping by the end of the night our friends will be saved?  How much importance should there be in a church entertaining its laity?  Romans 12:1 says this: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”  Edifying each other, sharing the gospel, and glorifying Christ shouldn’t be limited to our events and shouldn’t revolve around pleasing others.  Let us be fear-less, and radical for Jesus! Not conforming to the norm.  Yes, while it is true that the unconditional love of Christ is what we must give, we must have wisdom in our service: Psalm 119:125: “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.”

The truth is, our precious Youtube stars and playlist heroes don’t have to worry about glorifying anyone else but themselves.  Where as lead worshippers have to constantly “check themselves” and live above reproach on and off the stage.  It’s

hard work.  Not to put down other positions in the church, for all of us have our role to play as the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5).  I say it’s hard because, I am one.  The rock-star mentality is hard to shake, but it is absolutely necessary to be rid of.  The line between glorifying oneself on-stage and truly worshipping has to be drawn alone.  Accountability helps as well.  It’s a team effort.  We are the body of Christ.  We are also all human.  There’s a song called “Wholly Yours” by David Crowder that goes “I am full of earth, stained with dirt, prone to depravity.” I couldn’t agree more.  What are we without God’s grace?  Where would we be without him?  I’ll finish with the end of the second verse to that song:

“You are everything that is bright and clean
And You’re covering me with Your majesty
And the truest sign of grace was this:

From wounded hands redemption fell down
Liberating man”

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Gets Me Going
So what is it that gets people hot under the collar, pushing people’s buttons, and getting them all riled up to speak out and up about what they really care about?

I don’t know what any of you have to say about it, but in my opinion, it has to be the topic of religion. Jesus Christ. Faith. God. Christianity. People always tend to have their own opinion, would love to force it upon somebody else, and most of all, need to have the last word.

Is it that difficult to simply walk away and say, “They’re right. I don’t need to say anything else.”? Maybe. But in this walk of ministry that I currently am on, one of the most important things for me to learn is to hold my tongue, stay quiet, and most importantly of all, be in prayer. Because who can do more convincing: me and my loud boisterous, I-can-talk-more-and-louder-than you monologue or the Holy Spirit as He convicts us?

Bring up religion anywhere and you’re sure to get people all driven to speak their mind. Bring up Christ and for sure there will be somebody else with a different perspective trying to prove to you that your opinion is only slightly correct and that they have a better more accurate view of our Savior.

Don’t tell me what you know. Tell me what the Bible says. If you can tell me that, I’ll listen.

The Bible tells me that Christ is Lord. Christ is God. (John 1:1) He is fully God and fully Man. He died on the cross for my sins. Salvation can only be had by faith in Him alone. No man can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Don’t tell me what some scholar, scientist, priest, or religious leader said to someone, who wrote it down, which then was read and re-interpreted, and now you hear about it second,third, fourth, fifth hand. Don’t tell me that you read it off the internet cause some late night blogger had some sort of epiphany about who Christ is and how God works.  Don’t tell me about what you read and how you interpret the Scriptures because of what you’re feeling and what you think it means because “God spoke it to me.”

There is no direct revelation folks.  God reveals Himself through His Word.

Read the Bible yourself and tell me what it says.

Then I’ll tell you what it says to me.

Jesus loves me… this I know.

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Reply… Some Questions

“I haven’t read the bible. I have seen MANY people who claim to be Christian, doing terrible things – almost like they’ve been given a license to be cruel, because they will be forgiven.”

It is unfortunate that many people turn away from Christ upon an interaction with someone who is a self-proclaimed Christian, but presents themself otherwise. The hypocritical nature that many of us show as believers can truly push someone away from the Gospel.

I was approached by a youth asking how they should behave during a school function (winter formal.) I informed him to think about his testimony. Would his actions affect his testimony either positively or negatively? Then think about the possibility of someone who is on the fence about believing in Jesus Christ. If someone were to witness him doing something, would it push them toward faith or away from God?

Bottom line: you just never know who is watching. And if we proclaim ourselves as children of God, we will want to do the desires of our Father.

