Pizza & Passion

I’m currently reading one of John Maxwell’s books entitled, “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow” (thanks to a good friend for giving this book).  Past days, I was reading the chapter about the importance of Passion. Maxwell shared the story of how Papa John’s Pizza started and grew.  Maxwell describes the owner as, “John Schnatter not only eats Papa John’s Pizza; he breathes, sleeps and lives it.” The success of Papa John’s Pizza is because of passion.

As I continued to read, it made me ask myself what is the one thing that I am really passionate about? What is the one thing that I am willing to spend hours and hours to do it? What is it that I specifically accomplish that gives me a sense of fulfillment? Sounds cliche, right? But it’s a question that most of us are really finding it hard to answer.

As I thought about it, I realized there is one consistent thing that I always enjoy doing and is always present in all phases of my life – teaching/coaching/mentoring.

I remember when I was in grade school, I would play pretend as a teacher of an imaginary class. When I was in high school, I remember I did tutorials to some of my classmates. When I was in college, I volunteered teaching kids on a Saturday as well as did tutorials for Korean students. I also tutored my younger brother on his Math. When I started working and grew in my career, I learned and enjoyed coaching/mentoring people in my team. Currently, I volunteer on some Sundays to teach kids during Sunday school. As part of my ministry, I’ve been doing discipleship with group of single women that allows me to encourage and mentor them as we all grow together in our walk with God.

I believe God has cultivated in my life to have a heart for people’s growth. If there’s one thing I can see myself really being patient – it is on people who are willing to learn and grow.  However, this so-called passion that I think I have is something I still haven’t really thought about deeply. I just know that I enjoyed coaching people at work or teaching kids but the pattern since I was young never occurred to me until recently.

This is something I really have to think through in the coming days, weeks, months. I must stop ignoring and really start not just thinking but also praying and seeking wisdom on how I can pursue it with an end goal in mind.

As Schnatter’s philosophy goes, “Concentrate on what you do well and do it better than anybody else.”

Also, just like Jesus when He was here on earth. He is the perfect example of what it means to pursue your passion. He never got off tracked of what He needed to do. He did the one thing that was expected of Him. And because of that, His passion (suffering) and resurrection made way for us to have the hope of a new life and be reconciled with God.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

How about you? What are you willing to suffer and spend long hours at night? What is the one thing that excites you and you will never get tired of doing?

A conceptual image representing a focus on passion

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Behind the Scene

One of the blessings I will forever be grateful to God is to have the gift of administration (1 Corinthians 12:28).  Having this gift has allowed me to take responsibilities that I didn’t know I am capable of doing, not just for the church but even at my work place or in my own personal day to day life. The credit all goes to God for entrusting me to do all types of work that He has been preparing me to do.

And do you know what’s great about this gift? It allows you to see what’s happening behind the scene. You get the privilege to see how God works and makes things happen.

Last weekend (June 9-11), our church (CCF Vancouver) went for our first ever church retreat focused on intentional discipleship. Our church leaders asked me to help in organizing the retreat, and as always, it is a privilege for me. No better way to use my time than doing things for the Lord.

When you plan for an event, your enemy is perfection. Of course, you want everything to go as you expect it to be, that includes the things that you can’t even control like weather. But just like any event I have helped organized, not everything we planned went smoothly. That’s why it is very important for me to always let the Holy Spirit lead me. It is not easy when you want to be in control of the flow. But God was not just at work for the event, He was also at work with my heart.

By God’s grace, I learned to submit and recognize the authority of the leaders of the church. As we did planning, there were disagreements but I always reminded myself that God gives wisdom to our leaders to make the right decisions as the Spirit led them. So, if I have to adjust schedules of the event, I must submit. I tell you, it’s never easy.

By God’s grace, I learned to say no to activities that will take my time to focus on planning. Weeks before the camp, I had to free up my weekdays after work so that I can work on preparations for the camp. I had to turn down invitations. It was not easy but I am no superwoman. I can only do much for a day.

By God’s grace, I learned to be more patient. During the last days before the camp, there were so many last minute changes and concerns which some required coordination back and forth. These things were inevitable. And all I can do was to ask God to just sustain me and give me the right heart. It wasn’t easy.

