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)

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Throwing Off What Hinders (Giving Up TV)

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I am currently doing a year-long fast on TV series and movies.

It took a long time for me to acknowledge that I’m addicted. I need to take back control.

I actually do not watch TV at all. But sometimes, if I find a series that I really like, I get hooked. I would watch a whole season in one seating. I would do this until I finish all other seasons. After finishing the series, I would return to my normal life. Be responsible again, be faithful in my quiet time, and be a “good Christian.” Some time would pass before another good series will come out so I did not think much of it early on.

Eventually, God showed me the cycle. I identified that at the beginning of every period of discouragement or time of coldness towards God was a movie marathon. Watching TV series was Satan’s “beachhead” in my life. On one hand I thank God that it was something “small” like entertainment, yet this seemingly subtle form kept me from calling it sin.

“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.” (Susanna Wesley)

I knew it was harming my relationship with the Lord. That was clear enough. I also felt that God wanted me to give it up. But I could not imagine doing that. I felt that it was too extreme. To do so is to stop being a normal person. Maybe I did not want to seem “too radical.”

Maybe I just need to limit my media exposure, I thought. So I limit myself to 1 movie per week. It worked for a while. However, as I have discovered, it is not a good idea to expose a recovering addict to the things they’re addicted to. I had the right intention, but my partial obedience did not help me.

God used a recent event to tell me loud and clear that if I do not shape up, I risk missing out on His plans for me. My “God’s best”- the life God wants for each of His children. When I finally surrendered my “favorite sin,” I felt His presence more, heard His voice clearer. I had not realized that I had been grieving the Holy Spirit that whole time.

Today is the 20th day since I made my commitment. It already feels like it’s the best decision I have made. Haha! It does not even feel like I gave up anything. I have become more productive and I perform better at work. I have time to help my cousin with his school work. Most of all, I know I am at the triangle of God’s blessing. I know I am obeying Him.

Come to think of it, TV shows, movies (& other forms of entertainment) are made to distract. And they are a welcome distraction from the stress of work or the boredom of life.

However, if I know my purpose, if I’m in a crucial mission (for which I’ll be greatly rewarded), and if I know Him who asked me to do it, DO I REALLY WANT TO BE DISTRACTED?

 

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” -2 Timothy 2:4

Thanks Ann San Pedro for sharing this story. A struggle that most of us are also going through. Such an encouragement!