Sunday, March 26, 2017

CCF: So That You May Know The Mission

Image courtesy of LDS.org
Preaching by: Pastor Jose Philip

Have you ever wondered why no matter how much you accomplished or how much you have you still want more? John Chapter 4 reveals to us how our hearts are wired and how only God can satisfy us.

“It’s strange to be known so universally and yet be so lonely.” — Albert Einstein

“Sometimes I think the only people who stay with me and listen to me are the people I pay.” —Marilyn Monroe

John 4 accounts the longest private conversation between Jesus and another person recorded in the Gospel. Why would Jesus spend so much time with this unnamed woman of questionable character? What does he wants us to learn from this passage?

John tells us that as Jesus performs miracles, his popularity grew and because of this He left Judea and went back to Galilee where He need to pass by Samaria. At the town of Sychar, Jesus met the Samaritan woman and spoke to her.

The God of the Bible is the God who meets us where we are, as we are so that He can take us from where we are to where we should be. No other religion in the world demonstrate this kind of love.

The Samaritan woman was desperate for she came to draw water in the afternoon trying to avoid people because of her reputation. She was also surprised and suspicious to find Jesus speaking to her. As Jesus tells her about the Living water, she was quick to ask for the water so she won’t get thirsty and need to draw water anymore.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’” — John 4:13-15

Very often we undermine what God is telling us because we come to Him in desperation and suspicion. Often times our relationship with God is transactional - Just do this for me Lord; Please settle this problem. Then if things does not happen our way, we get disappointed. We get disappointed with the God of our expectations and not with the God of the Scripture. We get disappointed because God becomes less of someone to us and more of something to us.

In verse 21, the woman was frustrated trying to drift away the conversation with Jesus from her real issues. Our desperation can lead us to God but often times we hear from God what we wanted to hear from Him. Desperation can cloud our eyes, because confronting our failures and problem is difficult.

The people in the town was surprised on how Jesus treated the Samaritan woman. While He knew everything about the woman yet He did not condemn her and even offered her the Living water. Similarly, Jesus invested in your life for your own sake. Jesus came while you are sinner. Jesus loves you in spite of your shortcomings.

The Samaritan woman came as a desperate woman, surprised by a stranger, stayed as a frustrated woman, taught by a Prophet and find herself liberated by the Messiah.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come The old has gone, the new is here!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

If you find yourself frustrated and helpless, cease striving and come to Jesus. Your heart will never be satisfied by what you do. Why are you striving and working for that which will perish?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28
You will not find your mission until you have been found by the Messiah.

Transcribed by:


Friday, March 10, 2017

Music: For Good

One great collaboration between two powerful belters and musical icons Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Definitely one of my favourite track from the award-winning Broadway and West End musical - The untold story of the Witches of Oz - Wicked. In fact if I will to make a song cover(hahaha feeling) this will definite be on top of my list, I just need to find someone who can sing Elphaba's line or solo might also work for me(lol).

Okay back to reality, here's a treat from the original cast members of Wicked. 


"For Good"


[Elphaba:]
I'm limited.
Just look at me.
I'm limited.
And just look at you.
You can do all I couldn't do.
Glinda...
So now it's up to you,
For both of us.
Now it's up to you.


[Glinda:]
I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.


Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes the sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.


[Elphaba:]
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend.


Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you...


[Glinda:]
Because I knew you...


[Both:]
I have been changed for good.


[Elphaba:]
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done,
You blame me for.


[Glinda:]
But then I guess,
We know there's blame to share.


[Both:]
And none of it seems to matter anymore.
Like a comet pulled from orbit
(like a ship blown from its mooring)
As it passes the sun.
(by a wind off the sea)
Like a stream that meets a boulder
(like a seed dropped by a bird)
Halfway through the wood.
(in the wood)
Who can say if I've been changed for the better.
I do believe I have been changed for the better.


[Glinda:]
And because I knew you...


[Elphaba:]
Because I knew you...


[Both:]
Because I knew you
I have been changed...
For good.

Credits to youtube channel owner.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Wicked in Singapore

The award-winning Broadway and West End musical "Wicked" graced us last year showing at Mastercard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands Singapore.


