Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dear Belle

By the time you read this, your plane might have reached Manila. The truth is, a month ago we knew you got the job offer, yesterday we threw a send-off party for you and today you left Singapore but it's still not sinking in to me that you are now moving(back) to Australia. For real. Maybe I am still in denial, in denial that you are leaving us more than this place.

We praised God the author of our lives for making our paths crossed here in Singapore even for a limited time. Four years seems to be insufficient. As single ladies living far from our families back in the Philippines, you have this warm and welcoming aura to every member of our growing discipleship group. Thank you for making us feel we are not alone. You have this all out smile and inviting personality who makes everyone feel at home in the dgroup. Your servant heart is an encouragement to us, for you are always willing to volunteer to any activity in the church. I remember you inviting the dgroup to attend every talk or bible study available even outside CCF.

Whenever our dgroup have a special occasion to celebrate like birthdays, bridal showers etc -- you always make time to help in organising and making it possible.


For almost two years, our discipleship group have been praying with you on His will for you in Australia. But even though we are aware of the possibility that this may happen anytime, why is it still difficult to comprehend someone moving away.  My heart find it the hardest to reconcile the shift. Maybe this is just me being comfortable of routines and being clingy -- that you will just be there always ready to help, prepare home cooked meals for the dgroup, facilitate in our discipleship group even with short notice, assist in Sunday school, offer winter scarfs or jackets when travelling and simply for being available.  It makes all the difference.

But thank you for sharing your heart with us and not giving up on prayer. At the same time doing your part in terms of job application and interview preparations even if there were few disappointments along the way, we were all reminded how powerful God can work in the lives of His seeking children.

I praise God for your steadfast heart and full dependence on the perfect timing of our Lord.
Judges 6:14-16 
The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” He said to Him, “O Lord, [how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”
I will miss your sinigang. I will miss our runs and training together. I will miss hearing you sing during praise and worship plus various church events. I will miss our shopping time together, though most of the time we are just window shopping(haha). I will miss our travels. I will miss planking with you 😆 I will miss tagging along with you when buying perfumes. I will miss hearing you share on our Tuesdays IDG and Wednesdays DG group sessions.

We will all miss you for sure, but at the same time we are more excited to witness how God will unfold His grace and blessing in your life as you conquer more borders for His glory.

How do you say goodbye to someone who is like a sister to you more than a friend. I can't. Or maybe you just don't. But if there's one good thing about parting, that is the hope for reunion.

So see you in Brisbane!

High Tea @The Courtyard, Fullerton Hotel
Farewell dinner @Our Village Colombo
Ang saya ni kuya!!!

IDMC 2016 here in Singapore

Perth, Australia

Dgroup bowling

CCF church event

Dgroup goes to Tioman, Malayia
Buwis buhay skydive experience @Australia
Archery ala Katniss Everdeen
Radical Love CCF Retreat 2017
Radical Love CCF Retreat 2017 with Carlo's dgroup

Adore CCF 2016 Christmas Party
Belle's #wokeuplikethis photo! Ganda pa din 😉

CCF: So That You May Know the Servant

John 13:1-17
Bro. Popit Aragones

John chapter 13 accounts Jesus’ upper room discourse with His disciples on the night before His death. He gave final instructions to prepare them for His death and resurrection, events that would change their lives forever. In this chapter Jesus modelled servanthood by washing the feet of His disciples, one of the lowliest task reserve only for slaves during their time.

The act of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples exposes the heart of the disciples. Jesus wanted them to realise that they have heart issues and that is PRIDE. The kind of pride that stems out from self-righteousness. 

PRIDE. Nowadays, the face of pride changes from a vice or wickedness to a face of virtue. 
Pride resides in each one of us in varying degrees. Pride hinders us from seeking God. Most importantly, it takes away the glory due for God. While the sin of pride is often overlooked by our society, God takes the sin of pride very seriously.

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. - Proverbs 16:5

“Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one,” Declares the Lord God of hosts, “For your day has come, The time when I will punish you. “The arrogant one will stumble and fall With no one to raise him up; And I will set fire to his cities And it will devour all his environs.” - Jeremiah 50:31-32

Satan fell because of pride because he desired to be like God and not a servant. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. 

Pride Paralyses. It cripples us from loving and serving one another truthfully. It removes our focus on God and others and imprisons us from our own selfish desires. Be very careful not to rob the glory that is rightful to God alone.