God showed to me that despite my lack of and my weaknesses, He can accomplish great things because it is His work. All His doing.

When the sunny forecast months before turned to a heavy rain forecast weeks before the event, we kept praying. God heard our prayer! We never experienced rain all throughout the weekend. Even if the forecast for the day showed potential rain, rain did not come. We were able to enjoy our outdoor activities, our baptism  and our camp fire fellowship. Only God can do that.

Weeks before the camp, as I was finalizing room assignments, I had some challenges. All I did was really pray that everyone will find their accommodation comfortable. Then, last minute changes happened which surprisingly helped resolve the challenges I had. A family has to cancel because of a sad news that they had to leave the country on the day of the retreat. God reminded me that indeed He is the one who could only appoint people to be in a certain place, event and time.  With that incident, God showed me how He can use something unfortunate into something good for His work. He cares about the details.

God also provided us a beautiful venue for the retreat – Camp Charis.  It’s not just the place but also the people who worked at Camp Charis. They were very accommodating with our last minute requests. I saw God working through them. Everything we needed, they were able to provide. Only God can do that. Indeed, no one can hamper His plans.

When we had our second round of baptism, we thought we will not be able to use the pool when we changed our time. Nothing can stop the work of God. The group who reserved to use the pool decided not to use it as they had to leave immediately at that time. Just amazing! To add, there were 7 people who planned to be baptized but it turned into 17 people including our NxtGen Kids! Amazing!

One of my favorite to witness behind the scene was the work of the volunteers. On the day of the event, all I did was coordination. The volunteers were the ones who were doing things in action. They used their gifts, talents and skills for God’s work.  There is no big or small gift, talent or skill.  All are needed to do the work of God. And it’s just amazing to see and discover potentials of people.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another… Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

I can not put into this blog everything I experienced with God behind the scene. In every little detail, He was there.  It was a Spirit-filled retreat. And my prayer, that retreat would leave marks in the lives of all who were there to cause them to act to the purpose of why they were in that retreat in the first place. And that is to pursue INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP. Same prayer goes to myself.

To God be the glory!!!

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 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

For the love of Fatburger…

I just have to write about this before I sleep tonight or else this will just be another item in my blog list.

It’s been a while since I had the biggest laugh in my life. The kind of laugh that gives you stomachache and headache after. If you know what I mean. 🙂

This was a non-typical night for our discipleship group. We usually do our fellowship at Marj’s place in Surrey. However, there was a reason for a “burger” celebration that we had a long week of discussion of where to eat burger. Options were: Fatburger Lougheed, Fatburger Whiterock, Fatburger Langley. Yes, anywhere as long as it’s Fatburger. 😀

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Tonight was more of an accountability night, just sharing and listening to each other’s life stories. No filter, raw and honest. It’s such a blessing that some of us singles get to learn from the married women in the group.

The most important thing I have learned tonight is about being “intentional”. For all of us to meet and really commit to go to Fatburger no matter where that is, that is being intentional. It’s never about the burger. 🙂 It’s being intentional in our relationships – to our families, to our friends, to our church, to our small group. If we want our relationships to improve, we need to make an effort for it. We have to be intentional if we expect change and results.I know this is not something new, however, it’s just good to be reminded about it. And humbling. 

Tonight, I thank God for these amazing women whom I get to share stories, eat burger and laugh out loud (literally) with.

And thank you to Fatburger Lougheed for being so nice of not kicking us out even if we stayed a little bit past their closing time (we didn’t know, sorry…)

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Accountability over Fatburger

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Past, Present, Future

I just finished cooking one of my favorite dishes, “escabeche” that my mom is really good in making and I can’t really nail the taste I was looking for. It’s not like this was my first time making it. So, I’m just hoping there will be a miracle when I eat it for lunch tomorrow that the taste would turn out the way it should be. Lol.