***

Wicked has captivated 50 million theatregoers of all ages(including us) and is already one of Broadway and the West Ends's most celebrated and successful musicals of all time.

Wicked also was a winner of 100 international awards including three Tony Awards on Broadway and two Olivier Awards in London's West. Wicked's spectacular stage musical features astounding technical wizardry, stunning costumes and show-stopping songs by the three-time Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz. [Excerpts from Wicked brochure]

The awards alone qualifies this musical as a must-see show and also one of the reason why I am writing a throwback post for this world class musical. Blog-worthy.

Though we did not brave to take photos during the shows(as it is prohibited), we had our fare share of snaps before the show started. Pardon my rugged clothing as I was suppose to go for a badminton game after the show so didn't bother to dress up 😏 which I later regretted after seeing ladies in their fancy dresses, like its not everyday you get to watch Wicked right? (Next time Girlie!)

The experience was pure euphoria -- from the talented performers, to original songs, to enchanting production and parade of costumes. Best treat you can give to your ears and eyes. Wicked revolves in the theme of finding one's individuality, standing for what you believe and unfolding friendships.

Jacqueline Hughes (Elphaba's) stint of "Defying Gravity" was a front runner act which shows a lot of emotions and chills. Carly Andersen (Galinda I meant Glinda's) "Popular" is a new favourite from added in my playlist. But if there's one track I looked forward to, that is Elphaba's and Glinda's duet "For Good" their farewell piece to each other. The song highlighted friendship, forgiveness and how their lives were changed because of each other. I have to close my eyes to enjoy and savour the live performance that very moment, as if the world stopped for a second. It was surreal feeling to hear one of your favourite song sang live in front of you. Bradley Jaden (Fiyero's) "Dancing Through Life" sticks to my head for some time and so added it in my LSS list.


It was indeed a wicked experience altogether.
Thank you Wicked The Musical for making us a part of this bewitching vocal production.



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weighlifting Fairy OST

With my growing fondness to Korean novela and their music, I have added new tracks to my running playlist. Yey! The songs "From Now On" and "For Some Reason These Days" were from the original soundtrack of Korean romantic-comedy drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Book-Joo

I don't know about you but listening to this music will surely keep you heart upbeat and your feet in brisk running pace, pushing you to run few distance more till you reach your distance goal. 😆💪😀 





Credits to the youtube channel owner of both songs. Thanks for sharing this two cheerful tracks, now I have something to look forward in my running workout.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hedonic Threadmill

Came across "Hedonic Threadmill" while listening to one of the Sunday messages from Christ Commission Fellowship(CCF) which I also posted in my previous blog. For those who are going through quarter-life or mid-life crisis or any random time in your life where you felt you are in burning pursuit of the true meaning of happiness, you would definitely bump into this term.

According to Wikipedia, Hedonic threadmill also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

Investopedia defines "Hedonic Threadmill" as the following:

The tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite a change in fortune or the achievement of major goals. According to the hedonic treadmill, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.

On the negative flip, suppose something tragic happen to you like denied promotion, an accident or bankruptcy, initially you might feel depressed but slowly as time progress you'll adjust to your circumstances. Soon you'll learn to find happiness in other things, because humans are adaptable beings.

On the positive note, this means after getting that promotion you worked hard on or being married to the love of your life, for sometime you'll be leaving your dreams in cloud nine, but after sometime happiness declines. You'll then think to be really happy in your married life you need to have kids, buy house of your own and so on. And the list will continue to grow. So in order for a person to maintain the same level of fulfilment, he needs to acquire more than what he acquired before. This sounds miserable to me because it will be a never ending pursuit to happiness.

HappierHuman.com tries to explain the power and problem of adaptation. The author Amit Amin provides evidences how adaptation can stop giving human happiness. Here's some of it:

Beauty
While its true that being physically attractive increases self-esteem and opportunities in life, it's not enough to sustain satisfaction. Being attractive may lead to higher expectation in terms of friends and partner. But success in relationships has no direct correlation to physical attributes but more in character and behaviour. Oftentimes less attractive people can be more grateful.