Got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. - John 13:4-5

It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:26-28

So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realise now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” - John 13:6-8
Genuine Humility Enables. It allows us to go beyond our borders, to love and serve others unconditionally. Despite of Jesus’ deity, He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant so He can serve His disciples. Genuine humility is not a sign of weakness but strength. An expression of God’s grace through us, His children.

Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. - Matthew 23:12
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” - James 4:6
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. - Matthew 16:24

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. —CS Lewis

Jesus gave emphasis on the difference of bathe and wash. Similarly for people who accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, they are totally cleanse by His blood but still needs the continuous cleansing of their feet daily. Because as we continue to walk in this world, we make actions, decisions and thoughts that make our feet dirty again. 

As Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He taught us that we are ought to do the same for other people as well. To love and serve in humility for the glory of God.

Pride paralyses but genuine humility enables.

Monday, September 4, 2017

CCF Singapore Retreat 2017

T'was a meaningful long weekend spent with more than 250 brethren from CCF Singapore during the annual retreat at Sands & Sandals Resort & Spa, Desaru Malaysia from August 31 to September 2. This retreat became extra special because I get to spend it with some of my single ladies discipleship group. \o/

The three day, two nights retreat revolves around the topic "Radical Love Begins at Home" which is relevant and significant. The event was graced by Edric and Joy Mendoza as speakers together with their five adorable and behaved children. Edric is an education entrepreneur who champions Home Education across various organisations, and personal finance education through keynote messages. He is also the host of "On the Money", a TV show in the Philippines. Edric and his wife, Joy, conduct training, mentoring and counselling families in the area of marriage, parenting and money stewardship through Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF).

Drone shot. Look up guys!

BOG 18 - Karl, Alfa, baby Caleb, Patric, Zipp, Me, Ate Ethel, Kuya Mark, Kris
Sessions and learnings include the following five compelling topics where participants are organised into breakout groups (usually 7 to 8 each BOG) to reflect and discuss each topic.

Open Up 
With everyone hooked on social media, there is a tendency to spend more time in the virtual world. Avoid being so near yet so far by opening up and communicating with those that really matter.

Mold Character
Today's culture has a strong influence on the values and priorities of families. Regardless of the direction of the prevailing culture, it is important to let the Lord mold our character so we can become more like Christ.

Have Fun
Work-life balance seems to be unattainable because parents are out working while children are busy with their own lives. Remember the seventh day? Even the Lord rested. Lighten up and have fun.

Embrace your Role
Who should be followed in the household? What does being supportive or obedient really mean? Avoid confusion and conflict by embracing the role God has designed especially for you.

Steward Well 
Mindsets of entitlement and instant gratification may lead to heavy financial stress. We must be good stewards of the resources God entrusts to us; after all, everything belongs to Him.

Dawnwatch
Discipleship Group. Me, Kaye, Marie and Belle
On the morning of second day, we woke up six in the morning to anticipate the dawn watch through praise and worship and most importantly spending time with God beside the breathtaking view of the pristine beach. In the afternoon there is a group activity where participants are assembled into four team color - Red for Love, Blue for Obedience, Green for Volunteer and Yellow for Evangelise. Teams participated in friendly competition of group cheer, hoola hoops relay, sack relay, ball+cups relay and group dodgeball.

Water Baptism
Bonfire. Praise and worship night
Finally on the third and last day, twelve brethren from all ages and walks of life heed the call of publicly declaring their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ through water baptism. Yey! What a celebration!



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Music: Your Love Never Fails


Original: Jesus Culture
Cover: Newsboys

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails
You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
And may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails
The wind is strong and the water's deep
I'm not alone in these open seas
'Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
'Cause Your love never fails
'Cause you stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Oh no, love never fails
'Cause You make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good (5x)
'Cause you stay
'Cause you stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
It may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Love never fails
You make all things work together for my good (7x)
You make, you make all things work together for my good
You make all things work together for my good (2x)
'Cause You make all things work together for my good
'Cause you stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
It may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Never fails

Sunday, August 6, 2017

CCF: Turn Disappointments to Blessings: Trust God

Pastor Peter Tan-Chi

How can you trust God if you don't know Him?
If your not happy being single then marry another unhappy single. This will only lead to double unhappiness.

To believe and not to obey is purely head knowledge. If you believe that Bible is the Word of God but haven't read the entire Bible, that is a BIG disconnect. How can you claim the promises of God if you don't read His word. Similarly if you believe that spiritual disciplines like quiet time, bible reading, fasting, prayer and the like are critical to your Christian growth but is not regularly practicing it, that is a BIG question mark as well.

People are meant to experience disappointments but there's one person who will never disappoint us - God.
Intimacy with God is the ultimate blessing.

