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Showing posts from 2015

Grit

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In his “The Intangibles of Leadership” talk at The Global Leadership Summit 2015, Bill Hybels (the founder and senior pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church) retold with passion the story about the “The Little Engine That Could.” It’s from a 1930 children’s book named by the National Education Association, based on “an online survey in 2007,” as one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.” [1] One version of the story goes like this: One morning [the little train] was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill. “I can’t; that is too much a pull for me,” said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. … “I think I can,” puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. … As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it stil…

Know Scripture. Know Salvation.

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Less than two years before its 500th anniversary, we remember the nailing of Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses (actually titled “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”)[1] on the door of Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31, 1517. 
It was a protest against the selling of the papal indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Leo X authorized the selling of the indulgences to raise funds for the Basilica. Luther objected to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church was offering to sell certificates of forgiveness, and that by doing so it was substituting a false hope (that forgiveness can be earned or purchased) for the true hope of the gospel (that we receive forgiveness solely via the riches of God’s grace). The Roman Catholic Church claimed it had been placed in charge of a “treasury of merits” of all of the good deeds that saints had done (not to mention the deeds of Christ, who made the treasury infinitely deep). For those trapped by their own sinf…

Affirm the Truth

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There are those who claim, “All we have to do is to love and worship God! You don’t need doctrine to do just that!” They think that doctrine (or right teaching) is not needed for faith. But they are mistaken. (What is doctrine? It “is an organized summary of what the Bible teaches about the most important issues of life.”) [1]
The prophet Moses declared, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) [2]Note that doctrine (“The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”) comes first before devotion (“You shall love the Lord your God”). The more we know about God, the more we ought to love Him. How can we really love God when we don’t even know who He truly is?

When the Samaritan woman asked our Lord Jesus where we should worship, He answered,  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seekin…

Did Jesus Exist? (The PATAS radio talk show)

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God gave me the privilege to discuss the historicity of our Lord Jesus Christ in the online radio talk show of PATAS (Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society) yesterday evening, October 18, 2015. It was a respectful interview. You may listen to the audio recording below. 

NOTE: Due to the typhoon Lando (international name Koppu), the Internet signal was not that strong. Hence, the audio quality may not be that good.






I pray that God would open more opportunities for us "to give an answer to everyone who asks [us] to give the reason for the hope that [we] have." (1 Peter 3:15b, NIV)

Live to Die

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The 26-year-old gunman, Chris Harper-Mercer, barged into a classroom at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon with guns blazing. He shot the professor point blank. Everyone in the classroom dropped to the floor. 
The gunman, while reloading his handgun, ordered the students to stand up if they were Christians… And they would stand up and he said, “Good, because you’re a Christian, you're going to see God in just about one second” …And then he shot and killed them. [1]He shot in the head those who stood up. He shot in the legs those who said no or did not speak up. As of last count, 10 people were killed. Seven others were injured. The police killed the shooter, who “had body armor with him and was heavily armed, with a large amount of ammunition—enough for a prolonged gunfight.” [2]

Though authorities are still establishing why the gunman apparently targeted Christians, “Gunman Chris Harper-Mercer’s disdain for religion was evident in online profile, as the madman became a me…

L.O.V.E. the LGBT

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“No one cares what you know until they know that you care,” Howard Hendricks wrote in Teaching to Change Lives. [1] I believe it’s clear what the Bible says about homosexual lifestyle (Read Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11). Evangelical philosopher William Lane Craig put the biblical stance this way: Does the Bible in fact forbid homosexual behavior? Now notice how I put that question. I did not ask, does the Bible forbid homosexuality, but rather does the Bible forbid homosexual behavior? This is an important distinction. Being homosexual is a state or an orientation; a person who has a homosexual orientation might not ever express that orientation in actions. By contrast, a person could engage in homosexual acts even if he has a heterosexual orientation. Now what the Bible condemns is homosexual actions or behavior, not having a homosexual orientation. The idea of a person’s being a homosexual by orientation is a feature of modern psychology and…

5-4

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Five liberal justices ruled in favor, four conservative justices dissented. “In a landmark opinion, a divided Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.” [1] (The labels “liberal” and “conservative” were not mine. It’s CNN’s, by the way.) Justice Anthony Kennedy penned the historic albeit controversial decision. (Read it here.) No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. … It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal d…

Oooops! Undo Send

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“Think before you click” is a great mantra.

Until, Gmail rolled out its new feature: The “undo send” button. Gmail, the world’s most popular email platform, now gives users the option to set time delay between 5 and 30 seconds before sending an email. You’ll have that much time to hit “undo send” and save yourself heartache. [1]To enable, click on the gear wheel icon at the top right of your Gmail interface. Choose “Settings.”

Click the box that says “Undo Send.” You can also set the “Send cancellation period” from 5 seconds to 30 seconds.

So, let’s say you accidentally clicked the “Send” button while composing your email OR you wrote a scathing reply to a memo from your boss then, after clicking “Send” you realize you should’ve sent it, just click the “Undo” message and it’s undone. Your back to the “Compose” window. That’s all! It’s that easy!

How I only wish something like that could be invented for life’s mistakes!
Still, even if I love this new Gmail feature, I think it’s still better …

Speak the Truth in Love

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Though it’s far from trending, an intense debate raged regarding one of my posts on my Facebook timeline a few days ago. It’s about “Our sexuality is not a joke,” a Rappler article where the author, “a staunch gender rights advocate,” [1] appealed But let’s be clear here: when you treat our issues as jokes, you perpetuate the culture of hate and discrimination, the culture of patriarchy and sexism. And when you defend those who make a joke out of us, you give more power to those who constantly oppress and abuse us. [2]I commented, “That's why I tell my sons not to share gay jokes or make fun of them.” We Christians are often accused of discrimination. To my shame, to some degree it’s true. And it reinforces that image when we make fun of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Often it’s said that jokes are half-meant. And, at times, behind it is hate. Someone commented that the LGBTs are to be blamed for the way they dress or conduct themselves. That may be so bu…

The Challenge We Face Now

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,” so goes the opening line of Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Tale of Two Cities,” that was published in 1859. [1]
It appears Dickens’ words could have described the present. 
Our time.

One of the breakout sessions that our young people attended when they joined the just recent Ratio Christi Philippines 2015 was, “Homosexuality: A Response from the Bible and from Science.” When I asked why, they answered something like, “We want to know how to handle it.” As parents, we need to know how to handle it, too. Some joke about it. Others just dismiss it as a non-issue. Like the proverbial wet soap, we are not quite sure how to handle it.

Just more than a month ago, “actor, race-car enthusiast, and 1976 Montreal Summ…

Acceptance

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You may have seen those Christian bumper stickers  that say, “Christians are not perfect, just forgiven” or “Christians are not sinless. They just sin less.”
Though there are those who abuse those sayings by using it as a license to sin, the theology behind it is sound. Indeed, grace is God’s unmerited favor to us. We can’t deserve it. We don’t deserve it. Yet, still God gave it to us. He did not wait for us to be perfect to accept us. Grace is free but it is not cheap. It came with the costly price tag. By His atoning death on the cross, we receive forgiveness when we put our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. It’s free to us but costly to God.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
However, even if we enjoyed grace for our salvation, we tend to look for perfection and sinlessness in ourselves, in our loved ones and in our fellow believers. We al…