Money
We desire money not for the sake of having money but for what money can give us. Yes money cannot buy happiness but it can buy things to make us happy. But the more money we get from our jobs, the more things we need to sacrifice like time with family, more stress and the like. Also wealth can be inversely proportional to appreciation. The more wealthy a person becomes, his appreciation to simple things decreases. They would require bigger houses, more stylish cars, fancy restaurants for dinners, more expensive shoes and bags, more lavish trips etc.

Sunshine
Humidity after a clear day is correlated with reduced vigor and happiness. Sunshine after a cloudy day is correlated with increased mood. But sunshine after sunshine is correlated with nothing. When we experience sunshine most of the time, eventually we tend to take if for granted.

Marriage + Children
Studies suggests that having children increases meaning and purpose in life which could be the reason why people choose to get married and have kids. But this is not a one-size-fits-all, for others they can find meaning in life through their career, helping others, raising advocacy and awareness etc. We just need to strike a balance on each other's choices in life and there is nothing wrong whichever side you opt to belong. As not all married people are happy, just like not all singles are miserable.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Michael Ramsden: Jesus Satisfies

What does it mean to truly live?
How do we measure what it means to be happy, fulfilled or satisfied in this world?
Why is it that as we see wealth going up in a nation, reported level of happiness goes down?

With all these questions unanswered, often we fill our lives with all kinds of distractions to distract ourselves from the problem of our own emptiness. So we are looking to be entertained through television, drinking, partying or anything that can momentarily hold our attention because something within us seems to be missing.

The Bible tries to answer this through the book of Luke 12:13-21 - The Parable of the Rich Fool. In the story the younger brother wanted Jesus to divide the estate. Why? Same reason why we want money, because of the things it can buy and the satisfaction it can bring to us.

There are so many things we try to bring into our lives to make us happy. We consume, buy, build things hoping to feel fulfilled.

In verse Luke 12:15 and Isaiah 55, God is not questioning our desires for fulfilment and satisfaction, He is questioning where you can find it. Life does not consist in the abundance of possession. For even if you have more than enough, your wealth will not give you life.

What are the things that you are pursuing?
Where is your energy, creativity, money, labor, gold going?
More importantly, does it satisfy?
Christ came into this world, He alone can meet the deepest desires of our heart. 
He alone can satisfy us. 

For full message, you can visit Christ Commission Fellowship youtube channel via this link.

Transcribed by:

Basic Korean I Learned from Watching Korean Drama Part II

Still cannot get over Korean drama so last week I found myself marathoning sports drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Book Joo, inspired by the Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi-ran.

Its quite fascinating to watch the lives of athletes - their discipline in training, commitment to their sport, frustrations and at the same time how they have fun.

While I enjoy seeing this cheerful and entertaining KDrama, I also learned new words and phrases I could add to my Korean vocabulary:

Mister - Adjusshi
Uncle - Samchon
Sorry - Mi Ahn hae / Mianhaeyo
Awesome - Dae bak
Hello(on the phone) - Yeoboseyo
Really? - Jinjja?
That's right / Absolutely - Georeomyo
I miss you - Bugoshipuh / Bugoshipuhyo (formal)
Are you okay? - Gwenchanah? / Gwenchanahyo? (formal)
Don't go - Gajima
I'm hungry - Baegopayo
Let's eat - Bap mukja
It's delicious! - Massh iss uh yo!
Please - Joo Sae Yo / Sae Yo (formal)
It's delicious - Mah Sit Sso Yo
Long time no see - Olen-maniya
Nice to meet you - Mannaseo bangapseumnida

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Five Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

1. Sleep
While sleep is still in your favour -- take daily afternoon naps, appreciate early bedtimes and enjoy waking up late on weekends and school holidays. When you become an adult especially when you enter the workforce, sleep will be an expensive commodity. Let's not get into the time when you become a parent, by that time sleep is a luxury.  

2. Spend time with the right people who are worth it
The time we spend with people we love is always well spent. Play with your siblings while you can. Hug your dad. Say 'I love you' to your mom. Help family with household chores. Eat meals together. Travel and explore the world. Bond with your friends. Make fun memories. You never know where your career might bring you in the future, so savour the moment with them.
Family is not an important thing, it's everything. --Michael J. Fox

3. Stop trying to impress others
You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God --Psalm 139:4
The earlier you realise this, the lighter your life will be. Give up on what others will think about you, not because you don't care but because these people don't. It's such a waste of time. Focus your energy on how God accepted and loved you even at your worst. You can't do anything more or less for God to love you more.