Devils theology:
If God loves you He will bless you and you will have no problem. Since you have problem then God does not love you.

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Trials are not forever.
Trials are for your own sake, so you would know if you have a genuine faith in God.

The book of John chapter 11 accounts the death and resurrection of Lazarus where we learned few things:

1. Believe God loves you
Trust on God's love for you, not your love for Him.

2. Wait on the Lord
Trust God's timetable.
Waiting is God's ways of making you the person He wants you to be.

John 11:14-16
So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”

Even in the worst disappointed(death) of man, God is still in control. He has a purpose
With God there is no such things as hopeless or helpless situation

Have you ever thanked the Lord for whatever you are going through? Even in difficult times or circumstances that you don't understand.

In everything give thanks!

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.

Islam - Mohammed never claim he is the resurrection and life
Buddhism - Buddha never claimed he is God
Hinduism - Believes in karma
Christianity - Jesus claimed He is the resurrection; claimed He is the son of God; He died and rose again

Christianity is the only religion where Jesus claimed He is God, died and was resurrected. Christianity cannot be moderately important if its true.

To Trust God means to Believe and Obey.

Christianity is always present tense. How can you say you're a follower of Jesus if you don't follow Him.

Obedience to God is always the best option.
Only God can turn a Mess into a Message.
Victim into Victor.
Test into Testimony.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Music: Two Less Lonely People in the World by KZ Tandingan

Exceeding its expectation. Spring Field's "Kita Kita" featuring Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy brings us a novelty, touching and playful rom-com movie that is overall delightful to watch. Hearing good feedbacks not only from netizens but also friends there are few things this movie excites me - first watch the movie, go to Sapporo, Japan and listen to its official soundtrack "Two Less Lonely People in the World."

I didn't realize this song could be that classy and emotional. Kudos to Kz Tandingan's cover of Air Supply's "Two Less Lonely People in the World."
This is my new LSS this week. Enjoy!




I was down my dreams were wearing thin
When you're lost where do you begin
My heart always seemed to drift from day to day
Looking for the love that never came my way

Then you smiled and I reached out to you
I could tell you were lonely too
One look and then it all began for you and me
The moment that we touched I knew that there would be

Two less lonely people in the world
And it's gonna be fine
Out of all the people in the world
I just can't believe you're mine
In my life where everything was wrong
Something finally went right
Now there's two less lonely people
In the world tonight

Just to think what I might have missed
Looking back how did I exist
I dreamed, still I never thought I'd come this far
But miracles come true, I know 'cause here we are

Two less lonely people in the world
And it's gonna be fine
Out of all the people in the world
I just can't believe you're mine
In my life where everything was wrong
Something finally went right
Now there's two less lonely people
In the world tonight

Tonight I fell in love with you
And all the things I never knew
Seemed to come to me somehow
Baby, love is here and now there's

Two less lonely people in the world
And it's gonna be fine
Out of all the people in the world
I just can't believe you're mine
In my life where everything was wrong
Something finally went right
Now there's two less lonely people
In the world tonight

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hair for Hope 2017

Last weekend, July 29-30, 2017 The Children's Cancer Foundation had their 15th annual head shaving event Hair for Hope in Vivo City. This is the only head-shaving event in Singapore that serves to raise funds and awareness of childhood cancer. Every shaven head represents an understanding by an individual of the ordeals that a child with cancer is subjected. It is encouraging every single child with cancer by making a statement that it is okay to be bald and they are not alone in their fight with cancer.



Day one alone, there were more than 1300 shavees both registered and walk-in who made the event a success. Different kinds of people from different walks of life - kids at least 7 years old, students, young adults, parents, aunties and uncles, men and even women had their hair shaved to show support to children with cancer. Out of 1300++ shavees on first day less than 300 of them were brave women who did not hesitated to sacrifice their crowning glory which they took care for many years to grow, their hair.





Vivo city central court was filled with warmhearted and courageous souls who participated in shaving and big hearted sponsors and volunteers who gave more than their time but their heart for this event. Kudos to everyone who made this event possible! Thank you for the opportunity to be part and witness this heartwarming charitable cause.




Visa volunteers
 



Thursday, July 13, 2017

CCF: Do You Have 20/20 Vision?

Seeing Jesus for Who He is: John 9:1-41
Brother Kiddit Afable

At the moment there are 39 Million blind people in the world, and 90% of them are living in low income countries. By 2050, 1 Billion people are at risk of becoming blind. But aside from physical blindness, humanity is suffering from moral and spiritual blindness. The book of John was written to shed light by declaring who Jesus is and revealing his deity to mankind. He is The Great I Am who heals the blind man in the pool of Siloam. 