Additionally, there was an encounter with a “reverend,” who shared with this person the need to repent of our sins and turn our faith toward Jesus Christ. There is nothing theologically or Biblically wrong with this. In fact, it’s important that we share this with others. Where many of us may be at fault is the delivery of this truth. We must maintain a spirit of gentleness and love. Often times we come across as condemning and judgmental. If we do any sort of judging it should always be onto correction, never condemnation.

This is not to say that the “reverend” proceeded to act in like manner. It is simply an observation that I see from my time around.

It still feels as if she’s unable to make up her mind regarding what to believe. If all that she’s received is the feedback from ExChristian.net, then she’ll believe that Christ never existed, that God is a fallacy, and that Christianity is all about brainwashing. To be honest, the constant comments regarding the “farce that is Christianity” and the regular badgering of God and Christ seem more like brainwashing to me. As much as they accuse Christians of imposing our beliefs on others, they seem to do a great job doing the same.

They reach out, pleading to everyone to free their thinking and seek the truth on their own, apart from Christ and God.

As Christians, I plead them to do the same.

Eventually we’ll find out who was right or wrong. The question then becomes, what does everybody have to lose if they’re wrong?

As Christians, as Muslims, as Catholics, as Mormons, as atheists, as agnostics. Who has the most to lose?

Lastly:

“Am I this sinner who needs to be saved? Or am I this normal person, trying to lead a good life, but getting caught up in a bad situation? I’ve never been perfect, but I don’t know anyone who has.”

One response:

Mriana- “No, you are not a sinner, just a human being who has made a few mistakes just like everyone else…”

The Biblical response:

Romans 3:23

Again… upon what authority do we base our beliefs? The Bible or our own? Let’s establish this common ground first.

In reply to the following article: http://exchristian.net/letters/2009/02/some-questions.html

J.Lacanilao

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My Testimony

For the first 8 years of my life I lived in Sierra Madre, lived in a house with my mom, dad, and older brother, grew up going to a Catholic Church down the street from my house, and for the first 8 years of my life I didn’t really know who God is nor did I have a relationship with him.

Realizing now, I notice the first 8 years of my life is completely different to the years after the age of 8. When I was 8 years old, I moved to an apartment for the first time. Leaving the house where i grew up in, leaving part of my childhood behind, moving to an apartment in a different city and also not including my dad in this move. My dad took a job in Alaska for the first time, and I was pretty clueless about it. I didn’t know much of what was going on but I knew he wouldn’t be living with me and that made everything else different. I know he would come back every 4-6 months but it still wouldn’t be the same. To add on the change in my life at the age of 8, I started attending El International Church in Pasadena (which is now my home church) with my brother who accepted Christ when he was 18. He took me to church with him because after we had moved and since my dad wasn’t home while my mom had to work, I had no baby sitter so he would take me with him. From then on, going to church with my brother became something I enjoyed. I enjoyed the Sunday school, the singing, the praying, and of course the loving surrounding that comforted me in the time of change in my life that I can look back too. And looking back at my life at the age 8 with the moving away to the next city over, my dad not living with me anymore, and attending a new church with my brother, I know everything in that specific time in my life was totally God’s set and prepared plan for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

So between the age of 8 and my current life, during that time period, I began to know who God is through accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. With the activities in Sunday school, the Bible reading, the Christ like environment, how could miss the opportunity to learn more about our heavenly father? Growing up, I still had different influences and one of the biggest was the tv. Watching tv before going into middle school/ high school gave me an imagination or a plan of how I expected and wanted my teenage life to be. It was an influence I recognize now because I realize it was just a way the world got to me through television putting plans, images and expectations that blocked what God had planned for me in the first place.
.
So now that I’m currently at my teenage life, after going through middle school and my first 2 years of high school, what I expected when I was a kid is nothing compared to how I’m choosing to live my life now, how I’m choosing what to follow, what not to follow, who to follow and who not to follow. I choose to follow Jesus Christ. I choose to follow His way, His truth, and His life. These choices may sound easy to say but when you’re a fifteen year old girl who is constantly surrounded by what society is telling you and pulling you into, I have to admit it gets hard and tough to break away from everyone and everything else of this world. I haven’t been in every problem known but I do know people near my age that have gone through situations I know I don’t want to experience. And I know I don’t have too because I have the choice to stay away from the common typical situations that teens deal with like stress, “i like you, lets go out” relationships, drugs, sex, and unnecessary drama. As much as these “typical” problems catch the interest of teens/young adults, its a temporary satisfaction ending with extra baggage. I have been through knowing about drug abuse, unhealthy relationships, and teen pregnancies on a more intimate way to know and decide that using drugs, being in a relationship with a guy who just wants to get in a girls pants or to “look” good with a girl by his side, or having sex before married when clearly I’m not ready is not what I want to go through and they aren’t given by God. All these situations are a choice and not everyone has to choose what the world offers when God has a much clearer better prepared plan for our lives.”For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” -Jeremiah 29:11.