4. It's okay to make mistakes
The biggest mistake you could ever make is being too afraid to make one. Take risks, if ever you stumble, get back up and try again. Mistakes are proof that you are trying, just don't make the same mistake twice. Learn from it.

5. Keep going
Even if you don't know what lies ahead, just keep going. Attend that class with terror professor, believe me you might encounter worse than that when you have an unreasonable manager. Prepare and come to that interview, the first step to getting hired is showing up.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Music: Goblin OST

Getting hooked on the 16 episodes of the romantic fantasy Korean drama - Guardian: The Lonely and Great God aka Goblin, it is inevitable not to get absorbed on its soundtrack as well. I can listen to this full album all day long despite the lyrics don't make sense to me. The melody and Korean words(which I don't understand) stringed to form all these heartfelt music is enough to bring back the memorable scenes of Goblin series. 
Someone please save me from this Korean fever addiction!




Playlist:
1. Chanyeol & Punch - Stay With Me
2. 10cm - My Eyes
3. Lasse Lindh -Hush
4. Crush - Beautiful
5. Eddy Kim - You Are So Beautiful
6. Sam Kim - Who Are You
7. Syou - I Miss You
8. Jung Joonil - First Snow
9. Ailee - I Will Go To You Like The First Snow
10. Urban Zakapa - Wish
11. Kim Kyung Hee - And I'm Here
12. Han Soo Ji - Winter Is Coming
13. Kim Kyung Hee - Stuck In Love
14. Roy Kim, Kim Ye Ji - Heaven
15. Mamamoo - Love
16. Heize - Round And Round

Credits to the owner of the youtube channel for this compilation.

CCF: Jesus The Light & Life of the World

Bro. John Arradaza

The book of John is full of profound truths about Jesus and His deity, and John wrote it in a manner that readers would clearly understand it. Unlike the other three synoptic gospels - Matthew, Mark and Luke; the book of John is written in a way that is spoon feeding us with truths. Not only does it narrates the story of Jesus Christ, it also provides conclusion to the reader, so that we may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing we may have life in His name.

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:3-5
John 1 takes us back to the story of creation - Through Him all things were made – that encompasses pretty much everything. All things, living and non-living alike were made by Jesus Christ. He made the heavens and the earth, He made the plants, the trees, the animals and He made you and me.

“God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth” — Genesis 1:17
Our universe is a manifestation of how big, magnificent and wondrous God is. All the gargantuan balls of burning gasses billions of miles away were made by the breath of His mouth.

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” — Psalm 33:6
Meditating about this truth may keep us wondering — Why go all the trouble of creating the universe and all that is in it? After all, God did not need it, He is all sufficient and need nothing from anything or from anyone. The Book of Genesis account us how God created everything. There’s one repeating theme in chapter one and that is God says it and it happens. God says let there be light and there was light. God says let the water be gathered into one place and let there be dry ground and it was so. He also said let there be vegetation and there was vegetation, let there be animals and there was so. This is repeated several times in the account of creation. However, when it came to mankind, it was a little different. God did not just utter a word, but from dust of ground He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” — Genesis 2:7
While God being sufficient and Almighty Himself, still took time to create all the heavens and the earth and every living thing on it including us, human beings, all because of love.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” — Genesis 1:31
When God looked at His creation, here is what He was saying, “What I have made is blessed and it is a blessing. It is good because it is an expression of Who I am.”

Each and every thing that is created was good and has a purpose, even the mosquitoes and the ticks - even those things that in a fallen world cause pain and destruction — they were all good.

Do you realise that the sole purpose of creation was the expression of the love and glory of God. God did not need creation — but His love needed an object to be loved. Love is not love that has no loving expression — and the immense love of God looked for a place to be expressed — and that place was you. All of creation is motivated from, caused by and is an expression of love. That is why it was ‘very good.’