Just trying to write something (while FRIENDS playing in the background)  for my first blog entry for 2016. I haven’t really done a lot of writing last year and I’m hoping I can do more this year. My 2015 really passed by so fast (yeah, cliche) and all I can think every time I look back is work was just crazy busy. Well, it was good crazy busy. I’ve learned so much at work and there were a lot of character-molding that happened. It was good. 🙂 (Now, I remember I need to do my self-performance assessment! Later on that…)

Anyway, so how was your 2015? I hope it was awesome for you too. I remembered I also did some hiking during summer. I believe that was one of the highlights of my 2015. I was able to push myself for more physical activities, the most memorable one was the 20km (up&down) hike to Garibaldi Lake. It was so tiring but the view on the top was just so worth it! It was breathtaking! But it might take awhile for me to go back. Going down just killed our knees! I can’t wait for our hiking adventures this year! My church friends and I have been starting to plan for it already.

Speaking of church, it’s been an amazing journey as well for the church planting movement of CCF Vancouver that I am so privileged to be a part of. A lot of relationship building, ministries slowly growing and the most exciting is we are moving finally to a new venue!!! Just thinking about how this started last 2014 and now things are slowly happening, it’s such a privilege to see how God is just working. Indeed, God wants a partnership with us, the followers of Jesus to do this amazing work of transforming lives.

Life is great, right?! It’s never a smooth one. But we still choose to continue living and hoping that it will get better each day. Not sure if you can speak the same, but for me, as long as I have Jesus in my life, no matter how big or small the giants I am facing, I just know that He will carry me through. And He always does. Because that’s who Jesus is. He keeps His promises. He never fails.

I have so many things that I look forward to this 2016. But I don’t know if those things will happen this year. I’m just letting God work it out for me if He allows it. If not, then, I’ll just have to trust that He has better plans than mine. After all, God sees the future. I don’t. So, He knows best.

How about you? What are you looking forward this 2016? I hope that you will also be able to entrust God of whatever plans you have for this year. We can only do much by our own strength, but God can make the impossible things for us if He wants to. I have big plans this year and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to sustain it. But, I’m taking a leap of faith that if God allows this, He will be there every step of the way. I hope you will also be able to take a leap of faith when God asks you to and obey when God doesn’t want you to. After all, as I say, He knows best.

I hope you will have a life changing 2016!! And, I hope that you will make God not just be part of it, but the Author of your 2016.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God bless friends! God loves you!

With love ❤ ❤ ❤ ,

Princess Pepay

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A PORTION of my 2015

Don’t trust what you see. Behind those nice, happy memories are also the painful, sad ones that we just don’t share through photos. 🙂

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Growing Together

I’m so blessed to be a part of other people’s lives by seeing them grow in their walk with God. As we say we are Christian, we must then believe that we are also commanded to make disciples just like what Jesus did with the chosen twelve. And to be a disciple and to make disciple is a privilege in our Christian walk. It must not be a burden for us but a joy as we experience God’s transforming power in our lives.

And being part of a discipleship group is never boring. It’s a great time of knowing the Lord deeper, knowing one another deeper, encouraging and praying for each other. It’s a venue where you can be yourself without fear of being judged. You get to travel together, do fun things together. And the other best part – there is always food! Haha!

I’m glad to be a part of a discipleship group. If you are not part of any, I hope you would start stepping out of your comfort zone and start reaching out. As our senior pastor said, (reason for not joining a discipleship group) if you think you don’t need help, then, be the one to give help. And I totally agree! Today, someone might need your encouragement, your blessing, your prayer. Don’t miss out on such a privilege!

FOCUS on 2015

Before 2014 ended, God impressed in my heart what should my focus be for 2015. And it’s really amazing how He confirmed it during the prayer and fasting week of CCF at the start of this year. It really assured me that it’s what God wants me to press on more this year.

What am I talking about? If I tell you, you might say that as believers we should be doing that all the time. It’s not just something you focus on for a specific year but on your day to day. And I would totally agree with you. It’s just that for the past years, I haven’t really been consistently preparing and even very intentional about it. And that’s why I believe God put it in my heart for me to really work on it as He enables me.