I refuse to go with the flow, to go along with what everyone in this generation is doing, with what the world is pushing us into and calling it happiness, what girls are trying to accomplish in order to be satisfied with themselves, or what television or a group of people is influencing everyone else to do. That isn’t the way I want to go in, that is not what I am choosing because soon enough I would probably end up unhappy, with depression, or success lined up with what the world wants, or even a possible pregnancy before I’m married. To continue on, the world’s success is not what i strive for, neither is a pregnancy before I’m married or even depression. I’m sure that way isn’t a direction God is leading me too because I know God has a better plan for my life much better than what the world can ever offer. Because I know remaining obedient to Gods will to wait for sex till after marriage is much more satisfying than going through it when clearly I know I am not ready, and because I know God has the right boy for me whom I can wait for, also because I know God is not the author of depression but a lover who loves us clearly shown and proved through the life, death, and resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. (John 3:16)

I don’t want to go with the flow, or with what this generation is heading towards because its clear in Romans 12:2 that we don’t need to follow things of this world, “Do not be conformed to this worls but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). This worlds way of getting this generation down the drain is becoming so strong to the point where we can no longer hold onto hope. The hope in Jesus Christ that lives on forever and forever. I know that God will always be stronger than the enemy but what about us? can we really afford to continue living in the way the world wants us to, with strength apart from God that leads us away from our hope in CHRIST or can we make change, take a U-turn and follow Jesus Christ in the way, the truth, and the life. I believe in Christ and I believe we as a generation of young adults can change, make the difference God wants us to make for him. He has prepared everything for us, he has it all set out, and we may not know what to do or where to do it but glorifying our almighty Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our God will pretty much have everything else fall in its rightful place where he meant for it to be. (:

I enjoy and love following the plan God has set for me even though I do get distracted on a daily basis but placing my trust in God and in his word because he will direct my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6) and will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5) gives me happiness that I no longer have to worry about tomorrow. I find my peace in God who continues to bless me everyday with his love shown in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Princess Amontos

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Reply… A Work in Progress

I’ve come across questions and situations of a believer who begins to yearn and fall in love with an unbeliever. It’s a sensitive subject and it’s probably well known by almost all church goers that one is not supposed to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Corin. 6:14)

The danger is that it is far easier to be influence to stray from the will of God rather than get your significant other to abide by the law of God. A lot of people go into this relationship with the hope that they will be more influential. Unfortunately, the opposite normally prevails.

It’s not impossible however. For with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26). One must simply be careful and cautious. As the apostle Paul reminds us, let us consider ourselves lest we also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

The guilt and shame felt by this individual is fairly extreme. I’ve never known anybody to endure such an emotion. And as men and women we will always deal and struggle with sin. It’s whether or not we allow it to consume ourselves. Are we living a habitual life of sin or a habitual life of righteousness? When we sin, do we feel shameful? When we sin, do we ask for forgiveness and immediately repent of our sin?

This nervous breakdown spoken of is a mental hurdle that one needs to deal with. As Christians we have the wonderful blessing of being able to come before God through the mediator Jesus Christ and ask for forgiveness. When given, the slate is wiped clean. Because of Christ, we have been imputed righteousness. We are forgiven and loved by the God of this universe, despite our sin. Christ paid the price for it.