Transcribed by:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Basic Korean I Learned from Watching Korean Drama

After marathon-ing the episodes of my latest Korean drama craze for the last three days - Legend of the Blue Sea(LotBS) and Descendants of the Sun(DotS) my Korean vocabulary is slowly progressing. Huh trying to make my CNY long weekend holidays fruitful.

Frequently hearing below words and phrases in these drama series, I'm starting to develop fondness over Korean language. Here are some of the Korean expressions, Korean drama taught me this week:

ne/neh.  Yes
ah-nee-oh.  No 
kam-sah-ham-ni-da.  Formal way of saying Thank you
gomawoyo.  Casual way of saying Thank you
ahn-nyong - Hi / Hello / Bye
ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo.  Hi / Hello / Good morning
jal-jinaeyo.  How are you?
jal-jinae gomawoyo.  I'm fine, thank you.
Araso/Arasoyo.  I understand
Choayo.  Okay 
Kwenchana.  It's Okay 
Kyeo.  Is that so? or Really?
Eottoke.  How? or What to do?
Molla.  Don't know
Un-nie. Female calls older sister
Appa / Abeoji. Father
Eomma / Eomeoni. Mother
Saranghe. I love you

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Descendants of the Sun

After working very hard rehabilitating myself from Korean drama addiction for five years, I'm afraid my labor was in vain. And I blamed it to the charming lead characters and complicated romance between a female cardiothoracic specialist Doctor Kang Mo-Yeon(Song Hye-Kyo) and Captain Yoo Si-Jin(Song Joong-ki) an intense, masculine team leader of an elite special forces in South Korea. This concoction story of medical and military world coming together has made a huge buzz that is worth checking out. From this moment forward I knew I was in trouble. As I could not get my self together watching episodes till four in the morning. Too late to realise I am already hooked in this action, romcom drama series.
Dramafire.com was an accomplice to this atrocity.

Image courtesy of Asia Times
In spite of the predictable finale of Captain Yoo and Sergeant Seo being alive and reuniting with their girlfriends. Televiewers(me included) will surely miss all the characters - main and supporting ones who made this a high-rating phenomenal Korean television series. From the Haesung Medical services team and people from the hospital, Alpha team members and the Tae bak army, and the all characters in the fictional peace-seeking country of Urk, Wednesdays will never be the same again.     

Image courtesy of blogspot
Here are the few of the best lines and quotes I love most:

"Let him live. You do your job as a doctor. If we have to kill someone. I will do my job." -- Yoo Si-Jin 

"I cannot change the world, but as long as I can change one person's life it would mean the world to that person." -- Kang Mo-Yeon

"Love compels us to do something other can do by themselves." -- Yoo Si-Jin 

"I believe that life is sanctified, and there is no value or ideology is above it." -- Kang Mo-Yeon

"I do not have the skills to explain the things of the heart." -- Seo Dae Yong

"My principle is that children, beautiful women and the elderly need to be protected." -- Yoo Si-Jin 

"I fight for life. But your fight... is to protect others through death." -- Kang Mo-Yeon

"You can't be happy if you have regrets." -- Seo Dae Yong

"Take ownership of your actions." -- Yoon Myeong Joo

"Don't give up just because you don't know what to do." -- Kang Mo-Yeon

"Do not get hurt. This is an order. Keep that order with your life." -- Yoon Myeong Joo

"Your doctor is not a TV channel. You cannot switch it whenever you want." -- Doc Song Sang Hyun

"Today, every call my superior office made was right, justify and honourable." -- Seo Dae Yong

“Soldiers always live with a shroud on. When they die in a nameless land for the sake of their country, the place of their death become their grave and their uniform become their shroud. This should be every soldiers’ mindset everytime they put down their uniform. Therefore, be honorable at every moment – there’s no reason to fall short” -- Yoo Si-Jin

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

CCF: Hang On, Pain Ends (HOPE)

Image courtesy of Google
By Pastor Caloy Pena

Regardless of the what this year will bring us, one of the things that believers of Christ should exhibit in life is JOY. As we face 2017 there are three terrible illnesses in this world that we must effectively cure — Living in the past, complaining about the present and worrying about the future.  

And while it’s possible for a man to live up to 70 days without food, 10 days without water, 6 minutes without air, there is one thing that man is not possible to live without, that is HOPE. Hope is indeed a powerful force, without it you are a powerless person.