So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about “Evangelism”. As I’ve been reading the book of Bill Hybels entitled, “Just Walk Across the Room”, I realized I haven’t really been doing my part in the aspect of evangelism. I always pray to God to give me opportunities to share the gospel to people who haven’t heard about Him but I haven’t really been intentional in preparing for that opportunity. Even more, I don’t even depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

My biggest question to God was HOW? How do I share His Word in a country that has so much freedom and respect for each other’s belief? A country that values diversity of religion, culture and standards. HOW?

As I was going through the different stories in the Bible of how God used the apostles to share the gospel, I was reminded that the HOW should not be my concern. God will make it happen just like when God brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch for him to share the gospel (Acts 8:26-40). The only thing that God would require is “Obedience”. How far will I go? How willing will I obey? How immediate will I respond?

And to be honest, it’s easier said than done. With a lot of things going on, I can so easily be distracted that my focus on what God wants me to do will become blur until it will become a least priority. And that’s why my very reminder for this year are these verses in Colossians 3:1-2, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

There is a lot of harvest in this country that would really need the body of Christ to be very intentional not just in sharing the Word of God but importantly in living out His teachings. Evangelism will never be effective if even your own life was never changed by the power of the gospel.

Pray with me that we will never lose sight of the thing that really matters to the very heart of God. May we have the boldness to make Jesus known, that people may experience Jesus to the fullest, so that when our Heavenly Father looks unto us He will say, “Kamukha niya ang ANAK ko (Christ-likeness).”

What is God telling you to focus this year?

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The Great Unknown –  My “Awesome” 2014

Who would have thought that I will be part of a church-planting movement in Vancouver?

Who would have thought that I will start a discipleship group in this side of the world?

Who would have thought that I will work for a big retail company this year?

Who would have thought that I will meet more people from different countries and make new friends?

Who would have thought that I will be sitting here in my room, watching snow falling from my window as I look back about my 2014?

God knew. Even before all these things happened, God knew already. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.

Those are only few of the tangible things that I never thought would be part of my 2014.

As I wrote in my journal  at the start of 2014, I was totally clueless of how things will be.

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God made me leave my job but He did not open any new doors for me right after, as I thought He would.

You know, that confidence that you feel like everything will fall into place just as you expect them to be?

I thought that I will work full time in a ministry in 2014. But, God had a different plan.  Much bigger plan.

You might not know, but I really wept when God shut all doors for my ministry application. I could not understand why when my desire was to serve Him full time.

And that question still remains half-unanswered until now. Half- answered was because He wanted me to move here.

Still, I believe that’s not just it. It’s something I look forward to be answered in the coming years.

Anyway, so 2014 turned out to be a big surprise for me. That’s what God is so good about – making us in awe of Him.

For the first 5 months, I had no job. Then, God made me move to another country after 5 months of no job. Thus, no sufficient funds for it.

But God said so, so I just had to obey. Those 5 months were life changing.  It was a very special walk with God. I had nothing but only Him.

Most difficult part was when you feel you can do something but God just keeps telling you, “Sit down, stay put, be still.”

God really did a perfect job of sustaining me. Apart from Him, I would have gone a different way.

The second part of my 2014 was the overflow. See, God had to prepare me first before He blessed me.

It wasn’t an easy journey at the beginning. Again, I wept in desperation as I was looking for a job.

As I didn’t have enough funds, I was praying so hard that I can find a job after a month since I arrived here.

Slowly, I saw how God had been preparing things for me here. Right time, right place.

What’s also amazing was that when I learned my visa got approved, my home church also announced that a church will be planted in Vancouver.

I got really excited! Right time, right place.

I may not have worked full time but God opened doors for me to be able to serve Him in this side of the world.

I can never take credit for all the things that had happened to me last year.

God’s faithfulness in my life overflows not just in me but also through me that I can share the blessings to others. Such a privilege!

If I summarize my 2014, I can do it in 2 parts – preparation and overflow. God had to mold my character first, before He reveals His great plan.

God is sovereign. He was in control. He is truly amazing!

My 2014 theme verse truly spoke how my year turned out. A time of surrender and loss for the sake of knowing, obeying and following Christ.

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TO GOD be all the GLORY for my awesome 2014!!!! Thank You Lord!

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