John Chapter 9 accounts the story about the man born blind who was healed by Jesus through spitting on the ground, applying the clay on the man’s eyes and asking him to wash himself in the pool of Siloam. Miraculously the man was able to see and his neighbours were greatly amazed. But the Pharisees questioned him several times trying to deny the divinity of Jesus for it was Sabbath when the man was healed, but as the story progress we witness how the formerly blind man was radically transformed and worshipped Jesus as the Son of God. And towards the end of the chapter Jesus affirms His Deity. 

This miracle teaches us to see our Divine Purpose rooted in Redemption that leads to Radical Transformation and ends with Worship.

Divine Purpose (John 9:1-5)
Momentary suffering is incomparable to God’s eternal glory

Suffering is real. Human suffering started after the fall of man in Genesis 3, while adversity is evident as in the life of the man who was born blind, we can always choose to shift from causality to the purposes and plans of God.
Jesus is the light of the world. Just like how He gave light to the dark world of the blind man.
Momentary affliction is incomparable to the eternity God has planned.
God has an amazing end-game. Whatever you are going through, learn to trust the process.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Redemption (John 9:6-12, 13-17)
Jesus is the only source of the deep peace we seek

Sovereign grace and sovereign will dominate the miracle.
Jesus meets us at the place of our greatest need. Without Jesus all we know is darkness unless He seeks us out.
Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. As a response we should learn to delight in His design and find peace and rest with our Maker. Allow Jesus to heal you on the day of rest so you can have rest.
The Sabbath is for God extending His blessing to the broken and weary.
Jesus is the source of the deep rest and peace that we need.

Radical Transformation (John 9:18-24, 24-34)
God’s truth pierces through our spiritual darkness

A powerful personal testimony trumps self-righteousness.
Truth gives rise to full-blown courage.
The Gospel vs. religion – shattering the religious status quo
The Gospel vs. religion – there is great tragedy to unbelief
God pierces through our spiritual darkness 


The main question you have to ask yourself is, where do you stand? Light or darkness?

Worship
There is a profound response to truly seeing Jesus

In the story we can see the progression of how the blind man recognise Jesus. First as a Man in verse 11, then as a Prophet in verse 17 and finally the Son of God in verse 38.

v11 He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 
v17 So they *said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He is a prophet.”
v38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. 

Because there is a profound response in truly seeing Jesus.

As believers of God, what should be our proper response:  


Ultimately, we should be a courageous worshipper of Jesus!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Australia: The Pinnacles

On our attempt to explore the west coast Australia, we found ourselves driving more than 220km from Southern River WA all the way up to the Pinnacles Desert located in Nambung National Park for almost three hours.

Pinnacles Desert is world famous for its stromatolites and strombalites - the oldest living fossils on earth.




Ever wondered how this thousands of strange looking limestone pillars in different sizes were formed?

***
The coast of Western Australia, from Shark Bay nearly to Albany, has a near continuous belt of Tamala Limestone (probably more accurately called) aerolian calcarenite - ie. wind blown calcium carbonate - which has been produced by the combination of wind, rain and the cementing agent of calcium.
A set of unique circumstances produced the pinnacles. Firstly the huge sand dunes stabilised. The rains which fell on the dunes leached down through the sand carrying the calcium. This resulted in the lower levels of the dune solidifying into a soft limestone. As this stabilisation occurred a layer of soil formed on top of the dune which allowed plants to grow and further cemented the limestone below. Gradually the lowest layer of soil, which lay between the surface and the limestone, formed into a hard cap which resulted in the old dunes having three levels - a soil and plant level near the surface, a hard cap below the surface, and a thick layer of soft limestone at the bottom of the dune.
Inevitably the roots from the plants on the top level found cracks and broke up the hard cap and the layer of soft limestone. The result was that under a surface covered with plants and soil the pinnacles developed. No one knows for sure how long ago this process occurred. It may have started as long ago as 500 000 years but equally it may only be a few thousand years old and it may still be continuing today. The Western Australian Museum has opted for some time in the last 80 000 years.
Anyway the advent of drier weather in the region resulted in the top layer of plants and soil being removed and gradually the pinnacles were exposed so that today they stand like strange sentinels on a plain of wind blown sand.
*** Excerpts from www.visitpinnaclescountry.com.au
Amazing as the nature, these phenomenal rock formations formed over million of years ago is not only educational but also a perfect backdrop for crazy pictorials.