“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tunic so powerful as expectations of something better tomorrow.” — GK Chesterton

Hope mentioned in the Bible is not wishful thinking. Biblical hope is expecting a guaranteed fulfilment. When God gives a promise and hope to His people, there is something about the future that is certain to happen. One example of hope chronicled in the the Old Testament is the hope of the coming of a Messiah and He did came through Jesus Christ. New Testament offers Christians today same hope that the Messiah will return. This kind of hope is beyond positive thinking. Hope that produces joy in the midst of trial, endurance in the midst of delay and the Godly character in spite of despair. Therefore followers of Christ as we are waiting, can be confident in the future and rejoice in hope.

As we rejoice in hope, it is critical to know the object of our hope. What is it that we are looking to in the future? There are three hope setters that we can learn from the Bible. 

I. Rejoice in hope of the resurrection from dead
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” — Acts 2:32

In Acts 2:25-32, Peter convinced the crowd that Jesus was the Messiah by comparing the death of David and Jesus. When David died, his tomb and remains was with them but when Jesus died his tomb was empty. Another evidence are the prophecies, David predicted it and Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the hope of the resurrection for all the followers of Jesus is guaranteed.

II. Rejoice in hope of the glory of God
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” — Romans 5:1-2

In this passage Paul delineates what are the benefits of being justified by faith. First we have peace with God because we have been forgiven. Secondly, we have a process of grace, God initiates the grace and therefore we live by grace and not by performance. Finally we have a purpose of glory.

What is the difference of holiness and glory of God? Holiness is to be in a class by Himself in His perfection, greatness and worth. While the glory of God is the manifest beauty of His holiness, the going public of His holiness, to put His holiness on display for people to apprehend it.

III. Rejoice in hope of the body of Christ
“But we brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while — in person, not in spirit — were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. For we wanted to come to you — I Paul, more than once — and yet Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20  

Paul reveals his heart in these passages. Paul exhibits longing for a reunion with his brothers in Christ. He takes pride in how the body of Christ(church) have grown and matured serving the Lord. Therefore we too are to demonstrate love to our brethren today, be transformed and disciple believers.

This new year, what are you looking forward to? When you look forward to something ultimate, it must transform who you are today. A gentle reminder, beware lest you become so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good!

Life is more pleasant when you have something to look forward to.


Transcribed by:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

High na High sa Tagaytay

This year our family is blessed to spend holidays and celebrate new year countdown in the highlands located south of Manila - Tagaytay. The city welcome us with a cold weather 20 degree Celcius mostly cloudy and little showers.

Arriving past noon in day one, we got ourselves a late lunch in Gerry's Grill and indulge ourselves with Filipino food in a breezy climate with the panoramic view of Taal volcano. That night we anxiously waited for the new year countdown to watch fireworks and feast in our media noche. In spite of the foggy and drizzling new year we are hopeful that the Mighty Sun will surface from the sky the next morning.

Long table at Gerry's Grill
Chilling(literally) with coffee with these lovely ladies
Can't wait for Media noche anymore. Haha attack! 
With the whole gang 😍 
Cheers to 2017!
Praise God for tomorrow is a brighter day, we were able to go as per our itinerary and visit Sky Ranch the next day. Our AirBnB accommodation(Winds Residences) is strategically located 500 meters away from Sky Ranch  which made it accessible for us to take cab or walk all the way.

Sky Ranch here we come!
Conquering our fear of heights in Sky Eye!
Giving them outlet to release their energy. They love the obstacles 😜
Happy feet together.
These two are the apple of my eye in Sky Eye!
























During free time, the kids (my nephews and niece) were busy dipping the pool not minding the cold weather.


Before we left Tagaytay, we had our annual family photo shoot, because pictures are worth a thousand memories. Let's go Green Team, let's bolt in!