With that said, there should be no extreme nervous breakdown. The guilt and shame, though initial and may linger, the overriding truth that God always forgives those who are His children if they come to Him in sincerity should calm our nerves and give us a sense of hope.

Of course, this does not justify the opportunity to constantly commit sin. As we recall, true believers will want to live a life of habitual righteousness not sin.

The true issue of his testimony is this:

“The essence of the matter is that I started seeing life from a completely different perspective and I nearly lost my mind because of it!! I started seeing that people are just people – there should not be any Christians, or Jews, or Muslims… just people. I realised that sex is a wonderful thing to be shared by two lovers, not some sick sin. I realised that just because something is written in some “sacred” book, does not mean that it is actually true! I see so many things in movies and read so many books that show me that we should strive to be free of intolerance, superstition and worthless tradition.”

If you continue reading, there is the eurekian affirmation and revelation of “It’s all about ME!” This follows the ecumenical revelation that there shouldn’t be any difference in people. As you read, you can see where he begins to justify his actions and where the affirmation is given to him that others believe the same thing. “Sex is a wonderful thing to be shared by two lovers, not some sick sin.” Based on who’s standards? Man’s? “I realised that just because something is written in some “sacred” book, does not mean it is actually true!” Again, upon who’s authority? Yours?

When we make the standard a perfect God, we fall short. Therefore, sex should be sacred between a man and a woman who are married. When we base the authority upon the inspired Word of God, not just a “sacred” book, then the truth is clear, rather than simply a scapegoat. Absolute truth is absolute whether you believe it or not. I am breathing air. You may not believe it, but it does not negate it’s truth. The Bible is the same way.

My last insight is with the following statement:

“I really loved God too and I fear going to hell sometimes, but it is getting better as I meet new people who are not Christians and realise that they can be so wonderful and loving – why would they be sent to hell, it just makes no sense! ”

Again, the view of many people who declare themselves atheists because they cannot wrap their minds around a loving God who will punish others to hell. There are good people! They should not go to hell!

Hell, in essence, is the absence of God. If God is love, if God is grace, if God is love and light, heaven will be filled with it. Remove God from a location entirely, you have then removed to the full extent, love, grace, love and light. And any and all things that God is.

Hell is simply a place where God is not present. God is loving enough to allow us free will. If we do not want to be with Him, He will not force us. Therefore if people do not want to be with God after this life, He will not force them to stay in His dwelling place for eternity, Heaven. Hell is a place for those who choose not to be with God.

Again it’s our choice. He gives us a way to eternal life. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If I do, I deal with the consequences. If you don’t you deal with yours. In the end, when we stand before God, we can only be accountable for our actions.

Once there, many people have one last chance to say to God’s face “It’s all about ME!”

http://exchristian.net/letters/2009/01/i-am-work-in-progress-but-it-is-really.html (as a reply to this article)

J.Lacanilao

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God’s Grace

My names Kristina and this is the story of how God continues to shower His grace upon me.

I began serving the Lord at a very young age through childrens choir, church plays, piano recitals, and as an acolyte at Beacon United Methodist Church in Seattle Washington. I attended Beacon along with my sister, mother, and grandma. God blessed me with many brothers and sisters in Christ through growing friendships at church.

As i got older,my roles at Beacon began to progress. I became part of the youth. I attended several Christmas Institutes in the Pacific Northwest division. During service, I began ushering and leading in Praise and Worship. Sometimes, I would sing in the choir. During the summertime as VBS rolled along, I would hold an art class. It felt great experiencing this growth in faith amongst my peers. They were a great source of inspiration to me and they would always let me know that I could always come to them if I needed anything.

Into my high school carreer i began to drift further away from the Lord. I began to develope bad habits that I knew werent pleasing to him. I fell into a partying hype and my weekends were no longer filled with church activities. It became evident as i began to fall from serving the church and there were months inbetween where i wouldnt even attend. My mom wasn’t attending church as well so it lessened my drive to go to church. My uncle would call me every sunday asking me i if i needed a ride and i would come up wth excuses not to go. If I did go, my friends at church would always be surprised to see me, but I would distance myself in fear thinking they wouldnt understand what I was experiencing.