Mangalo, Castro and Munar kids
Jumping in style! Oh yeah!
Looove everyone in this pic for sure!
Me, Glaiza, Ramia, Raizelle, Tatay and Nanay (we miss you Gem!)
Mangalo Family
Castro Family

With the whole gang - Mangalo and Castro family!
On our way back to Manila trying to beat boredom in the road, we decided to have a sharing. Each one will share what is the best thing that happen to you in 2016, what is the worst thing and what did you learned from it. While everyone has story to tell, what strike me the most is how the kids remembered and sum up the year. My youngest nephew Ramiah, 8 years old shared that the greatest thing for him was everyone was there and that we were together. My oldest nephew, Godwin expressed that the best thing for him this 2016 is that I was able to go home, spend time with them and that he was able to talk to his father(my older brother). Their sweet stories melt my heart.

With their genuine and gentle heart they thought us(adult) what is true valuable in life, that more than anything in this world it is the time spent and your relationship with the ones dear to you matters the most.

Thank you 2016 for all the blessings and the gift of family! Welcoming 2017 with a grateful and expectant heart.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2016: 50 Reasons To Be Thankful!

Image courtesy of lovethispic.com
"It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy."

While most of us pursue happiness in life, we forgot that one secret to it is being grateful in everything that you have even in the most trivial matters which others see nothing.

As a yearly regimen of exercising my gratefulness here are top 50 things that I am most thankful for the past 2016. Let me know what is yours.

1. US visa approval - multiple entry weee!
2. New Visa sponsored activity - bo-bo-bo-bowling!
3. Vietnam trip with the most beautiful sister I have :D (kasi dalawa lang nman kami hehe)
4. Being able to spend time with my Kuya Gary in Dubai
5. Short stint in UAE and being able to visit 2 of its emirates - Dubai and Abu Dhabi
6. New friends I met during the Holy Land Tour
7. Weekends!
8. Finished reading the Bible by God's grace
9. Efficient airport of Singapore - Changi!
10. CCF live stream every Sunday
11. Free badminton games via Visa Badminton Club
12. Healthy 2016, no sickness, medical cert or hospitalization.
13. Ticking scuba diving from my bucket list :)
14. Being able to see pyramids in person. Egypt!
15. Walking in the paths of Jerusalem where Jesus walked 2000 years ago.
16. Boating in the Sea of Galilee where Jesus calmed the storm.
17. Safe travels this year
18. Hiking Mount Sinai where God gave the ten commandments to Moses.
19. Finished studying the book of Matthew with our group
20. All the good night sleep :)
21. New friends, colleagues I met this year esp. those who serves as encouragement and inspiration.
22. Financial provision and freedom
23. More water, less soda kinda year for me
24. The joy of blogging and all the blog entries I wrote this year
25. Experiencing holy land tour - Egypt, Israel, Jordan with my dgroup sisters
26. Utilizing my Frisbee more this year
27. Good health for my family especially my dear parents. This is gold!
28. Morning commutes! Clears my mind and give me moment to think.
29. First time in Bali, Indonesia. Unli-massage!
30. Being able to join my first #GlobalHackathon experience in Visa
31. Badminton and Bodysteps weekends
32. Musicals I got to watch this year - Les Mis and Wicked
33. Birthday with Kat who travelled all the way from Manila \o/
34. Running my first full marathon #SCMS2016. Oh yeah!
35. Birthday cakes, surprises from OFFICEmates :D
36. Visa running club who's BIG encouragement during my training.
37. Strength both physical and mental to kick off marathon from my bucket list
38. Comfy bed and new pillows zzzzzzZZZZZ
39. Hitting my blog goals this 2016. Thoughts Brewing were able to published 50++ posts. Yey!
40. Passing Certified Tester Advanced Level (CTAL) exam wooot!
41. Moisturizer, hand creams and lotions!
42. Zero injury, no Medical Certificate(MC) and fast recovery after running marathon
43. CHRISTmas, year-end parties I get to attend this year
44. Presenting "Megumi" my first and new MacBook Pro I got via Visa's Employee Purchase Discount perks. More blogging and writing in 2017.
45. New sports, activities I got to try this year - Scuba diving, surfing, wall climbing, 4x4 drive in sand dunes
46. Volunteer activities and opportunities to give back - CCF Kids Church, writing ministry
47. All the pictures taken this year that captures a thousand worth of memories
48. #invest-in-experiences-not-things adventures this year
49. Water bottles, keeps me hydrated in the office
50. #DBS online banking and remittance services! Makes our OFW lives so much easier.