My mother and I began attending church regularly again shortly before I left to make California my new home. I slowly began taking on the roles that I used to before I had left the church and my friends always welcomed me with open arms. My sister and brother in law took me into their home. I now serve El International Church in Pasadena as a piano player. I am greatful that I can continue to use the talents God has blessed me with to glorify him.

Kristina A. Cornjeo

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During the Stewardship Conference the guest pastor, Rod Wiltrout, gave a great message based on 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 which reads:
“1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.”

It was the last verse that hit me the most in which Pastor Wilkinson spoke about how we as Christians should give ourselves to God in everything–our time, our talent and our treasure. He likewise spoke that at our work places the bosses SHOULD be able to rely on the Christian knowing that their work is always the best because God alone disserves the best. He said, “At your work places, do you do your work only when you know your boss is coming? When it comes to your lunch break, do you take more than you should, thinking that the company OWES you? Do you see your work at a way to share the Gospel? Do you live, speak, act tin front of your co-workers in a way that glorifies God and causes them to think and ask, ‘why?’

OUCH….

 

Given by Jude S.

My God Isn’t Money

We see a new car… orange lambo with some spinners

I want that… cha-ching!

We see a nice shirt…. 3 for 10? Naw… 1 for 50

Oh yeah, I need that… cha-ching!

Oh and you can’t forget those dolche and gabana shoes

The shades and all the bling bling!

Cha-ching!

But

How about that family living in West LA in their car

Or how about man who’s shirt is “holely”

As in the same shirt he’s had for three years pushin his shoppin cart

Or the child in the squatters area

Who has no shoes so she knocks on your window for some change

“Tao po” is anyone there?

Why do we hold back that which

If you really think about it

Isn’t ours to begin with

We horde and horde and take some more

And try to fill every part of the home

With all our toys

For the big girls and boys

We got the nice house

The two point three children the white picket fence

But when we are the richest country in the world

And don’t care about the world….

That don’t make sense

Cause we still rob God

Of His time

His given talent

And His all given treasures

And we all think we can measure

That “happiness” of this life by the number of our credit cards

And bonds and stocks

But the truth is

We’re all gonna leave this life the same way

Six feet under and a box

Unless you plan on being buried in your Lexus

You see if my god was money

Then he has died

Washed down the drain in a swirl of

War

Failing economy

And rising gas prices

Is it the end of the world?

Is there a silver lining?

Some say yes

And some say no

And honestly some don’t know where to go

Will I be living on the streets?

Will I have enough to eat?

Will there be a roof over my head?

Or shoes on my feet?

But see it’s all deceit

The pull of this world

Wants to tell you to keep going

To keep your money hidden from everyone else cause they’re not in need of knowing

Throwing away money like paper towel and toilet tissue waste

Are we getting any better?

Cause it’s not exactly the case

We are bound by the almighty dollar

And not

By the Almighty Lord

The One and only One

Who can overlap the gorge

Who can take apart and set us free

From spending all our dollars so flippantly

So it is good then

That God is not money

Cause He has never died

Even on that cross

He conquered death and was raised on high

It may be the end of this world

But He will

Be

The silver lining

Let His people say yes

While the world says no

For we are the only ones who know where they will go

For in heaven

We will be walking on streets of gold

We will not need to eat

We will be living in mansions

And worship at the Almighty God’s feet

This is not deceit

The God of all creation

Is telling us to keep going,

Revealing to us His hidden things so that we can keep on growing

And sowing

spiritual seeds but we all must haste

For Maranatha, Lord come quickly

That right there

That’s the true case

We are to be bound to the Almighty Lord

And not

The almighty dollar

That which isn’t as mighty as once thought

But we put our trust

Our hope

Our faith

In the One who cannot be bought

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

11:09 AM

 

Written in Phil 102 – Intro to Ethics Class. Worrying about my financial situation but putting hope… all hope in my Jehovah Jireh – The Lord who provides. And at this, I find peace.

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